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Title: The Children of the Abbey: A Tale
Author: Roche, Regina Maria
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: "But, gracious Heavens! Who can describe the emotions of
her soul, when the original of the picture so fondly sketched, so
hastily obliterated, met her eye."
                                      Page 532.]



THE

CHILDREN OF THE ABBEY.

A TALE.

BY

REGINA MARIA ROCHE.



                             A matchless pair;
   With equal virtue formed, and equal grace,
   The same, distinguished by their sex alone:
   Hers the mild lustre of the blooming morn,
   And his the radiance of the risen day.--THOMSON.



  NEW YORK:
  ALBERT COGSWELL, PUBLISHER,
  NO. 24 BOND STREET.
  1880



THE

CHILDREN OF THE ABBEY.



CHAPTER I.

  "Yellow sheafs from rich Ceres the cottage had crowned,
     Green rustles were strewed on the floor;
   The casements sweet woodbine crept wantonly round,
     And decked the sod seats at the door."--CUNNINGHAM.


Hail, sweet asylum of my infancy! Content and innocence reside beneath
your humble roof, and charity unboastful of the good it renders. Hail,
ye venerable trees! my happiest hours of childish gayety were passed
beneath your shelter--then, careless as the birds that sung upon your
boughs, I laughed the hours away, nor knew of evil.

Here surely I shall be guarded from duplicity; and if not happy, at
least in some degree tranquil. Here unmolested may I wait, till the rude
storm of sorrow is overblown, and my father's arms are again expanded to
receive me.

Such were the words of Amanda, as the chaise (which she had hired at a
neighboring village on quitting the mail) turned down a little verdant
lane, almost darkened by old trees, whose interwoven branches allowed
her scarcely a glimpse of her nurse's cottage, till she had reached the
door.

A number of tender recollections rushing upon her mind, rendered her
almost unable to alight; but the nurse and her husband, who had been
impatiently watching for the arrival of their fondling, assisted her,
and the former, obeying the dictates of nature and affection, half
stifled her with caresses; the latter respectfully kissed her hand, and
dropped a tear of unutterable joy upon it. Lort, he said, he was
surprised, to be sure, at the alteration a few years had made in her
person--why, it seemed to him as if it was only the other day since he
had carried her about in his arms, quite a little fairy. Then he begged
to know how his tear old captain was, and Mr. Oscar--and whether the
latter was not grown a very fine youth. Amanda, smiling through her
tears, endeavored to answer his inquiries; but she was so much affected
by her feelings, as to be scarcely able to speak; and when, by her
desire, he went out to discharge the chaise, and assist the young man
(who had travelled with her from London) to bring in her luggage, her
head sunk upon her nurse's bosom, whose arms encircled her waist. "My
dear faithful nurse," she sobbed, "your poor child is again returned to
seek an asylum from you." "And she is heartily welcome," replied the
good creature, crying herself, "and I have taken care to have everything
so nice, and so tidy, and so comfortable, that I warrant you the
greatest laty in the land need not disdain your apartments; and here are
two little girls, as well as myself, that will always be ready to
attend, serve and obey you. This is Ellen, your own foster-sister; and
this is Betsey, the little thing I had in the cradle when you went
away--and I have besides, though I say it myself that should not say it,
two as fine lads as you could wish to see; they are now at work at a
farmer's hard by; but they will be here presently. Thank Cot, we are all
happy, though obliged to earn our own bread; but 'tis sweeter for that
reason, since labor gives us health to enjoy it, and contentment blesses
us all." Amanda affectionately embraced the two girls, who were the
pictures of health and cheerfulness, and was then conducted into a
little parlor, which, with a small bedchamber adjoining it, was
appropriated to her use. The neatness of the room was truly pleasing;
the floor was nicely sanded; the hearth was dressed with "flowers and
fennel gay;" and the chimney-piece adorned with a range of broken
teacups, "wisely kept for show;" a clock ticked behind the door; and an
ebony cupboard displayed a profusion of the showiest ware the country
could produce. And now the nurse, on "hospitable thought intent,"
hurried from Amanda to prepare her dinner. The chicken, as she said
herself, was ready to pop down in a minute; Ellen tied the asparagus;
and Betsey laid the cloth; Edwin drew his best cider, and, having
brought it in himself, retired to entertain his guest in the kitchen
(Amanda's travelling companion), before whom he had already set some of
his most substantial fare.

Dinner, in the opinion of Amanda, was served in a moment; but her heart
was too full to eat, though pressed to do so with the utmost
tenderness, a tenderness which, in truth, was the means of overcoming
her.

When insulted by malice, or oppressed by cruelty, the heart can assume a
stern fortitude foreign to its nature; but this seeming apathy vanishes
at the voice of kindness, as the rigid frost of winter melts before the
gentle influence of the sun, and tears, gushing tears of gratitude and
sensibility, express its yielding feelings. Sacred are such tears; they
flow from the sweet source of social affection: the good alone can shed
them.

Her nurse's sons soon returned from their labor; two fine nut-brown
youths. They had been the companions of her infant sports, and she spoke
to them with the most engaging affability.

Domestic bliss and rural felicity Amanda had always been accustomed to,
till within a short period; her attachment to them was still as strong
as ever, and had her father been with her, she would have been happy.

It was now about the middle of June, and the whole country was glowing
with luxuriant beauty. The cottage was in reality a comfortable,
commodious farm-house; it was situated in North Wales, and the romantic
scenery surrounding it was highly pleasing to a disposition like
Amanda's, which delighted equally in the sublime and beautiful. The
front of the cottage was almost covered with woodbine, intermingled with
vines; and the lane already mentioned formed a shady avenue up to the
very door; one side overlooked a deep valley, winding amongst hills clad
in the liveliest verdure; a clear stream running through it turned a
mill in its course, and afforded a salutary coolness to the herds which
ruminated on its banks; the other side commanded a view of rich
pastures, terminated by a thick grove, whose natural vistas gave a view
of cultivated farms, a small irregular village, the spire of its church,
and a fine old castle, whose stately turrets rose above the trees
surrounding them.

The farm-yard, at the back of the cottage, was stocked with poultry and
all the implements of rural industry; the garden was divided from it by
a rude paling, interwoven with honeysuckles and wild roses; the part
appropriated for vegetables divided from the part sacred to Flora by
rows of fruit-trees; a craggy precipice hung over it, covered with
purple and yellow flowers, thyme, and other odoriferous herbs, which
afforded browsage to three or four goats that skipped about in playful
gambols; a silver stream trickled down the precipice, and winding round
a plantation of shrubs, fell with a gentle murmur into the valley.
Beneath a projecting fragment of the rock a natural recess was formed,
thickly lined with moss, and planted round with a succession of
beautiful flowers.

  "Here, scattered wild, the lily of the vale
   Its balmy essence breathes; here cowslips hang
   The dewy head, and purple violets lurk--
   With all the lowly children of the shade."--THOMSON.

Of those scenes Amanda had but an imperfect recollection; such a faint
idea as we retain of a confused but agreeable dream, which, though we
cannot explain, leaves a pleasing impression behind.

Peculiar circumstances had driven her from the shelter of a parent's
arms, to seek security in retirement at this abode of simplicity and
peace. Here the perturbation of fear subsided; but the soft melancholy
of her soul at times was heightened, when she reflected, that in this
very place an unfortunate mother had expired almost at the moment of
giving her birth.

Amanda was now about nineteen; a description of her face and person
would not do her justice, as it never could convey a full idea of the
ineffable sweetness and sensibility of the former, or the striking
elegance and beautiful proportion of the latter.

Sorrow had faded her vivid bloom; for the distresses of her father
weighed heavy on her heart, and the blossom drooped with the tree which
supported it. Her agonized parent witnessing this sudden change, sent
her into Wales, as much for health as for security; she was ordered
goat's whey and gentle exercise; but she firmly believed that
consolation on her father's account could alone effect a cure.

Though the rose upon her cheek was pale, and the lustre of her eyes was
fled, she was from those circumstances (if less dazzling to the eye)
more affecting to the heart. Cold and unfeeling indeed must that one
have been, which could see her unmoved; for hers was that interesting
face and figure which had power to fix the wandering eye and change the
gaze of admiration into the throb of sensibility: nor was her mind
inferior to the form that enshrined it.

She now exerted her spirits in gratitude to her humble but benevolent
friends. Her arrival had occasioned a little festival at the cottage:
the tea things, which were kept more for show than use in the ebony
cupboard, were now taken out and carried by her desire to the recess in
the garden; whither Mrs. Edwin followed the family with a hot cake,
Amanda thought large enough to serve half the principality.

The scene was delightful, and well calculated to banish all sadness but
despair; Amanda was therefore cheered; for she was too much the child of
piety ever to have felt its baneful influence. In the midst of her
troubles she still looked up with confidence to that Power who has
promised never to forsake the righteous.

The harmless jest, the jocund laugh went round, and Amanda enjoyed the
innocent gayety; for a benevolent mind will ever derive pleasure from
the happiness of others. The declining sun now gave softer beauties to
the extensive scenery; the lowing of the cattle was faintly echoed by
the neighboring hills; the cheerful carol of the peasant floated on the
evening gale, that stole perfumes from the beds of flowers and wafted
them around; the busy bees had now completed the delicious labor of the
day, and with incessant hummings sought their various hives, while--

                       "Every copse
   Deep-tangled, tree irregular, and bush
   Were prodigal of harmony."--THOMSON.

To complete the concert, a blind harper, who supported himself by summer
rambles through the country, strolled into the garden; and after a
plentiful repast of bread and cheese, and nut-brown ale, began playing.

The venerable appearance of the musician, the simple melody of his harp,
recalled to Amanda's recollection the tales of other times, in which she
had so often delighted: it sent her soul back to the ages of old, to the
days of other years, when bards rehearsed the exploits of heroes, and
sung the praises of the dead. "While the ghosts of those they sung, came
in their rustling winds, and were seen to bend with joy towards the
sound of their praise." To proceed, in the beautiful language of Ossian,
"The sound was mournful and low, like the song of the tomb;" such as
Fingal heard, when the crowded sighs of his bosom rose; and, "some of my
heroes are low," said the gray-haired King of Morven: "I hear the sound
of death on the harp. Ossian, touch the trembling string. Bid the sorrow
rise, that their spirits may fly with joy to Morven's woody hills. He
touched the harp before the king: the sound was mournful and low. Bend
forwards from your clouds," he said, "ghosts of my fathers, bend. Lay by
the red terror of your course. Receive the falling chief; whether he
comes from a distant land, or rises from the rolling sea, let his robe
of mist be near; his spear, that is formed of a cloud; place an
half-extinguished meteor by his side, in the form of the hero's sword.
And, oh! let his countenance be lovely, that his friends may delight in
his presence. Bend from your clouds," he said, "ghosts of my fathers,
bend."

The sweet enthusiasm which arose in Amanda's mind, from her present
situation, her careful nurse soon put an end to, by reminding her of the
heavy dew then falling. Amanda could have stayed for hours in the
garden; but resigning her inclination to her nurse's, she immediately
accompanied her into the house. She soon felt inclined to retire to
rest; and, after a slight supper of strawberries and cream (which was
all they could prevail on her to touch), she withdrew to her chamber,
attended by the nurse and her two daughters, who all thought their
services requisite; and it was not without much difficulty Amanda
persuaded them to the contrary.

Left to solitude, a tender awe stole upon the mind of Amanda, when she
reflected that in this very room her mother had expired. The
recollection of her sufferings--the sorrows her father and self had
experienced since the period of her death--the distresses they still
felt and might yet go through--all raised a sudden agony in her soul,
and tears burst forth. She went to the bed, and knelt beside it; "Oh! my
mother," she cried, "if thy departed spirit be permitted to look down
upon this world, hear and regard the supplications of thy child, for thy
protection amidst the snares which may be spread for her. Yet,"
continued she, after a pause, "that Being, who has taken thee to
himself, will, if I continue innocent, extend his guardian care: to Him,
therefore, to Him be raised the fervent prayer for rendering abortive
every scheme of treachery."

She prayed with all the fervency of devotion; her wandering thoughts
were all restrained, and her passions gradually subsided into a calm.

Warmed by a pure and ardent piety, that sacred power which comes with
healing on its wings to the afflicted children of humanity, she felt a
placid hope spring in her heart, that whispered to it, all would yet be
well.

She arose tranquil and animated. The inhabitants of the cottage had
retired to repose; and she heard no sound save the ticking of the clock
from the outside room. She went to the window, and raising the white
calico curtain, looked down the valley; it was illumined by the beams of
the moon, which tipped the trees with a shadowy silver, and threw a line
of radiance on the clear rivulet. All was still, as if creation slept
upon the bosom of serenity. Here, while contemplating the scene, a
sudden flutter at the window startled her; and she saw in a moment after
a bird flit across, and perch upon a tree whose boughs shaded the
casement; a soft serenade was immediately begun by the sweet and
plaintive bird of night.

Amanda at length dropped the curtain, and sought repose; it soon blessed
her eyelids, and shed a sweet oblivion over all her cares.

              "Sleep on, sweet innocent!
   And when a soul is found sincerely so,
   A thousand liveried angels lacquey it,
   Driving far off all thought of harm or sin."--MILTON.



CHAPTER II.

  "Canst thou bear cold and hunger? Can these limbs,
   Framed for the tender offices of love,
   Endure the bitter gripes of smarting poverty?
   When in a bed of straw we shrink together,
   And the bleak winds shall whistle round our heads,
   Wilt thou talk to me thus,
   Thus hush my cares, and shelter me with love?"--OTWAY.


Fitzalan, the father of Amanda, was the descendant of an ancient Irish
family, which had, however, unfortunately attained the summit of its
prosperity long before his entrance into life; so that little more than
a name, once dignified by illustrious actions, was left to its
posterity. The parents of Fitzalan were supported by an employment under
government, which enabled them to save a small sum for their son and
only child, who at an early period became its sole master, by their
dying within a short period of each other. As soon as he had in some
degree recovered the shock of such calamities, he laid out his little
pittance in the purchase of a commission, as a profession best suiting
his inclinations and finances.

The war between America and France had then just commenced; and
Fitzalan's regiment was amongst the first forces sent to the aid of the
former. The scenes of war, though dreadfully affecting to a soul of
exquisite sensibility, such as he possessed, had not power to damp the
ardor of his spirit; for, with the name, he inherited the hardy
resolution of his progenitors.

He had once the good fortune to save the life of a British soldier; he
was one of a small party, who, by the treachery of their guides, were
suddenly surprised in a wood, through which they were obliged to pass
to join another detachment of the army. Their only way in this alarming
exigence was to retreat to the fort from whence they had but lately
issued: encompassed as they were by the enemy, this was not achieved
without the greatest difficulty. Just as they had reached it, Fitzalan
saw far behind them, a poor soldier, who had been wounded at the first
onset, just overtaken by two Indians. Yielding to the impulse of
compassion in which all idea of self was lost, Fitzalan hastily turned
to his assistance, and flinging himself between the pursued and the
pursuers, he kept them at bay till the poor creature had reached a place
of safety. This action, performed at the imminent hazard of his life,
secured him the lasting gratitude of the soldier, whose name was Edwin;
the same that now afforded an asylum to his daughter.

Edwin had committed some juvenile indiscretions, which highly incensed
his parents; in despair at incurring their resentment, he enlisted with
a recruiting party in their neighborhood: but, accustomed all his life
to peace and plenty, he did not by any means relish his new situation.
His gratitude to Fitzalan was unbounded; he considered him as the
preserver of his life; and, on the man's being dismissed, who had
hitherto attended him as a servant, entreated he might be taken in his
place. This entreaty Fitzalan complied with; he was pleased with Edwin's
manner; and, having heard the little history of his misfortunes,
promised, on their return to Europe, to intercede with his friends for
him.

During his stay abroad, Fitzalan was promoted to a captain-lieutenancy;
his pay was his only support, which, of necessity, checked the
benevolence of a spirit "open as day to melting charity."

On the regiment's return to Europe, he obtained Edwin's discharge, who
longed to re-enter upon his former mode of life. He accompanied the
penitent himself into Wales, where he was received with the truest
rapture.

In grief for his loss, his parents had forgotten all resentment for his
errors, which, indeed, had never been very great: they had lost their
two remaining children during his absence, and now received him as the
sole comfort and hope of their age.

His youthful protector was blest with the warmest gratitude: tears
filled his fine eyes, as he beheld the pleasure of his parents, and the
contrition of the son; and he departed with that heartfelt pleasure,
which ever attends and rewards an action of humanity.

He now accompanied his regiment into Scotland; they were quartered at a
fort in a remote part of that kingdom.

Near the fort was a fine old abbey, belonging to the family of Dunreath;
the high hills which nearly encompassed it, were almost all covered with
trees, whose dark shades gave an appearance of gloomy solitude to the
building.

The present possessor, the Earl of Dunreath, was now far advanced in
life; twice had he married, in expectation of a male heir to his large
estates, and twice he had been disappointed. His first lady had expired
immediately after the birth of a daughter. She had taken under her
protection a young female, who, by unexpected vicissitudes in her
family, was left destitute of support. On the demise of her patroness,
she retired from the Abbey to the house of a kinswoman in its vicinity;
the Earl of Dunreath, accustomed to her society, felt his solitude
doubly augmented by her absence. He had ever followed the dictates of
inclination, and would not disobey them now: ere the term of mourning
was expired, he offered her his hand, and was accepted.

The fair orphan, now triumphant mistress of the Abbey, found there was
no longer occasion to check her natural propensities. Her soul was vain,
unfeeling, and ambitious; and her sudden elevation broke down all the
barriers which prudence had hitherto opposed to her passions.

She soon gained an absolute ascendancy over her lord--she knew how to
assume the smile of complacency, and the accent of sensibility.

Forgetful of the kindness of her late patroness, she treated the infant
she had left with the most cruel neglect; a neglect which was, if
possible, increased, on the birth of her own daughter, as she could not
bear that Augusta (instead of possessing the whole) should only share
the affection and estates of her father. She contrived by degrees to
alienate the former from the innocent Malvina; and she trusted, she
should find means to deprive her of the latter.

Terrified by violence, and depressed by severity, the child looked
dejected and unhappy; and this appearance, Lady Dunreath made the Earl
believe, proceeded from sulkiness and natural ill-humor. Her own child,
unrestrained in any wish of her heart, was, from her playful gayety, a
constant source of amusement to the Earl; her mother had taken care to
instruct her in all the little endearments which, when united with
infantine sweetness, allure almost imperceptibly the affections.

Malvina, ere she knew the meaning of sorrow, thus became its prey; but
in spite of envy or ill treatment, she grew up with all the graces of
mind and form that had distinguished her mother; her air was at once
elegant and commanding; her face replete with sweetness; and her fine
eyes had a mixture of sensibility and languor in them, which spoke to
the feeling soul.

Augusta was also a fine figure; but unpossessed of the winning graces of
elegance and modesty which adorned her sister, her form always appeared
decorated with the most studied art, and her large eyes had a confident
assurance in them, that seemed to expect and demand universal homage.

The warriors of the fort were welcome visitants at the Abbey, which Lady
Dunreath contrived to render a scene of almost constant gayety, by
keeping up a continual intercourse with all the adjacent families, and
entertaining all the strangers who came into its neighborhood.

Lord Dunreath had long been a prey to infirmities, which at this period
generally confined him to his room; but though his body was debilitated,
his mind retained all its active powers.

The first appearance of the officers at the Abbey was at a ball given by
Lady Dunreath, in consequence of their arrival near it; the gothic
apartments were decorated, and lighted up with a splendor that at once
displayed taste and magnificence; the lights, the music, the brilliancy,
and unusual gayety of the company, all gave to the spirits of Malvina an
agreeable flutter they had never before experienced; and a brighter
bloom than usual stole over her lovely cheek.

The young co-heiresses were extremely admired by the military heroes.
Malvina, as the eldest, opened the ball with the colonel; her form had
attracted the eyes of Fitzalan, and vainly he attempted to withdraw
them, till the lively conversation of Augusta, who honored him with her
hand, forced him to restrain his glances, and pay her the sprightly
attentions so generally expected--when he came to turn Malvina, he
involuntarily detained her hand for a moment: she blushed, and the timid
beam that stole from her half-averted eyes, agitated his whole soul.

Partners were changed in the course of the evening, and he seized the
first opportunity that offered for engaging her; the softness of her
voice, the simplicity yet elegance of her language, now captivated his
heart, as much as her form had charmed his eyes.

Never had he before seen an object he thought half so lovely or
engaging; with her he could not support that lively strain of
conversation he had done with her sister. Where the heart is much
interested, it will not admit of trifling.

Fitzalan was now in the meridian of manhood; his stature was above the
common size, and elegance and dignity were conspicuous in it; his
features were regularly handsome, and the fairness of his forehead
proved what his complexion had been, till change of climate and hardship
had embrowned it; the expression of his countenance was somewhat
plaintive: his eyes had a sweetness in them that spoke a soul of the
tenderest feelings; and the smile that played around his mouth, would
have adorned a face of female beauty.

When the dance with Lady Malvina was over, Lady Augusta took care for
the remainder of the evening to engross all his attention. She thought
him by far the handsomest man in the room, and gave him no opportunity
of avoiding her; gallantry obliged him to return her assiduities, and he
was by his brother officers set down in the list of her adorers. This
mistake he encouraged: he could bear raillery on an indifferent subject;
and joined in the mirth, which the idea of his laying siege to the young
heiress occasioned.

He deluded himself with no false hopes relative to the real object of
his passion; he knew the obstacles between them were insuperable; but
his heart was too proud to complain of fate; he shook off all appearance
of melancholy, and seemed more animated than ever.

His visits at the Abbey became constant; Lady Augusta took them to
herself, and encouraged his attentions: as her mother rendered her
perfect mistress of her own actions, she had generally a levee of
redcoats every morning in her dressing-room. Lady Malvina seldom
appeared; she was at those times almost always employed in reading to
her father; when that was not the case, her own favorite avocations
often detained her in her room; or else she wandered out, about the
romantic rocks on the sea-shore; she delighted in solitary rambles, and
loved to visit the old peasants, who told her tales of her departed
mother's goodness, drawing tears of sorrow from her eyes, at the
irreparable loss she had sustained by her death.

Fitzalan went one morning as usual to the Abbey to pay his customary
visit; as he went through the gallery which led to Lady Augusta's
dressing-room, his eyes were caught by two beautiful portraits of the
Earl's daughters; an artist, by his express desire, had come to the
Abbey to draw them; they were but just finished, and that morning placed
in the gallery.

Lady Augusta appeared negligently reclined upon a sofa, in a verdant
alcove; the flowing drapery of the loose robe in which she was habited,
set off her fine figure; little Cupids were seen fanning aside her
dark-brown hair, and strewing roses on her pillow.

Lady Malvina was represented in the simple attire of a peasant girl,
leaning on a little grassy hillock, whose foot was washed by a clear
stream, while her flocks browsed around, and her dog rested beneath the
shade of an old tree, that waved its branches over her head, and seemed
sheltering her from the beams of a meridian sun.

"Beautiful portrait!" cried Fitzalan, "sweet resemblance of a seraphic
form!"

He heard a soft sigh behind him; he started, turned, and perceived Lady
Malvina; in the utmost confusion he faltered out his admiration of the
pictures; and not knowing what he did, fixed his eyes on Lady Augusta's,
exclaiming, "How beautiful!" "'Tis very handsome indeed," said Malvina,
with a more pensive voice than usual, and led the way to her sister's
drawing-room.

Lady Augusta was spangling some ribbon; but at Fitzalan's entrance she
threw it aside, and asked him if he had been admiring her
picture?--"Yes," he said, "'twas that alone had prevented his before
paying his homage to the original." He proceeded in a strain of
compliments, which had more gallantry than sincerity in them. In the
course of their trifling he snatched a knot of the spangled ribbon, and
pinning it next his heart, declared it should remain there as a talisman
against all future impressions.

He stole a glance at Lady Malvina; she held a book in her hand; but her
eyes were turned towards him, and a deadly paleness overspread her
countenance.

Fitzalan's spirits vanished; he started up, and declared he must be gone
immediately. The dejection of Lady Malvina dwelt upon his heart; it
flattered his fondness, but pained its sensibility. He left the fort in
the evening, immediately after he had retired from the mess; he strolled
to the sea-side, and rambled a considerable way among the rocks. The
scene was wild and solemn; the shadows of evening were beginning to
descend; the waves stole with low murmurs upon the shore, and a soft
breeze gently agitated the marine plants that grew amongst the crevices
of the rocks; already were the sea-fowl, with harsh and melancholy
cries, flocking to their nests, some lightly skimming over the water,
while others were seen, like dark clouds arising from the long heath on
the neighboring hills. Fitzalan pursued his way in deep and melancholy
meditation, from which a plaintive Scotch air, sung by the melting voice
of harmony itself, roused him. He looked towards the spot from whence
the sound proceeded, and beheld Lady Malvina standing on a low rock, a
projection of it affording her support. Nothing could be more
picturesque than her appearance: she looked like one of the beautiful
forms which Ossian so often describes: her white dress fluttered in the
wind, and her dark hair hung dishevelled around her. Fitzalan moved
softly, and stopped behind her; she wept as she sung, and wiped away her
tears as she ceased singing; she sighed heavily. "Ah! my mother," she
exclaimed, "why was Malvina left behind you?"--"To bless and improve
mankind," cried Fitzalan. She screamed, and would have fallen, had he
not caught her in his arms; he prevailed on her to sit down upon the
rock, and allow him to support her till her agitation had subsided. "And
why," cried he, "should Lady Malvina give way to melancholy, blest as
she is with all that can render life desirable? Why seek its indulgence,
by rambling about those dreary rocks; fit haunts alone, he might have
added, for wretchedness and me? Can I help wondering at your dejection
(he continued), when to all appearance (at least) I see you possessed of
everything requisite to constitute felicity?"

"Appearances are often deceitful," said Malvina, forgetting in that
moment the caution she had hitherto inviolably observed, of never
hinting at the ill treatment she received from the Countess of Dunreath
and her daughter. "Appearances are often deceitful," she said, "as I,
alas! too fatally experience. The glare, the ostentation of wealth, a
soul of sensibility would willingly resign for privacy and plainness if
they were to be attended with real friendship and sympathy."

"And how few," cried Fitzalan, turning his expressive eyes upon her
face, "can know Lady Malvina without feeling friendship for her virtues,
and sympathy for her sorrows!" As he spoke, he pressed her hand against
his heart, and she felt the knot of ribbon he had snatched from her
sister: she instantly withdrew her hand, and darting a haughty glance at
him, "Captain Fitzalan," said she, "you were going, I believe, to Lady
Augusta; let me not detain you."

Fitzalan's passions were no longer under the dominion of reason; he tore
the ribbon from his breast and flung it into the sea. "Going to Lady
Augusta!" he exclaimed, "and is her lovely sister then really deceived?
Ah! Lady Malvina, I now gaze on the dear attraction that drew me to the
Abbey. The feelings of a real, a hopeless passion could ill support
raillery or observation: I hid my passion within the recesses of my
heart, and gladly allowed my visits to be placed to the account of an
object truly indifferent, that I might have opportunities of seeing an
object I adored." Malvina blushed and trembled: "Fitzalan," cried she
after a pause, "I detest deceit."

"I abhor it too, Lady Malvina," said he; "but why should I now endeavor
to prove my sincerity, when I know it is so immaterial? Excuse me for
what I have already uttered, and believe that though susceptible, I am
not aspiring." He then presented his hand to Malvina; she descended from
her seat, and they walked towards the Abbey. Lady Malvina's pace was
slow, and her blushes, had Fitzalan looked at her, would have expressed
more pleasure than resentment: she seemed to expect a still further
declaration; but Fitzalan was too confused to speak; nor indeed was it
his intention again to indulge himself on the dangerous subject. They
proceeded in silence; at the Abbey gate they stopped, and he wished her
good-night. "Shall we not soon see you at the Abbey?" exclaimed Lady
Malvina in a flurried voice, which seemed to say she thought his adieu
rather a hasty one. "No, my lovely friend," cried Fitzalan, pausing,
while he looked upon her with the most impassioned tenderness,--"in
future I shall confine myself chiefly to the fort." "Do you dread an
invasion?" asked she, smiling, while a stolen glance of her eyes gave
peculiar meaning to her words. "I long dreaded that," cried he in the
same strain, "and my fears were well founded; but I must now muster all
my powers to dislodge the enemy." He kissed her hand, and precipitately
retired.

Lady Malvina repaired to her chamber, in such a tumult of pleasure as
she had never before experienced. She admired Fitzalan from the first
evening she beheld him; though his attentions were directed to her
sister, the language of his eyes, to her, contradicted any attachment
these attentions might have intimated; his gentleness and sensibility
seemed congenial to her own. Hitherto she had been the slave of tyranny
and caprice; and now, for the first time, experienced that soothing
tenderness her wounded feelings had so long sighed for. She was agitated
and delighted; she overlooked every obstacle to her wishes; and waited
impatiently a further explanation of Fitzalan's sentiments.

Far different were his feelings from hers: to know he was beloved, could
scarcely yield him pleasure, when he reflected on his hopeless
situation, which forbad his availing himself of any advantage that
knowledge might have afforded. Of a union indeed he did not dare to
think, since its consequences, he knew, must be destruction; for rigid
and austere as the Earl was represented, he could not flatter himself he
would ever pardon such a step; and the means of supporting Lady Malvina,
in any degree of comfort, he did not possess himself. He determined, as
much as possible, to avoid her presence, and regretted continually
having yielded to the impulse of his heart and revealed his love, since
he believed it had augmented hers.

By degrees he discontinued his visits at the Abbey; but he often met
Lady Malvina at parties in the neighborhood: caution, however, always
sealed his lips, and every appearance of particularity was avoided. The
time now approached for the departure of the regiment from Scotland, and
Lady Malvina, instead of the explanation she so fondly expected, so
ardently desired, saw Fitzalan studious to avoid her.

The disappointment this conduct gave rise to, was too much for the
tender and romantic heart of Malvina to bear without secretly repining.
Society grew irksome; she became more than ever attached to solitary
rambles, which gave opportunities of indulging her sorrows without
restraint: sorrows, pride often reproached her for experiencing.

It was within a week of the change of garrison, when Malvina repaired
one evening to the rock where Fitzalan had disclosed his tenderness; a
similarity of feeling had led him thither; he saw his danger, but he had
no power to retreat; he sat down by Malvina, and they conversed for some
time on indifferent subjects; at last, after a pause of a minute,
Malvina exclaimed, "You go then, Fitzalan, never, never, I suppose, to
return here again!" "'Tis probable I may not indeed," said he. "Then we
shall never meet again," cried she, while a trickling tear stole down
her lovely cheek, which, tinged as it was with the flush of agitation,
looked now like a half-blown rose moistened with the dews of early
morning.

"Yes, my lovely friend," said he, "we shall meet again--we shall meet in
a better place; in that heaven," continued he, sighing, and laying his
cold, trembling hand upon hers, "which will recompense all our
sufferings." "You are melancholy to-night, Fitzalan," cried Lady
Malvina, in a voice scarcely articulate.

"Oh! can you wonder at it?" exclaimed he, overcome by her emotion, and
forgetting in a moment all his resolutions--"Oh! can you wonder at my
melancholy, when I know not but that this is the last time I shall see
the only woman I ever loved--when I know, that in bidding her adieu I
resign all the pleasure, the happiness of my life."

Malvina could no longer restrain her feelings; she sunk upon his
shoulder and wept. "Good heavens!" cried Fitzalan, almost trembling
beneath the lovely burden he supported--"What a cruel situation is mine!
But, Malvina, I will not, cannot plunge you in destruction. Led by
necessity, as well as choice, to embrace the profession of a soldier, I
have no income but what is derived from that profession; though my own
distresses I could bear with fortitude, yours would totally unman me;
nor would my honor be less injured than my peace, were you involved in
difficulties on my account. Our separation is therefore, alas!
inevitable."

"Oh! no," exclaimed Malvina, "the difficulties you have mentioned will
vanish. My father's affections were early alienated from me; and my fate
is of little consequence to him--nay, I have reason to believe he will
be glad of an excuse for leaving his large possessions to Augusta; and
oh! how little shall I envy her those possessions, if the happy destiny
I now look forward to is mine." As she spoke, her mild eyes rested on
the face of Fitzalan, who clasped her to his bosom in a sudden transport
of tenderness. "But though my father is partial to Augusta," she
continued, "I am sure he will not be unnatural to me; and though he may
withhold affluence, he will, I am confident, allow me a competence; nay,
Lady Dunreath, I believe, in pleasure at my removal from the Abbey,
would, if he hesitated in that respect, become my intercessor."

The energy with which Malvina spoke convinced Fitzalan of the strength
of her affection. An ecstasy never before felt pervaded his soul at the
idea of being so beloved; vainly did prudence whisper, that Malvina
might be deluding herself with false hopes, the suggestions of love
triumphed over every consideration; and again folding the fair being he
held in his arms to his heart, he softly asked, would she, at all
events, unite her destiny with his.

Lady Malvina, who firmly believed what she had said to him would really
happen, and who deemed a separation from him the greatest misfortune
which could possibly befall her, blushed, and faltering yielded a
willing consent.

The means of accomplishing their wishes now occupied their thoughts.
Fitzalan's imagination was too fertile not soon to suggest a scheme
which had a probability of success; he resolved to intrust the chaplain
of the regiment with the affair, and request his attendance the ensuing
night in the chapel of the Abbey, where Lady Malvina promised to meet
them with her maid, on whose secrecy she thought she could rely.

It was settled that Fitzalan should pay a visit the next morning at the
Abbey, and give Malvina a certain sign, if he succeeded with the
chaplain.

The increasing darkness at length reminded them of the lateness of the
hour. Fitzalan conducted Malvina to the Abbey gate, where they
separated, each involved in a tumult of hopes, fears, and wishes.

The next morning Lady Malvina brought her work into her sister's
dressing-room; at last Fitzalan entered; he was attacked by Augusta for
his long absence, which he excused by pleading regimental business.
After trifling some time with her, he prevailed on her to sit down to
the harpsichord; and then glancing to Malvina, he gave her the promised
signal.

Her conscious eyes were instantly bent to the ground; a crimson glow was
suddenly succeeded by a deadly paleness; her head sunk upon her bosom;
and her agitation must have excited suspicions had it been perceived;
but Fitzalan purposely bent over her sister, and thus gave her an
opportunity of retiring unnoticed from the room. As soon as she had
regained a little composure, she called her maid, and, after receiving
many promises of secrecy, unfolded to her the whole affair. It was long
past the midnight hour ere Malvina would attempt repairing to the
chapel; when she at last rose for that purpose she trembled universally;
a kind of horror chilled her heart; she began to fear she was about
doing wrong, and hesitated; but when she reflected on the noble
generosity of Fitzalan, and that she herself had precipitated him into
the measure they were about taking, her hesitation was over; and leaning
on her maid, she stole through the winding galleries, and lightly
descending the stairs, entered the long hall, which terminated in a dark
arched passage, that opened into the chapel.

This was a wild and gloomy structure, retaining everywhere vestiges of
that monkish superstition which had erected it; beneath were the vaults
which contained the ancestors of the Earl of Dunreath, whose deeds and
titles were enumerated on gothic monuments; their dust-covered banners
waving around in sullen dignity to the rude gale, which found admittance
through the broken windows.

The light, which the maid held, produced deep shadows, that heightened
the solemnity of the place.

"They are not here," said Malvina, casting her fearful eyes around. She
went to the door, which opened into a thick wood; but here she only
heard the breeze rustling amongst the trees; she turned from it, and
sinking upon the steps of the altar, gave way to an agony of tears and
lamentations. A low murmur reached her ear; she started up; the chapel
door was gently pushed open, and Fitzalan entered with the chaplain;
they had been watching in the wood for the appearance of light. Malvina
was supported to the altar, and a few minutes made her the wife of
Fitzalan.

She had not the courage, till within a day or two previous to the
regiment's departure from Scotland, to acquaint the Earl with her
marriage; the Countess already knew it, through the means of Malvina's
woman, who was a creature of her own. Lady Dunreath exulted at the
prospect of Malvina's ruin; it at once gratified the malevolence of her
soul, and the avaricious desire she had of increasing her own daughter's
fortune; she had, besides, another reason to rejoice at it; this was,
the attachment Lady Augusta had formed for Fitzalan, which, her mother
feared, would have precipitated her into a step as imprudent as her
sister's, had she not been beforehand with her.

This fear the impetuous passions of Lady Augusta naturally excited. She
really loved Fitzalan; a degree of frantic rage possessed her at his
marriage; she cursed her sister in the bitterness of her heart, and
joined with Lady Dunreath in working up the Earl's naturally austere and
violent passions into such a paroxysm of fury and resentment, that he at
last solemnly refused forgiveness to Malvina, and bid her never more
appear in his presence.

She now began to tread the thorny path of life; and though her guide was
tender and affectionate, nothing could allay her anguish for having
involved him in difficulties, which his noble spirit could ill brook or
struggle against. The first year of their union she had a son, who was
called after her father, Oscar Dunreath; the four years that succeeded
his birth were passed in wretchedness that baffles description. At the
expiration of this period their debts were so increased, Fitzalan was
compelled to sell out on half-pay. Lady Malvina now expected an addition
to her family; her situation, she hoped, would move her father's heart,
and resolved to essay everything, which afforded the smallest prospect
of obtaining comfort for her husband and his babes; she prevailed on
him, therefore, to carry her to Scotland.

They lodged at a peasant's in the neighborhood of the Abbey; he
informed them the Earl's infirmities were daily increasing; and that
Lady Dunreath had just celebrated her daughter's marriage with the
Marquis of Roseline. This nobleman had passionately admired Lady
Malvina; an admiration the Countess always wished transferred to her
daughter. On the marriage of Malvina he went abroad; his passion was
conquered ere he returned to Scotland, and he disdained not the
overtures made for his alliance from the Abbey. His favorite
propensities, avarice and pride, were indeed gratified by the possession
of the Earl of Dunreath's sole heiress.

The day after her arrival Lady Malvina sent little Oscar, with the old
peasant, to the Abbey; Oscar was a perfect cherubim--

  "The bloom of opening flowers, unsullied beauty,
   Softness and sweetest innocence he wore,
   And looked like nature in the world's first spring."

Lady Malvina gave him a letter for the Earl, in which, after
pathetically describing her situation, she besought him to let the
uplifted hands of innocence plead her cause. The peasant watched till
the hour came for Lady Dunreath to go out in her carriage, as was her
daily custom: he then desired to be conducted to the Earl, and was
accordingly ushered into his presence: he found him alone, and briefly
informed him of his errand. The Earl frowned and looked agitated; but
did not by any means express that displeasure which the peasant had
expected; feeling for himself, indeed, had lately softened his heart; he
was unhappy; his wife and daughter had attained the completion of their
wishes, and no longer paid him the attention his age required. He
refused, however, to accept the letter: little Oscar, who had been
gazing on him from the moment he entered the apartment, now ran forward;
gently stroking his hand, he smiled in his face, and exclaimed, "Ah! do
pray take poor mamma's letter." The Earl involuntarily took it; as he
read, the muscles of his face began to work, and a tear dropped from
him. "Poor mamma cries too," said Oscar, upon whose hand the tear fell.
"Why did your mamma send you to me?" said the Earl. "Because she said,"
cried. Oscar, "that you were my grandpapa--and she bids me love you, and
teaches me every day to pray for you." "Heaven bless you, my lovely
prattler!" exclaimed the Earl, with sudden emotion, patting his head as
he spoke. At this moment Lady Dunreath rushed into the apartment: one of
her favorites had followed her, to relate the scene that was going
forward within it: and she had returned, with all possible expedition,
to counteract any dangerous impression that might be made upon the
Earl's mind. Rage inflamed her countenance: the Earl knew the violence
of her temper; he was unequal to contention, and hastily motioned for
the peasant to retire with the child. The account of his reception
excited the most flattering hopes in the bosom of his mother: she
counted the tedious hours, in expectation of a kind summons to the
Abbey; but no such summons came. The next morning the child was sent to
it; but the porter refused him admittance, by the express command of the
Earl, he said. Frightened at his rudeness, the child returned weeping to
his mother, whose blasted expectations wrung her heart with agony, and
tears and lamentations broke from her. The evening was far advanced,
when suddenly her features brightened: "I will go," cried she, starting
up--"I will again try to melt his obduracy. Oh! with what lowliness
should a child bend before an offended parent! Oh! with what fortitude,
what patience, should a wife, a mother, try to overcome difficulties
which she is conscious of having precipitated the objects of her
tenderest affections into!"

The night was dark and tempestuous; she would not suffer Fitzalan to
attend her; but proceeded to the Abbey, leaning on the peasant's arm.
She would not be repulsed at the door, but forced her way into the hall:
here Lady Dunreath met her, and with mingled pride and cruelty, refused
her access to her father, declaring it was by his desire she did so.
"Let me see him but for a moment," said the lovely suppliant, clasping
her white and emaciated hands together--"by all that is tender in
humanity, I beseech you to grant my request."

"Turn this frantic woman from the Abbey," said the implacable Lady
Dunreath, trembling with passion--"at your peril suffer her to continue
here. The peace of your lord is too precious to be disturbed by her
exclamations."

The imperious order was instantly obeyed, though, as Cordelia says, "it
was a night when one would not have turned an enemy's dog from the
door." The rain poured in torrents; the sea roared with awful violence;
and the wind roared through the wood, as if it would tear up the trees
by their roots. The peasant charitably flung his plaid over Malvina: she
moved mechanically along; her senses appeared quite stupefied. Fitzalan
watched for her at the door: she rushed into his extended arms, and
fainted; it was long ere she showed any symptoms of returning life.
Fitzalan wept over her in the anguish and distraction of his soul; and
scarcely could he forbear execrating the being who had so grievously
afflicted her gentle spirit: by degrees she revived; and, as she pressed
him feebly to her breast, exclaimed, "The final stroke is given--I have
been turned from my father's door."

The cottage in which they lodged afforded but few of the necessaries,
and none of the comforts of life; such, at least, as they had been
accustomed to. In Malvina's present situation, Fitzalan dreaded the loss
of her life, should they continue in their present abode; but whither
could he take her wanderer, as he was upon the face of the earth? At
length the faithful Edwin occurred to his recollection: his house, he
was confident, would afford them a comfortable asylum, where Lady
Malvina would experience all that tenderness and care her situation
demanded.

He immediately set about procuring a conveyance, and the following
morning Malvina bid a last adieu to Scotland.

Lady Dunreath, in the mean time, suffered torture: after she had seen
Malvina turned from the Abbey, she returned to her apartment: it was
furnished with the most luxurious elegance, yet could she not rest
within it. Conscience already told her, if Malvina died, she must
consider herself her murderer; her pale and woe-worn image seemed still
before her; a cold terror oppressed her heart, which the horrors of the
night augmented; the tempest shook the battlements of the Abbey; and the
winds, which howled through the galleries, seemed like the last moans of
some wandering spirit of the pile, bewailing the fate of one of its
fairest daughters. To cruelty and ingratitude Lady Dunreath had added
deceit: her lord was yielding to the solicitations of his child, when
she counteracted his intentions by a tale of falsehood. The visions of
the night were also dreadful; Malvina appeared expiring before her, and
the late Lady Dunreath, by her bedside, reproaching her barbarity. "Oh
cruel!" the ghastly figure seemed to say, "is it you, whom I fostered in
my bosom, that have done this deed--driven forth my child, a forlorn and
wretched wanderer?"

Oh, conscience, how awful are thy terrors! thou art the vicegerent of
Heaven, and dost anticipate its vengeance, ere the final hour of
retribution arrives. Guilt may be triumphant, but never, never can be
happy: it finds no shield against thy stings and arrows. The heart thou
smitest bleeds in every pore, and sighs amidst gayety and splendor.

The unfortunate travellers were welcomed with the truest hospitality by
the grateful Edwin; he had married, soon after his return from America,
a young girl, to whom, from his earliest youth, he was attached. His
parents died soon after his union, and the whole of their little
patrimony devolved to him. Soothed and attended with the utmost
tenderness and respect, Fitzalan hoped Lady Malvina would here regain
her health and peace: he intended, after her recovery, to endeavor to be
put on full pay; and trusted he should prevail on her to continue at the
farm.

At length the hour came, in which she gave a daughter to his arms. From
the beginning of her illness the people about her were alarmed; too soon
was it proved their alarms were well founded: she lived after the birth
of her infant but a few minutes, and died embracing her husband, and
blessing his children.

Fitzalan's feelings cannot well be described: they were at first too
much for reason, and he continued some time in perfect stupefaction.
When he regained his sensibility, his grief was not outrageous; it was
that deep, still sorrow, which fastens on the heart, and cannot vent
itself in tears or lamentations: he sat with calmness by the bed, where
the beautiful remains of Malvina lay; he gazed without shrinking on her
pale face, which death, as if in pity to his feelings, had not
disfigured; he kissed her cold lips, continually exclaiming, "Oh! had we
never met, she might still have been living." His language was something
like that of a poet of her own country:--

  "Wee, modest crimson-tipped flower,
   I met thee in a luckless hour."

It was when he saw them about removing her that all the tempest of his
grief broke forth. Oh! how impossible to describe the anguish of the
poor widower's heart, when he returned from seeing his Malvina laid in
her last receptacle: he shut himself up in the room where she had
expired, and ordered no one to approach him; he threw himself upon the
bed; he laid his cheek upon her pillow, he grasped it to his bosom, he
wetted it with tears, because she had breathed upon it. Oh, how still,
how dreary, how desolate, did all appear around him! "And shall this
desolation never more be enlightened," he exclaimed, "by the soft music
of Malvina's voice? Shall these eyes never more be cheered by beholding
her angelic face?" Exhausted by his feelings, he sunk into a slumber: he
dreamt of Malvina, and thought she lay beside him: he awoke with sudden
ecstasy, and under the strong impression of the dream, stretched out his
arms to enfold her. Alas! all was empty void: he started up--he groaned
in the bitterness of his soul he traversed the room with a distracted
pace--he sat him down in a little window, from whence he could view the
spire of the church (now glistening in the moonbeams) by which she was
interred. "Deep, still, and profound," cried he, "is now the sleep of my
Malvina--the voice of love cannot awake her from it; nor does she now
dream of her midnight mourner."

The cold breeze of night blew upon his forehead, but he heeded it not;
his whole soul was full of Malvina, whom torturing fancy presented to
his view, in the habiliments of the grave. "And is this emaciated form,
this pale face," he exclaimed, as if he had really seen her, "all that
remain of elegance and beauty, once unequalled!"

A native sense of religion alone checked the transports of his grief;
that sweet, that sacred power, which pours balm upon the wounds of
sorrow, and saves its children from despair; that power whispered to his
heart, a patient submission to the will of heaven was the surest means
he could attain of again rejoining his Malvina.

She was interred in the village church-yard: at the head of her grave a
stone was placed, on which was rudely cut,

        MALVINA FITZALAN,
  ALIKE LOVELY AND UNFORTUNATE.

Fitzalan would not permit her empty title to be on it: "She is buried,"
he said, "as the wife of a wretched soldier, not as the daughter of a
wealthy peer."

She had requested her infant might be called after her own mother; her
request was sacred to Fitzalan, and it was baptized by the united names
of Amanda Malvina. Mrs. Edwin was then nursing her first girl; but she
sent it out, and took the infant of Fitzalan in its place to her bosom.

The money, which Fitzalan had procured by disposing of his commission,
was now nearly exhausted; but his mind was too enervated to allow him to
think of any project for future support. Lady Malvina was deceased two
months, when a nobleman came into the neighborhood, with whom Fitzalan
had once been intimately acquainted: the acquaintance was now renewed;
and Fitzalan's appearance, with the little history of his misfortunes,
so much affected and interested his friend, that, without solicitation,
he procured him a company in a regiment, then stationed in England. Thus
did Fitzalan again enter into active life; but his spirits were broken,
and his constitution injured. Four years he continued in the army; when,
pining to have his children (all that now remained of a woman he adored)
under his own care, he obtained, through the interest of his friend,
leave to sell out. Oscar was then eight, and Amanda four; the delighted
father, as he held them to his heart, wept over them tears of mingled
pain and pleasure.

He had seen in Devonshire, where he was quartered for some time, a
little romantic solitude, quite adapted to his taste and finances; he
proposed for it, and soon became its proprietor. Hither he carried his
children, much against the inclinations of the Edwins, who loved them as
their own: two excellent schools in the neighborhood gave them the usual
advantages of genteel education; but as they were only day scholars, the
improvement, or rather forming of their morals, was the pleasing task of
their father. To his assiduous care too they were indebted for the rapid
progress they made in their studies, and for the graceful simplicity of
their manners: they rewarded his care, and grew up as amiable and lovely
as his fondest wishes could desire. As Oscar advanced in life, his
father began to experience new cares; for he had not the power of
putting him in the way of making any provision for himself. A military
life was what Oscar appeared anxious for: he had early conceived a
predilection for it, from hearing his father speak of the services he
had seen; but though he possessed quite the spirit of a hero, he had the
truest tenderness, the most engaging softness of disposition; his temper
was, indeed, at once mild, artless, and affectionate. He was about
eighteen, when the proprietor of the estate, on which his father held
his farm, died, and his heir, a colonel in the army, immediately came
down from London to take formal possession: he soon became acquainted
with Fitzalan, who, in the course of conversation, one day expressed the
anxiety he suffered on his son's account. The Colonel said he was a fine
youth, and it was a pity he was not provided for. He left Devonshire,
however, shortly after this, without appearing in the least interested
about him.

Fitzalan's heart was oppressed with anxiety; he could not purchase for
his son, without depriving himself of support. With the nobleman who had
formerly served him so essentially, he had kept up no intercourse, since
he quitted the army; but he frequently heard of him, and was told he had
become quite a man of the world, which was an implication of his having
lost all feeling: an application to him, therefore, he feared, would be
unavailing, and he felt too proud to subject himself to a repulse.

From this disquietude he was unexpectedly relieved by a letter from the
Earl of Cherbury, his yet kind friend, informing him he had procured an
ensigncy for Oscar, in Colonel Belgrave's regiment, which he considered
a very fortunate circumstance, as the colonel, he was confident, from
personally knowing the young gentleman, would render him every service
in his power. The Earl chided Fitzalan for never having kept up a
correspondence with him, assured him he had never forgotten the
friendship of their earlier years; and that he had gladly seized the
first opportunity which offered, of serving him in the person of his
son; which opportunity he was indebted to Colonel Belgrave for.

Fitzalan's soul was filled with gratitude and rapture; he immediately
wrote to the Earl, and the Colonel, in terms expressive of his feelings.
Colonel Belgrave received his thanks as if he had really deserved them;
but this was not by any means the case: he was a man devoid of
sensibility, and had never once thought of serving Fitzalan or his son;
his mentioning them was merely accidental.

In a large company, of which the Earl of Cherbury was one, the discourse
happened to turn on the Dunreath family, and by degrees led to Fitzalan,
who was severally blamed and pitied for his connection with it; the
subject was, in the opinion of Colonel Belgrave, so apropos, he could
not forbear describing his present situation, and inquietude about his
son, who, he said he fancied, must, like a second Cincinnatus, take the
plough-share instead of the sword.

Lord Cherbury lost no part of his discourse; though immersed in
politics, and other intricate concerns, he yet retained, and was ready
to obey, the dictates of humanity, particularly when they did not
interfere with his own interests; he therefore directly conceived the
design of serving his old friend.

Oscar soon quitted Devonshire after his appointment, and brought a
letter from his father to the Colonel, in which he was strongly
recommended to his protection, as one unskilled in the ways of men.

And now all Fitzalan's care devolved upon Amanda; and most amply did she
recompense it. To the improvement of her genius, the cultivation of her
talents, the promotion of her father's happiness, seemed her first
incentive; without him no amusement was enjoyed, without him no study
entered upon; he was her friend, guardian, and protector; and no
language can express, no heart (except a paternal one) conceive, the
rapture he felt, at seeing a creature grow under

                      his forming hand.
                      ----So fair
  That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now
  Mean, or in her contained.

Some years had elapsed since Oscar's departure, ere Colonel Belgrave
returned into their neighborhood; he came soon after his nuptials had
been celebrated in Ireland, with a lady of that country, whom Oscar's
letters described as possessing every mental and personal charm which
could please or captivate the heart. Colonel Belgrave came unaccompanied
by his fair bride. Fitzalan, who believed him his benefactor, and
consequently regarded him as a friend (still thinking it was through his
means Lord Cherbury had served him), immediately waited upon him, and
invited him to his house. The invitation, after some time, was accepted;
but had he imagined what an attraction the house contained, he would not
have long hesitated about entering it: he was a man, indeed, of the most
depraved principles; and an object he admired, no tie or situation,
however sacred, could guard from his pursuit.

Amanda was too much a child, when he was last in the country, to attract
his observation; he had, therefore, no idea that the blossom he then so
carelessly overlooked, had since expanded into such beauty. How great,
then, was his rapture and surprise, when Fitzalan led into the room
where he had received him, a tall, elegantly-formed girl, whose rosy
cheeks were dimpled with the softest smile of complacence, and whose
fine blue eyes beamed with modesty and gratitude upon him! He instantly
marked her for his prey; and blessed his lucky stars which had inspired
Fitzalan with the idea of his being his benefactor, since that would
give him an easier access to the house than he could otherwise have
hoped for.

From this time he became almost an inmate of it, except when he chose to
contrive little parties at his own for Amanda. He took every opportunity
that offered, without observation, to try to ingratiate himself in her
favor: those opportunities the unsuspecting temper of Fitzalan allowed
to be frequent--he would as soon have trusted Amanda to the care of
Belgrave, as to that of her brother; and never, therefore, prevented her
walking out with him, when he desired it, or receiving him in the
morning, while he himself was absent about the affairs of his
farm--delighted to think the conversation or talents of his daughter
(for Amanda frequently sung and played for the Colonel) could
contribute to the amusement of his friend. Amanda innocently increased
his flame, by the attention she paid which she considered but a just
tribute of gratitude for his services: she delighted in talking to him
of her dear Oscar, and often mentioned his lady; but was surprised to
find he always waived the latter subject.

Belgrave could not long restrain the impetuosity of his passions: the
situation of Fitzalan (which he knew to be a distressed one) would, he
fancied, forward his designs on his daughter; and what those designs
were, he, by degrees, in a retired walk one day, unfolded to Amanda. At
first she did not perfectly understand him; but when, with increased
audacity, he explained himself more fully, horror, indignation, and
surprise took possession of her breast; and, yielding to their feelings,
she turned and fled to the house, as if from a monster. Belgrave was
provoked and mortified; the softness of her manners had tempted him to
believe he was not indifferent to her, and that she would prove an easy
conquest.

Poor Amanda would not appear in the presence of her father, till she
had, in some degree, regained composure, as she feared the smallest
intimation of the affair might occasion fatal consequences. As she sat
with him, a letter was brought her; she could not think Belgrave would
have the effrontery to write, and opened it, supposing it came from some
acquaintance in the neighborhood. How great was the shock she sustained,
on finding it from him! Having thrown off the mask, he determined no
longer to assume any disguise. Her paleness and confusion alarmed her
father, and he instantly demanded the cause of her agitation. She found
longer concealment was impossible; and, throwing herself at her father's
feet, besought him, as she put the letter into his hands, to restrain
his passion. When he perused it, he raised her up, and commanded her, as
she valued his love or happiness, to inform him of every particular
relative to the insult she had received. She obeyed, though terrified to
behold her father trembling with emotion. When she concluded, he
tenderly embraced her; and, bidding her confine herself to the house,
rose, and took down his hat. It was easy to guess whither he was going;
her terror increased; and, in a voice scarcely articulate, she besought
him not to risk his safety. He commanded her silence, with a sternness
never before assumed. His manner awed her; but, when she saw him leaving
the room, her feelings could no longer be controlled--she rushed after
him, and flinging her arms round his neck, fainted on it. In this
situation the unhappy father was compelled to leave her to the care of
a maid, lest her pathetic remonstrances should delay the vengeance he
resolved to take on a wretch who had meditated a deed of such atrocity
against his peace; but Belgrave was not to be found.

Scarcely, however, had Fitzalan returned to his half-distracted daughter
ere a letter was brought him from the wretch, in which he made the most
degrading proposals; and bade Fitzalan beware how he answered them, as
his situation had put him entirely into his power. This was a fatal
truth: Fitzalan had been tempted to make a large addition to his farm,
from an idea of turning the little money he possessed to advantage: but
he was more ignorant of agriculture than he had imagined; and this
ignorance, joined to his own integrity of heart, rendered him the dupe
of some designing wretches in his neighborhood: his whole stock dwindled
away in unprofitable experiments, and he was now considerably in arrears
with Belgrave. The ungenerous advantage he strove to take of his
situation, increased, if possible, his indignation; and again he sought
him, but still without success.

Belgrave soon found no temptation of prosperity would prevail on the
father or daughter to accede to his wishes; he therefore resolved to try
whether the pressure of adversity would render them more complying, and
left the country, having first ordered his steward to proceed directly
against Fitzalan.

The consequence of this order was an immediate execution on his effects;
and, but for the assistance of a good-natured farmer, he would have been
arrested. By his means, and under favor of night, he and Amanda set out
for London; they arrived there in safety, and retired to obscure
lodgings. In this hour of distress, Fitzalan conquered all false pride,
and wrote to Lord Cherbury, entreating him to procure some employment
which would relieve his present distressing situation. He cautiously
concealed everything relative to Belgrave--he could not bear that it
should be known that he had ever been degraded by his infamous
proposals. Oscar's safety, too, he knew depended on his secrecy; as he
was well convinced no idea of danger, or elevation of rank, would secure
the wretch from his fury, who had meditated so great an injury against
his sister.

He had the mortification of having the letter he sent to Lord Cherbury
returned, as his lordship was then absent from town; nor was he expected
for some months, having gone on an excursion of pleasure to France. Some
of these months had lingered away in all the horrors of anxiety and
distress, when Fitzalan formed the resolution of sending Amanda into
Wales, whose health had considerably suffered, from the complicated
uneasiness and terror she experienced on her own and her father's
account.

Belgrave had traced the fugitives; and though Fitzalan was guarded
against all the stratagems he used to have him arrested, he found means
to have letters conveyed to Amanda, full of base solicitations and
insolent declarations, that the rigor he treated her father with was
quite against his feelings, and should instantly be withdrawn, if she
acceded to the proposals he made for her.

But though Fitzalan had determined to send Amanda into Wales, with whom
could he trust his heart's best treasure? At last the son of the worthy
farmer who had assisted him in his journey to London, occurred to his
remembrance; he came often to town, and always called on Fitzalan. The
young man, the moment it was proposed, expressed the greatest readiness
to attend Miss Fitzalan. As every precaution was necessary, her father
made her take the name of Dunford, and travel in the mail-coach, for the
greater security. He divided the contents of his purse with her; and
recommending this lovely and most beloved child to the protection of
heaven, saw her depart, with mingled pain and pleasure; promising to
give her the earliest intelligence of Lord Cherbury's arrival in town,
which, he supposed, would fix his future destiny. Previous to her
departure, he wrote to the Edwins, informing them of her intended visit,
and also her change of name for the present. This latter circumstance,
which was not satisfactorily accounted for, excited their warmest
curiosity; and not thinking it proper to ask Amanda to gratify it, they,
to use their own words, sifted her companion, who hesitated not to
inform them of the indignities she had suffered from Colonel Belgrave,
which were well known about his neighborhood.



CHAPTER III.

  "----Thy grave shall with fresh flowers be dressed,
   And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast;
   There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
   There the first roses of the year shall blow."--POPE.


A gentle noise in her chamber roused Amanda from a light, refreshing
slumber, and she beheld her nurse standing by her bedside with a bowl of
goat's whey. Amanda took the salubrious draught with a smile, and
instantly starting up, was dressed in a few minutes. She felt more
composed than she had done for some time past; the transition from a
narrow dark street to a fine open country, would have excited a lively
transport in her mind, but for the idea of her father still remaining in
the gloomy situation she had quitted.

On going out, she found the family all busily employed; Edwin and his
sons were mowing in a meadow near the house, the nurse was churning,
Ellen washing the milk-pails by the stream in the valley, and Betsey
turning a cake for her breakfast. The tea-table was laid by a window,
through which a woodbine crept, diffusing a delightful fragrance; the
bees feasted on its sweetness, and the gaudy butterflies fluttered
around it; the refulgent sun gladdened the face of nature; the morning
breeze tempered its heat, and bore upon its dewy wings the sweets of
opening flowers; birds carolled their matins almost on every spray; and
scattered peasants, busied in their various labors, enlivened the
extensive prospect.

Amanda was delighted with all she saw, and wrote to her father that his
presence was only wanting to complete her pleasure. The young man who
had attended her, on receiving her letter, set out for the village, from
whence he was to return in a stage-coach to London.

The morning was passed by Amanda in arranging her little affairs,
walking about the cottage, and conversing with the nurse relative to
past times and present avocations. When the hour for dinner came, by her
desire it was carried out into the recess in the garden, where the balmy
air, the lovely scene which surrounded her, rendered it doubly
delicious.

In the evening she asked Ellen to take a walk with her, to which she
joyfully consented. "And pray, Miss," said Ellen, after she had
smartened herself up with a clean white apron, her Sunday cap, and a hat
loaded with poppy-colored ribbons, smiling as she spoke, at the pretty
image her glass reflected, "where shall we go?" "To the church-yard,"
replied Amanda. "Oh, Lord, Miss won't that be rather a dismal place to
go to?" "Indulge me, my dear Ellen," said Amanda, "in showing me the way
thither; there is one spot in it my heart wants to visit."

The church-yard lay at the entrance of the little village; the church
was a small structure, whose gothic appearance proclaimed its ancient
date; it was rendered more venerable by the lofty elms and yews which
surrounded it, apparently coeval with itself, and which cast dark shades
upon the spots where the "rude forefathers of the hamlet slept," which,

  "With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
   Implored the passing tribute of a sigh."

And it was a tribute Amanda paid, as she proceeded to the grave of Lady
Malvina; which Ellen pointed out; it was over grown with grass, and the
flag, which bore her name, green from time and damp. Amanda
involuntarily sunk on her knees, and kissed the hallowed earth; her eyes
caught the melancholy inscription. "Sweet spirit," she said, "heaven now
rewards your sufferings. Oh, my mother! if departed spirits are ever
allowed to review this world, with love ineffable you may now be
regarding your child. Oh, if she is doomed to tread a path as thorny as
the one you trod, may the same sweetness and patience that distinguished
you, support her through it! with the same pious awe, the same meek
submission, may she bow to the designations of her Creator!"

The affecting apostrophe drew tears from the tender-hearted Ellen, who
besought her not to continue longer in such a dismal place. Amanda now
arose weeping--her spirits were entirely overcome; the busy objects of
day had amused her mind, and prevented it from meditating on its sorrow;
but, in the calm solitude of the evening, they gradually revived in her
remembrance. Her father's ill-health, she feared, would increase for
want of her tender attentions; and when she thought of his distress, his
confinement, his dejection, she felt agony at their separation.

Her melancholy was noticed at the cottage. Ellen informed the nurse of
the dismal walk they had taken, which at once accounted for it; and the
good woman exerted herself to enliven her dear child, but Amanda, though
she faintly smiled, was not to be cheered, and soon retired to
bed--pale, languid, and unhappy.

Returning light, in some degree, dispelled her melancholy; she felt,
however, for the first time, that her hours would hang heavy on her
hands, deprived as she was of those delightful resources which had
hitherto diversified them. To pass her time in listless inaction, or
idle saunters about the house, was insupportable; and besides, she found
her presence in the morning was a restraint on her humble friends, who
did not deem it good manners to work before her; and to them, who, like
the bees, were obliged to lay up their wintry hoard in summer, the loss
of time was irreparable.

In the distraction of her father's affairs, she had lost her books,
implements for drawing, and musical instruments; and in the cottage she
could only find a Bible, a family prayer-book, and a torn volume of old
ballads.

"Tear heart, now I think on't," said the nurse, "you may go to the
library at Tudor Hall, where there are books enough to keep you a-going,
if you lived to the age of Methusalem himself; and very pretty reading
to be sure amongst them, or our Parson Howel would not have been going
there as often as he did to study, till he got a library of his own. The
family are all away; and as the door is open every fine day to air the
room, you will not be noticed by nopoty going into it; though, for that
matter, poor old Mrs. Abergwilly would make you welcome enough, if you
promised to take none of the books away with you. But as I know you to
be a little bashful or so, I will, if you choose, step over and ask her
leave for you to go." "It you please," said Amanda; "I should not like
to go without it." "Well, I sha'n't be long," continued the nurse, "and
Ellen shall show you the way to-day; it will be a pretty pit of a walk
for you to take every morning."

The nurse was as good as her word; she returned soon, with Mrs.
Abergwilly's permission for Amanda to read in the library whenever she
pleased. In consequence of this, she immediately proceeded to the Hall,
whose white turrets were seen from the cottage: it was a large and
antique building, embosomed in a grove; the library was on the
ground-floor, and entered by a spacious folding-door. As soon as she had
reached it, Ellen left her, and returned to the cottage; and Amanda
began with pleasure to examine the apartment, whose elegance and
simplicity struck her with immediate admiration.

On one side was a row of large windows, arched quite in the gothic
style; opposite to them were corresponding arches, in whose recesses the
bookcases were placed; round these arches were festoons of laurel,
elegantly executed in stucco-work; and above them medallions of some of
the most celebrated poets: the chimney-piece, of the finest Italian
marble, was beautifully inlaid and ornamented; the paintings on the
ceiling were all highly finished, and of the allegorical kind; and it
was difficult to determine whether the taste that designed, or the hand
that executed them, merited most praise; upon marble pedestals stood a
celestial and terrestrial globe, and one recess was entirely hung with
maps. It was a room, from its situation and appearance, peculiarly
adopted for study and contemplation; all around was solitude and
silence, save the rustling of the trees, whose dark foliage cast a
solemn shade upon the windows.

Opposite the entrance was another folding-door, which being a little
opened, Amanda could not resist the desire she felt of seeing what was
beyond it. She entered a large vaulted apartment, whose airy lightness
formed a pleasing contrast to the gloomy one she had left. The manner in
which it was fitted up, and the musical instruments, declared this to be
a music-room. It was hung with pale green damask, spotted with silver,
and bordered with festoons of roses, intermingled with light silver
sprays; the seats corresponded to the hangings; the tables were of fine
inlaid wood; and superb lustres were suspended from the ceiling, which
represented, in a masterly style, scenes from some of the pastoral
poets; the orchestra, about the centre of the room, was enclosed with a
light balustrading of white marble, elevated by a few steps.

The windows of this room commanded a pleasing prospect of a deep
romantic dale; the hills through which it wound, displaying a beautiful
diversity of woody scenery, interspersed with green pastures and barren
points of rocks: a fine fall of water fell from one of the highest of
the hills, which, broken by intervening roots and branches of trees, ran
a hundred different ways, sparkling in the sunbeams as they emerged from
the shade.

Amanda stood long at a window, enjoying this delightful prospect, and
admiring the taste which had chosen this room for amusement; thus at
once gratifying the eye and ear. On looking over the instruments, she
saw a pianoforte unlocked; she gently raised the lid, and touching the
keys, found them in tolerable order. Amanda adored music; her genius for
it was great, and had received every advantage her father could
possibly give it; in cultivating it he had laid up a fund of delight for
himself, for "his soul was a stream that flowed at pleasant sounds."

Amanda could not resist the present opportunity of gratifying her
favorite inclination. "Harmony and I," cried she, "have long been
strangers to each other." She sat down and played a little tender air:
those her father loved, recurred to her recollection, and she played a
few of them with even more than usual elegance. "Ah, dear and valued
object," she mournfully sighed, "why are you not here to share, my
pleasure?" She wiped away a starting tear of tender remembrance, and
began a simple air--

   Ah gentle Hope, shall I no more
     Thy cheerful influence share?
   Oh must I still thy loss deplore,
     And be the slave of care?

   The gloom which now obscures my days
     At thy approach would fly,
   And glowing fancy would display
     A bright unclouded sky.

   Night's dreary shadows fleet away
     Before the orient beam
   So sorrow melts before thy sway,
     Thou nymph of cheerful mien.

   Ah! seek again my lonely breast,
     Dislodge each painful fear;
   Be once again my heavenly guest,
     And stay each falling tear.

Amanda saw a number of music-books lying about; she examined a few, and
found they contained compositions of some of the most eminent masters.
They tempted her to continue a little longer at the instrument: when she
rose from it, she returned to the library, and began looking over the
books, which she found were a collection of the best that past or
present times had produced. She soon selected one for perusal, and
seated herself in the recess of a window, that she might enjoy the cool
breeze, which sighed amongst the trees. Here, delighted with her
employment, she forgot the progress of time; nor thought of moving, till
Ellen appeared with a request from the nurse, for her immediate return,
as her dinner was ready, and she was uneasy at her fasting so long.
Amanda did not hesitate to comply with the request; but she resolved
henceforth to be a constant visitor to the hall, which contained such
pleasing sources of amusement: she also settled in her own mind often
to ramble amidst its shades, which were perfectly adapted to her taste.
These resolutions she put in practice; and a week passed in this manner,
during which she heard from her father, who informed her, that,
suspecting the woman with whom he lodged to be in Colonel Belgrave's
interest, he proposed changing his abode; he desired her therefore not
to write till she heard from him again, and added, "Lord Cherbury was
daily expected."



CHAPTER IV.

    "Mine eyes were half closed in sleep. Soft music came to mine
    ear; it was like the rising breeze, that whirls at first, the
    thistle's beard, that flies, dark shadowy over the
    grass."--OSSIAN.


Amanda went every morning to the hall, where she alternately played and
read: in the evening she again returned to it: but instead of staying in
the library, generally took a book from thence, and read at the foot of
some old moss-covered tree, delighted to hear its branches gently
rustling over her head, and myriads of summer flies buzzing in the sunny
ray, from which she was sheltered. When she could no longer see to read,
she deposited her book in the place she had taken it from, and rambled
to the deepest recesses of the grove: this was the time she loved to
saunter carelessly along, while all the jarring passions that obtruding
care excited were hushed to peace by the solemnity and silence of the
hour, and the soul felt at once composed and elevated: this was the time
she loved to think on days departed, and sketch those scenes of felicity
which, she trusted, the days to come would realize. Sometimes she gave
way to all the enthusiasm of a young and romantic fancy, and pictured to
herself the time when the shades she wandered beneath were

           ----the haunts of meditation,
  The scenes, where ancient bards the inspiring breath
  Ecstatic felt, and, from this world retired,
  Conversed with angels, and immortal forms,
  On gracious errands bent; to save the fall
  Of Virtue struggling on the brink of Vice.--THOMSON.

Her health gradually grew better, as the tranquillity of her mind
increased: a faint blush again began to tinge her cheek, and her lovely
eyes beamed a placid lustre, through their long silken lashes.

She returned one evening from her usual ramble, with one of those
unaccountable depressions on her spirits to which, in a greater or
lesser degree, almost every one is subject. When she retired to bed, her
sleeping thoughts took the tincture of her waking ones, and images of
the most affecting nature arose in her mind: she went through the whole
story of her mother's sufferings, and suddenly dreamt she beheld her
expiring under the greatest torture; and that while she wept her fate
the clouds opened, and discovered her adorned with seraphic beauty,
bending with a benignant look towards her child, as if to assure her of
her present happiness. From this dream Amanda was roused by the softest,
sweetest strains of music she had ever heard: she started with
amazement; she opened her eyes, and saw a light around her, far
exceeding that of twilight. Her dream had made a deep impression on her,
and a solemn awe diffused itself over her mind; she trembled
universally; but soon did the emotion of awe give way to that of
surprise, when she heard on the outside of the window the following
lines from Cowley, sung in a manly and exquisitely melodious voice, the
music which awoke her being only a symphony to them:--

               Awake, awake, my lyre,
   And tell thy silent master's humble tale
               In sounds that may prevail;
   Sounds that gentle thoughts inspire.
               Though so exalted she,
               And I so lowly be,
   Tell her such different notes make all thy harmony.

               Hark, how the strings awake,
   And though the moving hand approach not near
               Themselves with awful fear,
   A kind of numerous trembling make.
               Now all thy forces try,
               Now all thy charms apply,
   Revenge upon her ear the conquest of her eye.

               Weak lyre, thy virtue sure
   Is useless here, since thou art only found
               To cure, but not to wound,
   And she to wound, but not to cure.
               Too weak, too, wilt thou prove
               My passion to remove.
   Physic to other ills, thou'rt nourishment to love.

               Sleep, sleep again, my lyre,
   For thou canst never tell my humble tale,
               In sounds that will prevail,
   Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire.
               All thy vain mirth lay by,
               Bid thy strings silent lie,
   Sleep, sleep again, my lyre, and let thy master die.

Ere the voice ceased, Amanda had quite shaken off the effects of her
dream; and when all again was silent, she drew back the curtain, and saw
it was the moon, then at the full, which, beaming through the calico
window-curtains, cast such a light around her. The remainder of the
night was passed in ruminating on this strange incident; it was evident
the serenade was addressed to her; but she had not seen any one since
her arrival in the neighborhood from whom she could have expected such a
compliment, or, indeed, believed capable of paying it; that the person
who paid it was one of no mean accomplishments, from his performance,
she could not doubt. She resolved to conceal the incident, but to make
such inquiries the next morning as might possibly lead to a discovery.
From the answers those inquiries received, the clergyman was the only
person whom, with any degree of probability, she could fix on. She had
never seen him, and was at a loss to conceive how he knew anything of
her, till it occurred he might have seen her going to Tudor Hall, or
rambling about it.

From the moment this idea arose, Amanda deemed it imprudent to go to the
hall; yet, so great was the pleasure she experienced there, she could
not think of relinquishing it without the greatest reluctance. She at
last considered, if she had a companion, it would remove any appearance
of impropriety. Ellen was generally employed at knitting; Amanda
therefore saw, that going to the hall could not interfere with her
employment, and accordingly asked her attendance thither, which the
other joyfully agreed to.

"While you look over the books," said Ellen, as they entered the
library, "I will just step away about a little business." "I beg you may
not be long absent," cried Amanda. Ellen assured her that she would not,
and flew off directly. She had in truth seen, in an enclosure near the
hall, Tim Chip, the carpenter, at work, who was the rural Adonis of
these shades. He had long selected Ellen for the fair nymph of his
affection, which distinction excited not a little jealousy among the
village girls, and considerably increased the vanity of Ellen, who
triumphed in a conquest that at once gratified her love, and exalted her
above her companions.

Amanda entered the music-room. The melodious strains she had heard the
preceding night dwelt upon her memory, and she sat down to the piano and
attempted them; her ear soon informed her the attempt was successful;
and her voice (as the words were familiar to her) then accompanied the
instrument--"Heavenly sounds!" exclaimed some one behind her, as she
concluded singing. Amanda started in terror and confusion from the
chair, and beheld a tall and elegant young man standing by it. "Good
heaven!" cried she, blushing and hastily moving to the door, scarcely
knowing what she said, "where can Ellen be?" "And do you think," said
the stranger, springing forward and intercepting her passage, "I shall
let you escape in this manner? No; really, my charming girl, I should be
the most insensible of beings if I did not avail myself of the happy
opportunity chance afforded of entreating leave to be introduced to
you." As he spoke, he gently seized her hand and carried it to his lips.
"Be assured, sir," said Amanda, "the chance, as you call it, which
brought us together, is to me most unpleasant, as I fear it has exposed
me to greater freedom than I have been accustomed to." "And is it
possible," said he, "you really feel an emotion of anger? Well, I will
relinquish my lovely captive if she condescendingly promises to continue
here a few minutes longer, and grants me permission to attend her home."
"I insist on being immediately released," exclaimed Amanda. "I obey,"
cried he, softly pressing her hand, and then resigning it--"you are
free; would to Heaven I could say the same!"

Amanda hurried to the grove, but in her confusion took the wrong path,
and vainly cast her eyes around in search of Ellen. The stranger
followed, and his eyes wandered with hers in every direction they took.
"And why," cried he, "so unpropitious to my wish of introduction?--a
wish it was impossible not to feel from the moment you were seen."
Amanda made no reply, but still hurried on, and her fatigue and
agitation were soon too much for her present weak state of health, and,
quite overpowered, she was at last compelled to stop, and lean against a
tree for support. Exercise had diffused its softest bloom over her
cheek; her hair fluttered in the breeze that played around her, and her
eyes, with the beautiful embarrassment of modesty, were bent to the
ground to avoid the stranger's ardent gaze. He watched her with looks of
the most impassioned admiration, and softly exclaimed, as if the
involuntary exclamation of rapture, "Good heavens, what an angel!
Fatigue has made you ill," he said; "and 'tis your haste to avoid me
has occasioned this disorder. Could you look into my heart, you would
then find there was no reason to fly me; the emotions that lovely face
excites in a soul of sensibility could never be inimical to your
safety."

At this moment Amanda perceived Ellen leaping over a style; she had at
last left Mr. Chip, after promising to meet him in the evening at the
cottage, where the blind harper was to attend to give them a dance. She
ran forward, but, on seeing the stranger, started back in the utmost
amazement. "Bless me!" said Amanda, "I thought you would never come."
"You go, then," said the stranger, "and give me no hope of a second
interview. Oh say," taking her hand, "will you not allow me to wait upon
you?" "It is utterly impossible," replied Amanda, "and I shall be quite
distressed if longer detained." "See, then," said he, opening a gate
which led from the grove into the road, "how like a courteous knight I
release you from painful captivity. But think not, thou beautiful though
cruel fair one," he continued gayly, "I shall resign my hopes of yet
conquering thy obduracy."

"Oh, Lord!" cried Ellen, as they quitted the grove, "how did you meet
with Lord Mortimer?" "Lord Mortimer?" repeated Amanda, "Yes, himself,
inteed," said Ellen; "and I think in all my porn days I was never more
surprised than when I saw him with you, looking so soft and so sweet
upon you; to be sure he is a beautiful man, and besides that, the young
Lort of Tudor Hall." Amanda's spirits were greatly flurried when she
heard he was the master of the mansion, where he had found her seated
with as much composure as if possessor of it.

As they were entering the cottage, Ellen, twitching Amanda's sleeve,
cried, "Look! look!" Amanda, hastily turning round, perceived Lord
Mortimer, who had slowly followed them half way down the lane. On being
observed, he smiled, and kissing his hand, retired.

Nurse was quite delighted at her child being seen by Lord Mortimer
(which Ellen informed her of): her beauty, she was convinced, had
excited his warmest admiration; and admiration might lead (she did not
doubt) to something more important. Amanda's heart fluttered with an
agreeable sensation, as Ellen described to her mother the tender looks
with which Lord Mortimer regarded her. She was at first inclined to
believe, that in his lordship she had found the person whose melody so
agreeably disturbed her slumbers; but a minute's reflection convinced
her this belief must be erroneous: it was evident (or she would have
heard of it) that Lord Mortimer had only arrived that day at Tudor Hall:
and even had he seen her before, upon consideration she thought it
improbable that he should have taken the trouble of coming in such a
manner to a person in a station, to all appearance, so infinitely
beneath his own. Yes, it was plain, chance alone had led him to the
apartment where she sat; and the commonplace gallantry fashionable men
are accustomed to, had dictated the language he addressed to her. She
half sighed, as she settled the matter thus in her mind, and again fixed
on the curate as her serenader. Well, she was determined, if ever he
came in her way, and dropped a hint of an attachment, she would
immediately crush any hope she might have the vanity to entertain!



CHAPTER V.

  "The blossoms opening to the day,
     The dews of heaven refined,
   Could nought of purity display
     To emulate his mind."--GOLDSMITH.


After tea Amanda asked little Betsey to accompany her in a walk; for
Ellen (dressed in all her rural finery) had gone earlier in the evening
to the dance. But Amanda did not begin her walk with her usual alacrity:
her bonnet was so heavy, and then it made her look so ill, that she
could not go out till she had made some alterations in it; still it
would not do; a hat was tried on; she liked it better, and at last set
out; but not as usual did she pause, whenever a new or lovely feature in
the landscape struck her view, to express her admiration: she was often
indeed so absorbed in thought, as to start when Betsey addressed her,
which was often the case: for little Betsey delighted to have Miss
Amanda to trace figures for her in the clouds, and assist her in
gathering wild flowers. Scarcely knowing which way they went, Amanda
rambled to the village; and feeling herself fatigued, turned into the
church-yard to rest upon one of the raised flags.

The graves were ornamented with garlands of cut paper, interwoven with
flowers: tributes of love from the village maids to the memory of their
departed friends.

As Amanda rested herself, she twined a garland of the wild flowers she
had gathered with Betsey, and hung it over the grave of Lady Malvina:
her fine eyes raised to heaven, as if invoking at that moment the spirit
of her mother, to regard the vernal offering of her child; while her
white hands were folded on her heart, and she softly exclaimed, "Alas,
is this the only tribute for me to pay!"

A low murmur, as if from voices near, startled her at the instant; she
turned with quickness, and saw Lord Mortimer, with a young clergyman,
half hid by some trees, attentively observing her. Blushing and
confused, she drew her hat over her face, and catching Betsey's hand,
hastened to the cottage.

Lord Mortimer had wandered about the skirts of the cottage, in hopes of
meeting her in the evening; on seeing the direction she had taken from
it, he followed her, and just as she entered the church-yard,
unexpectedly met the curate. His company, at a moment so propitious for
joining Amanda, he could well have dispensed with; for he was more
anxious than he chose to acknowledge to himself, to become acquainted
with her.

Lord Mortimer was now in the glowing prime of life: his person was
strikingly elegant, and his manners insinuatingly pleasing; seducing
sweetness dwelt in his smile, and, as he pleased, his expressive eyes
could sparkle with intelligence, or beam with sensibility; and to the
eloquence of his language, the harmony of his voice imparted a charm
that seldom failed of being irresistible; his soul was naturally the
seat of every virtue; but an elevated rank, and splendid fortune, had
placed him in a situation somewhat inimical to their interests, for he
had not always strength to resist the strong temptations which
surrounded him; but though he sometimes wandered from the boundaries of
virtue, he had never yet entered upon the confines of vice--never really
injured innocence, or done a deed which could wound the bosom of a
friend: his heart was alive to every noble propensity of nature;
compassion was one of its strongest feelings, and never did his hand
refuse obedience to the generous impulse. Among the various
accomplishments he possessed, was an exquisite taste for music, which,
with every other talent, had been cultivated to the highest degree of
possible perfection; his spending many years abroad had given him every
requisite advantage for improving it. The soft, melodious voice of
Amanda would of itself almost have made a conquest of his heart; but
aided by the charms of her face and person, altogether were
irresistible.

He had come into Wales on purpose to pay a visit to an old friend in the
Isle of Anglesey: he did not mean to stop at Tudor Hall; but within a
few miles of it the phaeton, in which he travelled (from the fineness
of the weather), was overturned, and he severely hurt. He procured a
hired carriage, and proceeded to the hall, to put himself into the hands
of the good old housekeeper, Mrs. Abergwilly; who, possessing as great a
stock of medical knowledge as Lady Bountiful herself, he believed would
cure his bruises with as much, or rather more expedition, than any
country surgeon whatever. He gave strict orders that his being at the
hall should not be mentioned, as he did not choose, the few days he
hoped and believed he should continue there, to be disturbed by visits
which he knew would be paid if an intimation of his being there was
received. From an apartment adjoining the music-room he had discovered
Amanda. Though scarcely able to move, at the first sound of her voice he
stole to the door, which being a little open, gave him an opportunity of
seeing her perfectly; and nothing but his situation prevented his
immediately appearing before her, and expressing the admiration she had
inspired him with. As soon as she departed he sent for the housekeeper,
to inquire who the beautiful stranger was. Mrs. Abergwilly only knew she
was a young lady lately come from London, to lodge at David Edwin's
cottage, whose wife had entreated permission for her to read in the
library, which, she added, she had given, seeing that his lordship read
in his dressing-room; but, if he pleased, she would send Miss Dunford
word not to come again--"By no means," his lordship said. Amanda
therefore continued her visits as usual, little thinking with what
critical regard and fond admiration she was observed. Lord Mortimer
daily grew better; but the purpose for which he had come into Wales
seemed utterly forgotten; he had a tincture of romance in his
disposition, and availed himself of his recovery to gratify it, by
taking a lute and serenading his lovely cottage girl. He could no longer
restrain his impatience to be known to her; and the next day, stealing
from his retirement, surprised her as already related.

As he could not, without an utter violation of good manners, shake off
Howel, he contented himself with following Amanda into the church-yard,
where, shaded by trees, he and his companion stood watching her
unnoticed, till an involuntary exclamation of rapture from his lordship
discovered their situation. When she departed, he read the inscription
on the tombstone; but, from the difference of names, this gave no
insight into any connection between her and the person it mentioned.
Howel could give no information of either; he was but a young man,
lately appointed to the parsonage, and had never seen Amanda till that
evening.

Lord Mortimer was solicitous, even to a degree of anxiety, to learn the
real situation of Amanda. As Howel, in his pastoral function, had free
access to the houses of his parishioners, it occurred to him that he
would be an excellent person to discover it; he therefore, as if from
curiosity alone, expressed his wish of knowing who she was, and
requested Howel, if convenient, to follow her directly to Edwin's
cottage (where, he said, by chance, he heard she lodged), and endeavor
to find out from the good people everything about her. This request
Howel readily complied with; the face, the figure, the melancholy, and,
above all, the employment of Amanda, had interested his sensibility and
excited his curiosity.

He arrived soon after her at the cottage, and found her laughing at her
nurse, who was telling her she was certain she should see her a great
lady. Amanda rose to retire at his entrance; but he, perceiving her
intention, declared if he disturbed her, he would immediately depart;
she accordingly reseated herself, secretly pleased at doing so, as she
thought, either from some look or word of the curate's, she might
discover if he really was the person who had serenaded her; from this
idea she showed no aversion to enter into conversation with him.

The whole family, nurse excepted, had followed Ellen to the dance; and
that good woman thought she could do no less, for the honor of Howel's
visit, than prepare a little comfortable supper for him. The benevolence
of his disposition, and innocent gayety of his temper, had rendered him
a great favorite amongst his rustic neighbors, whom he frequently amused
with simple ballads and pleasant tales. Amanda and he were left
_tete-à-tete_ while the nurse was busied in preparing her entertainment;
and she was soon as much pleased with the elegance and simplicity of his
manners, as he was with the innocence and sweetness of hers. The objects
about them naturally led to rural subjects, and from them to what might
almost be termed a dissertation on poetry: this was a theme peculiarly
agreeable to Howel, who wooed the pensive muse beneath the sylvan shade;
nor was it less so to Amanda--she was a zealous worshipper of the muses,
though diffidence made her conceal her invocations to them. She was led
to point out the beauties of her favorite authors, and the soft
sensibility of her voice raised a kind of tender enthusiasm in Howel's
soul; he gazed and listened, as if his eye could never be satisfied with
seeing, or his ear with hearing. At his particular request, Amanda
recited the pathetic description of the curate and his lovely daughter
from the "Deserted Village"--a tear stole down her cheek as she
proceeded. Howel softly laid his hand on hers, and exclaimed, "Good
heavens, what an angel!"

"Come, come," said Amanda, smiling at the energy with which he spoke,
"you, at least, should have nothing to do with flattery."

"Flattery!" repeated he, emphatically; "Oh heavens! did you but know my
sincerity----"

"Well, well," cried she, wishing to change the subject, "utter no
expression in future which shall make me doubt it."

"To flatter you," said he, "would be impossible, since the highest
eulogium must be inadequate to your merits."

"Again!" said Amanda.

"Believe me," he replied, "flattery is a meanness I abhor; the
expressions you denominate as such proceed from emotions I should
contemn myself for want of sensibility if I did not experience."

The nurse's duck and green peas were now set upon the table, but in vain
did she press Howel to eat; his eyes were too well feasted to allow him
to attend to his palate. Finding her entreaties ineffectual in one
respect, she tried them in another, and begged he would sing a favorite
old ballad; this he at first hesitated to do, till Amanda (from a secret
motive of her own) joined in the entreaty; and the moment she heard his
voice, she was convinced he was not the person who had been at the
outside of her window. After his complaisance to her, she could not
refuse him one song. The melodious sounds sunk into his heart; he seemed
fascinated to the spot, nor thought of moving till the nurse gave him a
hint for that purpose, being afraid of Amanda sitting up too late.

He sighed as he entered his humble dwelling; it was perhaps the first
sigh he had ever heaved for the narrowness of his fortune. "Yet," cried
he, casting his eyes around, "in this abode, low and humble as it is, a
soul like Amanda's might enjoy felicity."

The purpose for which Lord Mortimer sent him to the cottage, and Lord
Mortimer himself, were forgotten. His lordship had engaged Howel to sup
with him after the performance of his embassy, and impatiently awaited
his arrival: he felt displeased, as the hours wore away without bringing
him; and, unable at last to restrain the impetuosity of his feelings,
proceeded to the parsonage; which he entered a few minutes after Howel.
He asked, with no great complacency, the reason he had not fulfilled his
engagement. Absorbed in one idea, Howel felt confused, agitated, and
unable to frame any excuse; he therefore simply said, what in reality
was true, "that he had utterly forgotten it."

"I suppose, then," exclaimed Lord Mortimer, in a ruffled voice, "you
have been very agreeably entertained?"

"Delightfully," said Howel.

Lord Mortimer grew more displeased, but his anger was now levelled
against himself as well as Howel. He repented and regretted the folly
which had thrown Howel in the way of such temptation, and had perhaps
raised a rival to himself.

"Well," cried he, after a few hasty paces about the room, "and pray,
what do you know about Miss Dunford?"

"About her!" repeated Howel, as if starting from a reverie;
"why--nothing."

"Nothing!" re-echoed his lordship.

"No," replied Howel, "except that she is an angel."

Lord Mortimer was now thoroughly convinced all was over with the poor
parson; and resolved, in consequence of this conviction, to lose no time
himself. He could not depart without inquiring how the evening had been
spent, and envied Howel the happy minutes he had so eloquently
described.



CHAPTER VI.

                   "--------Hither turn
   Thy graceful footsteps; hither, gentle maid,
   Incline thy polished forehead. Let thy eyes
   Effuse the mildness of their azure dawn;
   And may the fanning breezes waft aside
   Thy radiant locks, disclosing, as it bends
   With airy softness from the marble neck,
   The cheek fair-blooming, and the rosy lip,
   Where winning smiles, and pleasure sweet as love
   With sanctity and wisdom, tempering blend
   Their soft allurements."--AKENSIDE.


While Amanda was at breakfast the next morning, Betsey brought a letter
to her; expecting to hear from her father, she eagerly opened it, and,
to her great surprise, perused the following lines:--

    TO MISS DUNFORD.

    Lord Mortimer begs leave to assure Miss Dunford he shall remain
    dissatisfied with himself till he has an opportunity of
    personally apologizing for his intrusion yesterday. If the
    sweetness of her disposition fulfils the promise her face has
    given of it, he flatters himself his pardon will speedily be
    accorded: yet never shall he think himself entirely forgiven, if
    her visits to the library are discontinued. Happy and honored
    shall Lord Mortimer consider himself, if Tudor Hall contains
    anything which can amuse or merit the attention of Miss Dunford.

    July 17th.

"From Lord Mortimer!" said Amanda, with involuntary emotion. "Well, this
really has astonished me." "Oh Lort, my tear!" cried the nurse in
rapture.

Amanda waved her hand to silence her, as the servant stood in the
outside room. She called Betsey: "Tell the servant," said she----

"Lort!" cried the nurse softly, and twitching her sleeve, "write his
lortship a little pit of a note, just to let him see what a pretty
scribe you are."

Amanda could not refrain smiling; but disengaging herself from the good
woman, she arose, and going to the servant, desired him to tell his
lord, she thanked him for his polite attention; but that in future it
would not be in her power to go to the library. When she returned to the
room, the nurse bitterly lamented her not writing. "Great matters," she
said, "had often arisen from small beginnings." She could not conceive
why his lortship should be treated in such a manner: it was not the way
she had ever served her Edwin. Lort, she remembered if she got but the
scrawl of a pen from him, she used to sit up to answer it. Amanda tried
to persuade her it was neither necessary or proper for her to write. An
hour passed in arguments between them, when two servants came from Tudor
Hall to the cottage with a small bookcase, which they sent in to Amanda,
and their lord's compliments, that in a few minutes he would have the
honor of paying his respects to her.

Amanda felt agitated by this message; but it was the agitation of
involuntary pleasure. Her room was always perfectly neat, yet did the
nurse and her two daughters now busy themselves with trying, if
possible, to put it into nicer order: the garden was ransacked for the
choicest flowers to ornament it; nor would they depart till they saw
Lord Mortimer approaching. Amanda, who had opened the bookcase, then
snatched up a book, to avoid the appearance of sitting in expectation of
his coming.

He entered with an air at once easy and respectful, and taking her hand,
besought forgiveness for his intrusion the preceding day. Amanda
blushed, and faltered out something of the confusion she had
experienced from being so surprised; he reseated her, and drawing a
chair close to hers, said he had taken the liberty of sending her a few
books to amuse her, till she again condescended to visit the library,
which he entreated her to do; promising that, if she pleased, both it
and the music-room should be sacred to her alone. She thanked him for
his politeness; but declared she must be excused from going. Lord
Mortimer regarded her with a degree of tender admiration; an admiration
heightened by the contrast he drew in his mind between her and the
generality of fashionable women he had seen, whom he often secretly
censured for sacrificing too largely at the shrine of art and fashion.
The pale and varied blush which mantled the cheek of Amanda at once
announced itself to be an involuntary suffusion; and her dress was only
remarkable for its simplicity; she wore a plain robe of dimity, and an
abbey cap of thin muslin, that shaded, without concealing, her face, and
gave to it the soft expression of a Madonna; her beautiful hair fell in
long ringlets down her back, and curled upon her forehead.

"Good heaven!" cried Mortimer, "how has your idea dwelt upon my mind
since last night: if in the morning I was charmed, in the evening I was
enraptured. Your looks, your attitude, were then beyond all that
imagination could conceive of loveliness and grace; you appeared as a
being on another world mourning over a kindred spirit. I felt

  "Awe-struck, and as I passed, I worshipped."

Confused by the energy of his words, and the ardent glances he directed
towards her, Amanda, scarcely knowing what she did, turned over the
leaves of the book she still held in her hand; in doing so, she saw
written on the title-page, the Earl of Cherbury. "Cherbury?" repeated
she, in astonishment.

"Do you know him?" asked Lord Mortimer.

"Not personally; but I revere, I esteem him; he is one of the best, the
truest friends, my father ever had."

"Oh, how happy," exclaimed Lord Mortimer, "would his son be, were he
capable of inspiring you with such sentiments as you avow for him."

"His son!" repeated Amanda, in a tone of surprise, and looking at Lord
Mortimer.

"Yes," replied he. "Is it then possible," he continued, "that you are
really ignorant of his being my father?"

Surprise kept her silent a few minutes; for her father had never given
her any account of the earl's family, till about the period he thought
of applying to him; and her mind was so distracted at that time on his
own account, that she scarcely understood a word he uttered. In the
country she had never heard Lord Cherbury mentioned; for Tudor Hall
belonged not to him, but to Lord Mortimer, to whom an uncle had
bequeathed it.

"I thought, indeed, my lord," said Amanda, as soon as she recovered her
voice, "that your lordship's title was familiar to me; though why, from
the hurry and perplexity in which particular circumstances involved me,
I could not tell."

"Oh, suffer," cried Lord Mortimer, with one of his most insinuating
smiles, "the friendship which our parents feel to be continued to their
children; let this," taking her soft hand, and pressing his lips to it,
"be the pledge of amity between us." He now inquired when the intimacy
between her father and his had commenced, and where the former was. But
from those inquiries Amanda shrunk. She reflected, that, without her
father's permission, she had no right to answer them; and that, in a
situation like his and hers, too much caution could not be observed.
Besides, both pride and delicacy made her solicitous at present to
conceal her father's real situation from Lord Mortimer: she could not
bear to think it should be known his sole dependence was on Lord
Cherbury, uncertain as it was, whether that nobleman would ever answer
his expectations. She repented having ever dropped a hint of the
intimacy subsisting between them, which surprise alone had made her do,
and tried to waive the subject. In this design Lord Mortimer assisted
her; for he had too much penetration not instantly to perceive it
confused and distressed her. He requested permission to renew his visit,
but Amanda, though well inclined to grant his request, yielded to
prudence instead of inclination, and begged he would excuse her; the
seeming disparity (she could not help saying) in their situations, would
render it very imprudent in her to receive such visits; she blushed,
half sighed, and bent her eyes to the ground as she spoke. Lord Mortimer
continued to entreat, but she was steady in refusing; he would not
depart, however, till he had obtained permission to attend her in the
evening to a part of Tudor Grove which she had never yet seen, and he
described as particularly beautiful. He wanted to call for her at the
appointed hour, but she would not suffer this, and he was compelled to
be contented with leave to meet her near the cottage when it came.

With a beating heart she kept her appointment, and found his lordship
not many yards distant from the cottage, impatiently waiting her
approach. A brighter bloom than usual glowed upon her cheek as she
listened to his ardent expressions of admiration; yet not to such
expressions, which would soon have sated an ear of delicacy like
Amanda's, did Lord Mortimer confine himself; he conversed on various
subjects; and the eloquence of his language, the liveliness of his
imagination, and the justness of his remarks, equally amused and
interested his fair companion. There was, indeed, in the disposition and
manners of Lord Mortimer that happy mixture of animation and softness
which at once amuses the fancy and attracts the heart; and never had
Amanda experienced such minutes as she now passed with him, so
delightful in their progress, so rapid in their course. On entering the
walk he had mentioned to her, she saw he had not exaggerated its
beauties. After passing through many long and shaded alleys, they came
to a smooth green lawn, about which the trees rose in the form of an
amphitheatre, and their dark, luxuriant, and checkered shades proclaimed
that amongst them

  "The rude axe, with heaved stroke,
   Was never heard, the nymphs to daunt,
   Or fright them from their hallowed haunt."--MILTON

The lawn gently sloped to a winding stream, so clear as perfectly to
reflect the beautiful scenery of heaven, now glowing with the gold and
purple of the setting sun; from the opposite bank of the stream rose a
stupendous mountain, diversified with little verdant hills and dales,
and skirted with a wild shrubbery, whose blossoms perfumed the air with
the most balmy fragrance. Lord Mortimer prevailed on Amanda to sit down
upon a rustic bench, beneath the spreading branches of an oak,
enwreathed with ivy; here they had not sat long, ere the silence, which
reigned around, was suddenly interrupted by strains, at once low,
solemn, and melodious, that seemed to creep along the water, till they
had reached the place where they sat; and then, as if a Naiad of the
stream had left her rushy couch to do them homage, they swelled by
degrees into full melody, which the mountain echoes alternately revived
and heightened. It appeared like enchantment to Amanda; and her eyes,
turned to Lord Mortimer, seemed to say, it was to his magic it was
owing. After enjoying her surprise some minutes, he acknowledged the
music proceeded from two servants of his, who played on the clarinet and
French horn, and were stationed in a dell of the opposite mountain.
Notwithstanding all her former thoughts to the contrary, Amanda now
conceived a strong suspicion that Lord Mortimer was really the person
who had serenaded her; that she conceived pleasure from the idea, is
scarcely necessary to say; she had reason soon to find she was not
mistaken. Lord Mortimer solicited her for the Lady's song in Comus,
saying the present situation was peculiarly adapted to it; on her
hesitating, he told her she had no plea to offer for not complying, as
he himself had heard her enchanting powers in it. Amanda started, and
eagerly inquired when or by what means. It was too late for his lordship
to recede; and he not only confessed his concealment near the
music-room, but his visit to her window. A soft confusion, intermingled
with pleasure, pervaded the soul of Amanda at this confession: and it
was some time ere she was sufficiently composed to comply with Lord
Mortimer's solicitations for her to sing; she at last allowed him to
lead her to the centre of a little rustic bridge thrown over the stream,
from whence her voice could be sufficiently distinguished for the music
to keep time to it, as Lord Mortimer had directed. Her plaintive and
harmonious invocation, answered by the low breathing of the clarinet,
which appeared like the softest echo of the mountain, had the finest
effect imaginable, and "took the imprisoned soul, and wrapped it in
Elysium."

Lord Mortimer, for the first time in his life, found himself at a loss
to express what he felt: he conducted her back to the seat, where, to
her astonishment, she beheld fruits, ices, and creams, laid out, as if
by the hand of magic, for no mortal appeared near the spot. Dusky
twilight now warned her to return home; but Lord Mortimer would not
suffer her to depart till she had partaken of this collation.

He was not by any means satisfied with the idea of only beholding her
for an hour or two of an evening; and when they came near the cottage,
desired to know whether it was to chance alone he was in future to be
indebted for seeing her. Again he entreated permission to visit her
sometimes of a morning, promising he would never disturb her avocations,
but would be satisfied merely to sit and read to her, whenever she chose
to work, and felt herself inclined for that amusement: Amanda's refusals
grew fainter; and at last she said, on the above-mentioned conditions,
he might sometimes come. That he availed himself of this permission, is
scarcely necessary to say; and from this time few hours passed without
their seeing each other.

The cold reserve of Amanda by degrees wore away; from her knowledge of
his family she considered him as more than a new or common acquaintance.
The emotions she felt for him, she thought sanctioned by that knowledge,
and the gratitude she felt for Lord Cherbury for his former conduct to
her father, which claimed, she thought, her respect and esteem for so
near and valuable a connection of his; the worth, too, she could not
avoid acknowledging to herself, of Lord Mortimer, would, of itself
alone, have authorized them. Her heart felt he was one of the most
amiable, most pleasing of men; she could scarcely disguise, in any
degree, the lively pleasure she experienced in his society; nay, she
scarcely thought it necessary to disguise it, for it resulted as much
from innocence as sensibility, and was placed to the account of
friendship. But Lord Mortimer was too penetrating not soon to perceive
he might ascribe it to a softer impulse; with the most delicate
attention, the most tender regard, he daily, nay, hourly, insinuated
himself into her heart, and secured for himself an interest in it, ere
she was aware, which the efforts of subsequent resolution could not
overcome. He was the companion of her rambles, the alleviator of her
griefs; the care which so often saddened her brow always vanished at his
presence, and in conversing with him she forgot every cause of sorrow.

He once or twice delicately hinted at those circumstances which at his
first visit she had mentioned, as sufficiently distressing to bewilder
her recollection. Amanda, with blushes, always shrunk from the subject,
sickening at the idea of his knowing that her father depended on his for
future support. If he ever addressed her seriously on the subject of the
regard he professed for her (which, from his attentions, she could not
help sometimes flattering herself would be the case), then, indeed,
there would be no longer room for concealment; but, except such a
circumstance took place, she could not bring herself to make any
humiliating discovery.

Tudor Grove was the favorite scene of their rambles; sometimes she
allowed him to lead her to the music-room; but as these visits were not
frequent, a lute was brought from it to the cottage, and in the recess
in the garden she often sung and played for the enraptured Mortimer;
there, too, he frequently read for her, always selecting some elegant
and pathetic piece of poetry, to which the harmony of his voice gave
additional charms; a voice, which sunk into the heart of Amanda, and
interested her sensibility even more than the subject he perused.

Often straying to the valley's verge, as they contemplated the lovely
prospect around, only bounded by distant and stupendous mountains, Lord
Mortimer, in strains of eloquence would describe the beautiful scenes
and extensive landscapes beyond them; and, whenever Amanda expressed a
wish (as she sometimes would from thoughtless innocence) of viewing
them, he would softly sigh, and wish he was to be her guide to them; as
to point out beauties to a refined and cultivated mind like hers, would
be to him the greatest pleasure he could possibly experience. Seated
sometimes on the brow of a shrubby hill, as they viewed the scattered
hamlets beneath, he would expatiate on the pleasure he conceived there
must be in passing a tranquil life with one lovely and beloved object:
his insidious eyes, turned towards Amanda, at these minutes, seemed to
say, she was the being who could realize all the ideas he entertained of
such a life; and when he asked her opinion of his sentiments, her
disordered blushes, and faltering accents, too plainly betrayed her
conscious feelings. Every delicacy which Tudor Hall contained, was daily
sent to the cottage, notwithstanding Amanda's prohibition to the
contrary; and sometimes Lord Mortimer was permitted to dine with her in
the recess. Three weeks spent in this familiar manner, endeared and
attached them to each other more than months would have done, passed in
situations liable to interruption.



CHAPTER VII.

   "------------------She alone
   Heard, felt, and seen, possesses every thought,
   Fills every sense, and pants in every vein.
   Books are but formal dulness, tedious friends,
   And sad amid the social band he sits,
   Lonely and unattentive. From his tongue
   The unfinished period falls, while, bore away
   On swelling thoughts his wafted spirit flies
   To the vain bosom of his distant fair."--THOMSON.


Howel was no stranger to the manner in which hours rolled away at the
cottage; he hovered round it, and seized every interval of Lord
Mortimer's absence to present himself before Amanda; his emotions
betrayed his feelings, and Amanda effected reserve towards him, in hopes
of suppressing his passion; a passion, she now began to think, when
hopeless, must be dreadful.

Howel was a prey to melancholy; but not for himself alone did he mourn;
fears for the safety and happiness of Amanda added to his dejection; he
dreaded that Lord Mortimer, perhaps, like too many of the fashionable
men, might make no scruple of availing himself of any advantage which
could be derived from a predilection in his favor.

He knew him, it is true, to be amiable; but in opposition to that, he
knew him to be volatile, and sometimes wild, and trembled for the
unsuspecting credulity of Amanda. "Though lost to me," exclaimed the
unhappy young man, "oh never, sweetest Amanda, mayest thou be lost to
thyself!"

He had received many proofs of esteem and friendship from Lord Mortimer;
he therefore studied how he might admonish without offending, and save
Amanda without injuring himself. It at last occurred to him that the
pulpit would be the surest way of effecting his wishes, where the
subject, addressed to all, might particularly strike one for whom it was
intended, without appearing as if designed for that purpose; and timely
convince him, if, indeed, he meditated any injurious design against
Amanda, of its flagrance.

On the following Sunday, as he expected, Lord Mortimer and Amanda
attended service; his lordship's pew was opposite the one she sat in,
and we fear his eyes too often wondered in that direction.

The youthful monitor at last ascended the pulpit; his text was from
Jeremiah, and to the following effect:--

    "She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks;
    among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her; all her
    friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her
    enemies."

After a slight introduction, in which he regretted that the declension
of moral principles demanded such an exhortation as he was about to
give, he commenced his subject; he described a young female, adorned
with beauty and innocence, walking forward in the path of integrity,
which a virtuous education had early marked for her to take, and
rejoicing as she went with all around her; when, in the midst of
happiness, unexpected calamity suddenly surprised and precipitated her
from prosperity into the deepest distress: he described the benefits she
derived in this trying period from early implanted virtue and religion;
taught by them (he proceeded) the lovely mourner turns not to the world
for consolation--no, she looks up to her Creator for comfort, whose
supporting aid is so particularly promised to afflicted worth. Cheered
by them, she is able to exert her little talents of genius and taste,
and draw upon industry for her future support; her active virtues, he
thinks the best proof of submission she can give to the will of Heaven;
and in the laudable exertions she finds a conscious peace, which the
mere possession of fortune could never bestow. While thus employed, a
son of perfidy sees and marks her for his prey, because she is at once
lovely and helpless: her unsuspecting credulity lays her open to his
arts, and his blandishments by degrees allure her heart. The snare which
he has spread at last involves her; with the inconstancy of libertinism
he soon deserts her; and again is she plunged into distress. But mark
the difference of her first and second fall: conscience no longer lends
its opposing aid to stem her sorrow, despair instead of hope arises;
without one friend to soothe the pangs of death, one pitying soul to
whisper peace to her departing spirit; insulted, too, perhaps, by some
unfeeling being, whom want of similar temptations alone, perhaps, saved
from similar imprudences, she sinks an early victim to wretchedness.

Howel paused; the fulness of his heart mounted to his eyes, which
involuntarily turned and rested upon Amanda. Interested by his simple
and pathetic eloquence, she had risen, and leaned over the pew, her head
resting on her hand, and her eyes fastened on his face. Lord Mortimer
had also risen, and alternately gazed upon Howel and Amanda,
particularly watching the latter, to see how the subject would affect
her. He at last saw the tears trickling down her cheeks: the distresses
of her own situation, and the stratagems of Belgrave, made her, in some
respect, perceive a resemblance between herself and the picture Howel
had drawn. Lord Mortimer was unutterably affected by her tears, a faint
sickness seized him, he sunk upon the seat, and covered his face with
his handkerchief, to hide his emotion; but by the time service was over
it was pretty well dissipated: Amanda returned home, and his lordship
waited for Howel's coming out of church. "What the devil, Howel," said
he, "did you mean by giving us such an exhortation? Have you discovered
any affair going on between any of your rustic neighbors?" The parson
colored, but remained silent; Lord Mortimer rallied him a little more,
and then departed; but his gayety was only assumed.

On his first acquaintance with Amanda, in consequence of what he heard
from Mrs. Abergwilly, and observed himself, he had been tempted to think
she was involved in mystery: and what, but impropriety, he thought,
could occasion mystery. To see so young, so lovely, so elegant a
creature an inmate of a sequestered cottage, associating with people (in
manners at least) so infinitely beneath her; to see her trembling and
blushing, if a word was dropped that seemed tending to inquire into her
motives for retirement; all these circumstances, I say, considered,
naturally excited a suspicion injurious to her in the mind of Lord
Mortimer; and he was tempted to think some deviation from prudence had,
by depriving her of the favor of her friends, made her retire to
obscurity; and that she would not dislike an opportunity of emerging
from it, he could not help thinking. In consequence of these ideas, he
could not think himself very culpable in encouraging the wishes her
loveliness gave rise to; besides, he had some reason to suspect she
desired to inspire him with these wishes; for Mrs. Abergwilly told him
she had informed Mrs. Edwin of his arrival; an information he could not
doubt her having immediately communicated to Amanda; therefore her
continuing to come to the hall seemed as if she wished to throw herself
in his way. Mrs. Edwin had indeed been told of his arrival, but
concealed it from Amanda, that she should not be disappointed of going
to the hall, which she knew, if once informed of it, she would not go
to.

'Tis true, Lord Mortimer saw Amanda wore (at least) the semblance of
innocence: but this could not remove his suspicions, so often had he
seen it assumed to hide the artful stratagems of a depraved heart.

Ah! why will the lovely female, adorned with all that heaven and earth
can bestow to render her amiable, overleap the modesty of nature, and by
levity and boldness lose all pretensions to the esteem which would
otherwise be an involuntary tribute.

Nor is it herself alone she injures; she hurts each child of purity,
helps to point the sting of ridicule, and weave the web of art.

We shun the blazing sun, but court his tempered beams; the rose, which
glares upon the day, is never so much sought as the bud enwrapt in the
foliage; and, to use the expression of a late much-admired author, "The
retiring graces have ever been reckoned the most beautiful."

He had never heard the earl mention a person of the name of Dunford; and
he knew not, or rather suspected, little credit was to be given to her
assertion of an intimacy between them, particularly as he saw her,
whenever the subject was mentioned, shrinking from it in the greatest
confusion.

Her reserve he imputed to pretence; and flattering himself it would soon
wear off, determined for the present at least to humor her affectation.

With such ideas, such sentiments, had Lord Mortimer's first visits to
Amanda commenced: but they experienced an immediate change as the
decreasing reserve of her manners gave him greater and more frequent
opportunities of discovering her mental perfections; the strength of her
understanding, the justness of her remarks, the liveliness of her fancy,
above all, the purity which mingled in every sentiment, and the modesty
which accompanied every word, filled him with delight and amazement; his
doubts gradually lessened, and at last vanished, and with them every
design, which they alone had ever given rise to. Esteem was now united
to love, and real respect to admiration: in her society he only was
happy, and thought not, or rather would not suffer himself to think, on
the consequences of such an attachment. It might be said, he was
entranced in pleasure, from which Howel completely roused him, and made
him seriously ask his heart, what were his intentions relative to
Amanda. Of such views as he perceived Howel suspected him of harboring,
his conscience entirely acquitted him; yet so great were the obstacles
he knew in the way of an union between him and Amanda, that he almost
regretted (as every one does, who acts against their better judgment,)
that he had not fled at the first intimation of his danger. So truly
formidable indeed did these obstacles appear, that he at times resolved
to break with Amanda, if he could fix upon any plan for doing so,
without injuring his honor, after the great attention he had paid her.

Ere he came to any final determination, however, he resolved to try and
discover her real situation: if he even left her, it would be a
satisfaction to his heart to know whether his friendship could be
serviceable: and if an opposite measure was his plan, it could never be
put in execution without the desired information. He accordingly wrote
to his sister, Lady Araminta Dormer, who was then in the country with
Lord Cherbury, requesting she would inquire from his father whether he
knew a person of the name of Dunford; and if he did, what his situation
and family were. Lord Mortimer begged her ladyship not to mention the
inquiries being dictated by him, and promised at some future period to
explain the reason of them. He still continued his assiduities to
Amanda, and at the expected time received an answer to his letter; but
how was he shocked and alarmed, when informed, Lord Cherbury never knew
a person of the name of Dunford! His doubts began to revive; but before
he yielded entirely to them, he resolved to go to Amanda, and inquire
from her, in the most explicit terms, how, and at what time, her father
and the Earl had become acquainted; determined, if she answered him
without embarrassment, to mention to his sister whatever circumstances
she related, lest a forgetfulness of them alone had made the Earl deny
his knowledge of Dunford. Just as he was quitting the grove with this
intent, he espied Edwin and his wife coming down a cross-road from the
village, where they had been with poultry and vegetables. It instantly
occurred to him that these people, in the simplicity of their hearts,
might unfold the real situation of Amanda, and save him the painful
necessity of making inquiries, which she, perhaps, would not answer,
without his real motives for making them were assigned, which was what
he could not think of doing.

Instead, therefore, of proceeding, he stopped till they came up to him,
and then with the most engaging affability addressed them, inquiring
whether they had been successful in the disposal of their goods. They
answered bowing and curtseying, and he then insisted that, as they
appeared tired, they should repair to the hall, and rest themselves.
This was too great an honor to be refused; and they followed their noble
conductor, who hastened forward to order refreshment into a parlor for
them. The nurse, who in her own way was a cunning woman, instantly
suspected, from the great and uncommon attention of Lord Mortimer, that
he wanted to inquire into the situation of Amanda. As soon as she saw
him at some distance, "David," cried she, "as sure as eggs are eggs,"
(unpinning her white apron, and smoothing it nicely down as she spoke,)
"this young lort wants to have our company, that he may find out
something apout Miss Amanda. Ah, pless her pretty face, I thought how it
would be; but we must be as cunning as foxes, and not tell too much nor
too little, because if we told too much it would offend her, and she
would ask us how we got all our intelligence, and would not think us
over and above genteel, when she heard we had sifted Jemmy Hawthorn for
it, when he came down from London with her. All we must do is just to
drop some hints, as it were, of her situation, and then his lortship, to
be sure, will make his advantage of them, and ask her everything apout
herself, and then she will tell him of her own accord: so, David, mind
what you say, I charge you." "Ay, ay," cried David, "leave me alone;
I'll warrant you you'll always find an old soldier 'cute enough for
anypoty."

When they reached the hall, they were shown into a parlor, where Lord
Mortimer was expecting them: with difficulty he made them sit down at
the table, where meat and wine were laid out for them. After they had
partaken of them, Lord Mortimer began with asking Edwin some questions
about his farm (for he was a tenant on the Tudor estate), and whether
there was anything wanting to render it more comfortable. "No," Edwin
replied, with a low bow, thanking his honorable lordship for his
inquiry. Lord Mortimer spoke of his family. "Ay, Cot pless the poor
things," Edwin said, "they were, to be sure, a fine thriving set of
children." Still Lord Mortimer had not touched on the subject nearest
his heart. He felt embarrassed and agitated. At last, with as much
composure as he could assume, he asked how long they imagined Miss
Dunford would stay with them. Now was the nurse's time to speak. She had
hitherto sat simpering and bowing. "That depended on circumstances," she
said. "Poor tear young laty, though their little cottage was so obscure,
and so unlike anything she had before been accustomed to, she made
herself quite happy with it." "Her father must miss her society very
much," exclaimed Lord Mortimer. "Tear heart, to be sure he does," cried
nurse. "Well, strange things happen every tay; but still I never thought
what did happen would have happened, to make the poor old gentleman and
his daughter part." "What happened?" exclaimed Lord Mortimer, starting
and suddenly stopping in the middle of the room, for hitherto he had
been walking backwards and forwards. "'Twas not her business," the nurse
replied, "by no manner of means, to be speaking about the affairs of her
petters; put for all that she could not help saying, because, she
thought it a pity his lortship, who was so good and so affable, should
remain in ignorance of everything; that Miss Amanda was not what she
appeared to be; no, if the truth was told, not the person she passed for
at all; but, Lort, she would never forgive me," cried the nurse, "if
your lortship told her it was from me your lortship heard this. Poor
tear thing, she is very unwilling to have her situation known, though
she is not the first poty who has met with a pad man; and shame and
sorrow be upon him who tistrest herself and her father."

Lord Mortimer had heard enough: every doubt, every suspicion was
realized; and he was equally unable and unwilling to inquire further. It
was plain Amanda was unworthy of his esteem; and to inquire into the
circumstances which occasioned that unworthiness, would only have
tortured him. He rung the bell abruptly, and ordering Mrs. Abergwilly
to attend the Edwins, withdrew immediately to another room. Now there
was an opportunity for Lord Mortimer to break with Amanda, without the
smallest imputation on his honor. Did it give him pleasure? No: it
filled him with sorrow, disappointment, and anguish: the softness of her
manners, even more than the beauty of her person, had fascinated his
soul, and made him determine, if he found her worthy (of which indeed he
had then but little doubt) to cease not, till every obstacle which could
impede their union should be overcome. He was inspired with indignation
at the idea of the snare he imagined she had spread for him; thinking
her modesty all a pretext to draw him into making honorable proposals.
As she sunk in his esteem, her charms lessened in his fancy; and he
thought it would be a proper punishment for her, and a noble triumph
over himself, if he conquered, or at least resisted his passion, and
forsook her entirely. Full of this idea, and influenced by resentment
for her supposed deceit, he resolved, without longer delay, to fulfil
the purpose which had brought him into Wales, namely, visiting his
friend; but how frail is resolution and resentment when opposed to
tenderness! Without suffering himself to believe there was the least
abatement of either in his mind, he forbid the carriage, in a few
minutes after he had ordered it, merely, he persuaded himself, for the
purpose of yet more severely mortifying Amanda: as his continuing a
little longer in the neighborhood, without noticing her, might, perhaps,
convince her, she was not quite so fascinating as she believed herself
to be. From the time his residence at Tudor Hall was known, he had
received constant invitations from the surrounding families, which, on
Amanda's account, he uniformly declined. This he resolved should no
longer be the case: some, were yet unanswered, and these he meant to
accept, as means indeed of keeping him steady in his resolution of not
seeing her, and banishing her in some degree from his thoughts. But he
could not have fixed on worse methods than these for effecting either of
his purposes: the society he now mixed among was so different from that
he had lately been accustomed to, that he was continually employed in
drawing comparisons between them. He grew restless; his unhappiness
increased; and he at last felt, that if he desired to experience any
comfort, he must no longer absent himself from Amanda; and also that, if
she refused to accede to the only proposals now in his power to make
her, he would be miserable; so essential did he deem her society to his
happiness; so much was he attached from the softness and sweetness of
her manners. At the time he finally determined to see her again, he was
in a large party at a Welsh baronet's where he had dined; and on the
rack of impatience to put his determination in practice, he retired
early, and took the road to the cottage.

Poor Amanda, during this time, was a prey to disquietude: the first day
of Lord Mortimer's absence, she felt a little uneasiness, but strove to
dissipate it, by thinking business had detained him. The next morning
she remained entirely at home, every moment expecting to behold him; but
this expectation was totally destroyed, when from the outside room she
heard one of the nurse's sons tell of all the company he had met going
to Sir Lewis ap Shenkin's, and amongst the rest Lord Mortimer, whose
servants had told him, the day before their lord dined at Mr. Jones's,
where there was a deal of company, and a grand ball in the evening.
Amanda's heart almost died within her at these words; pleasure then, not
business, had prevented Lord Mortimer from coming to her; these
amusements which he had so often declared were tasteless to him, from
the superior delight he experienced in her society. Either he was
insincere in such expressions, or had now grown indifferent. She
condemned herself for ever having permitted his visits, or received his
assiduities; she reproached him for ever having paid those assiduities,
knowing, as he must, the insincerity or inconstancy of his nature. In
spite of wounded pride, tears of sorrow and disappointment burst from
her; and her only consolation was, that no one observed her. Her hours
passed heavily away; she could not attend to anything; and in the
evening walked out to indulge, in a lonely ramble, the dejection of her
heart: she turned from Tudor Hall, and took (without knowing it indeed)
the very road which led to the house where Lord Mortimer had dined. With
slow and pensive steps she pursued her way, regardless of all around
her, till an approaching footstep made her raise her eyes, and she
beheld, with equal surprise and confusion, the very object who was then
employing her thoughts. Obeying the impulse of pride, she hastily turned
away; till, recollecting that her precipitately avoiding him would at
once betray her sentiments, she paused to listen to his passionate
inquiries after her health; having answered them with involuntary
coldness, she again moved on; but her progress was soon stopped by Lord
Mortimer; snatching her hand, he insisted on knowing why she appeared so
desirous to avoid him. Amanda made no reply to this, but desired he
would let her go. "Never," he exclaimed, "till you wear another face to
me. Oh! did you know the pain I have suffered since last we met, you
would from pity, I am sure, treat me with less coldness." Amanda's heart
throbbed with sudden pleasure; but she soon silenced its emotion, by
reflecting that a declaration of uneasiness, at the very time he was
entering into gayety, had something too inconsistent in it to merit
credit. Hurt by supposing he wanted to impose on her, she made yet more
violent efforts to disengage her hand; but Lord Mortimer held it too
firmly for her to be successful; he saw she was offended, and it gave
him flattering ideas of the estimation in which he stood with her, since
to resent his neglect was the most convincing proof he could receive of
the value she set upon his attention. Without hurting her feelings by a
hint, that he believed the alteration in her manner occasioned his
absence, in indirect terms he apologized for it, saying what indeed was
partly true, that a letter lately received had so ruffled his mind he
was quite unfit for her society, and had therefore availed himself of
those hours of chagrin and uneasiness to accept invitations, which at
some time or other he must have done, to avoid giving offence; and by
acting as he had done, he reserved the precious moments of returning
tranquillity for her he adored. Ah! how readily do we receive any
apology, do we admit of any excuse, that comes from a beloved object!
Amanda felt as if a weight was suddenly removed from her heart; her eyes
were no longer bent to the earth, her cheek no longer pale; and a smile,
the smile of innocence and love, enlivened all her features. She seemed
suddenly to forget her hand was detained by Lord Mortimer, for no longer
did she attempt to free it; she suffered him gently to draw it within
his, and lead her to the favorite haunt in Tudor Grove.

Pleased, yet blushing and confused, she heard Lord Mortimer, with more
energy than he had ever yet expressed himself with, declare the pain he
suffered the days he saw her not. From his ardent, his passionate
expressions, what could the innocent Amanda infer, but that he intended,
by uniting his destiny to hers, to secure to himself a society he so
highly valued; what could she infer, but that he meant immediately to
speak in explicit terms? The idea was too pleasing to be received in
tranquillity, and her whole soul felt agitated. While they pursued their
way through Tudor Grove, the sky, which had been lowering the whole day,
became suddenly more darkened, and by its increasing gloom foretold an
approaching storm. Lord Mortimer no longer opposed Amanda's returning
home; but scarcely had they turned for that purpose, ere the vivid
lightning flashed across their path, and the thunder awfully
reverberated amongst the hills. The hall was much nearer than the
cottage, and Lord Mortimer, throwing his arm round Amanda's waist,
hurried her to it; but ere they reached the library, whose door was the
first they came to, the rain began pouring with violence. Lord Mortimer
snatched off Amanda's wet hat and cloak; the rest of her clothes were
quite dry; and immediately ordered tea and coffee, as she refused any
other refreshments: he dismissed the attendants, that he might, without
observation or restraint, enjoy her society. As she presided at the
tea-table, his eyes, with the fondest rapture, were fastened on her
face, which never had appeared more lovely; exercise had heightened the
pale tint of her cheek, over which her glossy hair curled in beautiful
disorder; the unusual glow gave a greater radiance to her eyes, whose
soft confusion denoted the pleasure she experienced from the attention
of Lord Mortimer. He restrained not, he could not restrain, the feelings
of his soul. "Oh, what happiness!" he exclaimed. "No wonder I found all
society tasteless, after having experienced yours. Where could I find
such softness, yet such sensibility; such sweetness, yet such animation;
such beauty, yet such apparent unconsciousness of it? Oh, my Amanda,
smoothly must that life glide on, whose destiny you shall share!"

Amanda endeavored to check these transports, yet secretly they filled
her with delight, for she considered them as the sincere effusions of
honorable love. Present happiness, however, could not render her
forgetful of propriety: by the time tea was over, the evening began to
clear, and she protested she must depart. Lord Mortimer protested
against this for some time longer, and at last brought her to the
window, to convince her there was still a slight rain falling. He
promised to see her home as soon as it was over, and entreated, in the
mean time, she would gratify him with a song. Amanda did not refuse; but
the raptures he expressed, while she sung, she thought too violent, and
rose from the piano when she had concluded, in spite of his entreaties
to the contrary. She insisted on getting her hat and cloak, which had
been sent to Mrs. Abergwilly to dry: Lord Mortimer at last reluctantly
went out to obey her.

Amanda walked to the window: the prospect from it was lovely; the
evening was now perfectly serene; a few light clouds alone floated in
the sky, their lucid skirts tinged with purple rays from the declining
sun; the trees wore a brighter green, and the dewdrop that had
heightened their verdure, yet glittered on their sprays; across a
distant valley was extended a beautiful rainbow, the sacred record of
Heaven's covenant with man. All nature appeared revived and animated;
the birds now warbled their closing lays, and the bleating of the cattle
was heard from the neighboring hills. "Oh! how sweet, how lovely is the
dewy landscape!" exclaimed Amanda, with that delight which scenes of
calm and vernal nature never fail of raising in minds of piety and
tenderness.

"'Tis lovely, indeed!" repeated Lord Mortimer, who returned at the
moment, assuring her the things would be sent in directly. "I admire the
prospect," continued he, "because you gaze upon it with me; were you
absent, like every other charm, it would lose its beauty, and become
tasteless to me. Tell me," cried he, gently encircling her waist, "why
this hurry, why this wish to leave me? Do you expect elsewhere to meet
with a being who will value your society more highly than I do? Do you
expect to meet with a heart more fondly, more firmly attached to you
than mine? Oh, my Amanda, if you do, how mistaken are such
expectations!"

Amanda blushed, and averted her head, unable to speak.

"Ah, why," continued he, pursuing her averted eyes with his, "should we
create uneasiness to ourselves, by again separating?"

Amanda looked up at these words with involuntary surprise in her
countenance. Lord Mortimer understood it: he saw she had hitherto
deluded herself with thinking his intentions towards her very different
from what they really were; to suffer her longer to deceive herself
would, he thought, be cruelty. Straining her to his beating heart, he
imprinted a kiss on her tremulous lips, and softly told her, that the
life, which without her would lose half its charms, should be devoted to
her service; and that his fortune, like his heart, should be in her
possession. Trembling while she struggled to free herself from his arms,
Amanda demanded what he meant: her manner somewhat surprised and
confused him; but recollecting this was the moment for explanation, he,
though with half-averted eyes, declared his hopes--his wishes and
intentions. Surprise--horror--and indignation, for a few minutes
overpowered Amanda; but suddenly recovering her scattered senses, with a
strength greater than she had ever before felt, she burst from him, and
attempted to rush from the room. Lord Mortimer caught hold of her.
"Whither are you going, Amanda?" exclaimed he, affrighted by her
manner.

"From the basest of men," cried she, struggling to disengage herself.

He shut the door, and forced her back to a chair: he was
shocked--amazed--and confounded by her looks: no art could have assumed
such a semblance of sorrow as she now wore; no feelings but those of the
most delicate nature, have expressed such emotion as she now betrayed:
the enlivening bloom of her cheeks was fled, and succeeded by a deadly
paleness; and her soft eyes, robbed of their lustre, were bent to the
ground with the deepest expression of woe. Lord Mortimer began to think
he had mistaken, if not her character, her disposition; and the idea of
having insulted either purity or penitence, was like a dagger to his
heart. "Oh, my love!" he exclaimed, laying his hand on her trembling
one, "what do you mean by departing so abruptly?"

"My meaning, my lord," cried she, rising and shaking his hand from hers,
"is now as obvious as your own--I seek, forever, to quit a man who,
under the appearance of delicate attention, meditated so base a scheme
against me. My credulity may have yielded you amusement, but it has
afforded you no triumph: the tenderness which I know you think, which I
shall not deny your having inspired me with, as it was excited by
imaginary virtues, so it vanished with the illusion which gave it birth;
what then was innocent, would now be guilty. Oh, heavens!" continued
Amanda, clasping her hands together in a sudden agony of tears, "is it
me, the helpless child of sorrow, Lord Mortimer sought as a victim to
illicit love! Is it the son of Lord Cherbury destined such a blow
against the unfortunate Fitzalan?"

Lord Mortimer started. "Fitzalan!" repeated he. "Oh! Amanda, why did you
conceal your real name? And what am I to infer from your having done
so?"

"What you please, my lord," cried she. "The opinion of a person I
despise can be of little consequence to me, yet," continued she, as if
suddenly recollecting herself, "that you have no plea for extenuating
your conduct, know that my name was concealed by the desire of my
father, who, involved in unexpected distress, wished me to adopt
another, till his affairs were settled."

"This concealment has undone me," exclaimed Lord Mortimer: "it has led
me into an error, I shall never cease repenting. Oh! Amanda, deign to
listen to the circumstances which occasioned this error; and you will
then, I am sure, think me at least less culpable than I now appear to
be; you will then, perhaps, allow me to make some atonement."

"No, my lord," cried Amanda, "willingly I will not allow myself to be
deceived: for without deceit, I am convinced you could mention no
circumstance which could possibly palliate your conduct, or what you so
gently term an error. Had I, my lord, by art or coquetry, sought to
attract your notice, your crime would have been palliated; but when you
pursued, I retired; and the knowledge of your being Lord Cherbury's son
first induced me to receive your visits. I suffered their continuance,
because I thought you amiable: sad mistake! Oh! cruel, ungenerous
Mortimer, how have you abused my unsuspecting confidence!"

As she ended these words, she moved towards the door. Awed by her
manner, confounded by her reproaches, tortured by remorse and half
offended at her refusing to hear his vindication, he no longer attempted
to prevent her quitting the apartment; he followed her, however, from
it. "What do you mean, my lord," asked she, "by coming after me?"

"I mean to see you safely home," replied he, in a tone of proud
sullenness.

"And is it Lord Mortimer," cried she, looking steadfastly in his face,
"pretends to see me safe?"

He stamped, struck his hand violently against his forehead, and
exclaimed, "I see--I see--I am despicable in your eyes; but, Amanda, I
cannot endure your reproaches. Pause for a few minutes, and you will
find I am not so deserving of them as you imagine."

She made no reply, but quickened her pace: within a few yards of the
cottage Lord Mortimer caught her, with a distracted air. "Amanda," said
he, "I cannot bear to part with you in this manner: you think me the
veriest villain on earth; you will drive me from your heart; I shall
become abhorrent to you."

"Most assuredly, my lord," replied she, in a solemn voice.

"Cannot compunction then extenuate my error?"

"'Tis not compunction, 'tis regret you feel, for finding your designs
unsuccessful."

"No: by all that is sacred, 'tis remorse for ever having meditated such
an injury. Yet I again repeat, if you listen to me, you will find I am
not so culpable as you believe. Oh! let me beseech you to do so; let me
hope that my life may be devoted to you alone, and that I may thus have
opportunities of apologizing for my conduct. Oh! dearest Amanda,"
kneeling before her, "drive me not from you in the hour of penitence."

"You plead in vain, my lord," cried she, breaking from him.

He started in an agony from the ground, and again seized her. "Is it
thus," he exclaimed, "with such unfeeling coldness I am abandoned by
Amanda? I will leave you, if you only say I am not detested by you; if
you only say the remembrance of the sweet hours we have spent together
will not become hateful to you."

He was pale and trembled; and a tear wet his cheek. Amanda's began to
flow: she averted her head, to hide her emotion; but he had perceived
it. "You weep, my Amanda," said he, "and you feel the influence of
pity!"

"No, no," cried she, in a voice scarcely articulate: "I will
acknowledge," continued she, "I believe you possessed of sensibility;
and an anticipation of the painful feelings it will excite on the
reflection of your conduct to me, now stops my further reproaches. Ah!
my lord, timely profit by mental correction, nor ever again encourage a
passion which virtue cannot sanction or reason justify."

                 "Thus spoke the angel;
   And the grave rebuke, severe in youthful beauty
   Added grace invincible."

Amanda darted from Lord Mortimer; and entering the cottage, hastily
closed the door. Her looks terrified the nurse, who was the only one of
the family up, and who, by means of one of her sons, had discovered that
Amanda had taken refuge from the thunder-storm in Tudor Hall.

Amanda had neither hat nor cloak on; her face was pale as death; her
hair, blown by the wind, and wet from the rain, hung dishevelled about
her; and to the inquiries of her nurse she could only answer by sobs and
tears. "Lack a tay," said the nurse, "what ails my sweet chilt?"

Relieved by tears, Amanda told her nurse she was not very well, and that
she had been reflecting on the great impropriety there was in receiving
Lord Mortimer's visits, whom she begged her nurse, if he came again, not
to admit.

The nurse shook her head, and said she supposed there had been some
quarrel between them; but if Lord Mortimer had done anything to vex her
tear chilt, she would make him pay for it. Amanda charged her never to
address him on such a subject; and having made her promise not to admit
him, she retired to her chamber faint, weary, and distressed. The
indignity offered her by Colonel Belgrave had insulted her purity and
offended her pride, but he had not wounded the softer feelings of her
soul; it was Mortimer alone had power to work them up to agony.

The charm which had soothed her sorrows was fled; and while she glowed
with keen resentment, she wept from disappointed tenderness. "Alas! my
father," she cried, "is this the secure retreat you fondly thought you
had discovered for me! Sad mistake! Less had I to dread from the
audacious front of vice, than the insidious form of virtue: delicacy
shrinking from one, immediately announced the danger; but innocence
inspired confidence in the other; and credulity, instead of suspicion,
occupied the mind. Am I doomed to be the victim of deception--and,
except thy honest tender heart, my father, find every other fraught with
deceit and treachery to me? Alas! if in the early season of youth,
perpetual perfidy makes us relinquish candor and hope, what charms can
the world retain? The soul sickening, recoils within itself, and no
longer startles at dissolution. Belgrave aimed at my peace--but Mortimer
alone had power to pierce 'the vital vulnerable heart.' Oh, Mortimer!
from you alone the blow is severe--you, who, in divine language I may
say were my guide, my companion, and my familiar friend."

Lord Mortimer was now a prey to all the pangs which an ingenuous mind,
oppressed with a consciousness of error, must ever feel: the most
implacable vengeance could not devise a greater punishment for him, than
his own thoughts inflicted; the empire of inordinate passion was
overthrown, and honor and reason regained their full and natural
ascendancy over them. When he reflected on the uniform appearance of
innocence Amanda had always worn, he wondered at his weakness in ever
having doubted its reality--at his audacity, in ever having insulted it;
when he reflected on her melancholy, he shuddered as if having
aggravated it. "Your sorrows, as well as purity, my Amanda," he cried,
"should have rendered you a sacred object to me."

A ray of consolation darted into his mind at the idea of prevailing on
her to listen to the circumstances which had led him into a conduct so
unworthy of her and himself; such an explanation, he trusted, would
regain her love and confidence, and make her accept, what he meant
immediately to offer--his hand: for pride and ambition could raise no
obstacles to oppose this design of reparation; his happiness depended on
its being accepted. Amanda was dearer to him than life, and hope could
sketch no prospect, in which she was not the foremost object. Impetuous
in his passions, the lapse of the hours was insupportably tedious; and
the idea of waiting till the morning to declare his penitence, his
intention, and again implore her forgiveness, filled him with agony; he
went up to the cottage, and laid his hand upon the latch; he hesitated;
even from the rustics he wished to conceal his shame and confusion. All
within and without the cottage was still; the moonbeams seemed to sleep
upon the thatch, and the trees were unagitated by a breeze.

"Happy rustics!" exclaimed Lord Mortimer. "Children of content and
undeviating integrity, sleep presses sweetly on your eyelids. My Amanda
too rests, for she is innocent."

He descended to the valley, and saw a light from her window: he advanced
within a few yards of it, and saw her plainly walk about with an
agitated air--her handkerchief raised to her eyes, as if she wept. His
feelings rose almost to frenzy at this sight, and he execrated himself
for being the occasion of her tears. The village clock struck one: good
heavens! how many hours must intervene ere he could kneel before the
lovely mourner, implore her soft voice to accord his pardon, and (as he
flattered himself would be the case), in the fulness of reconciliation,
press her to his throbbing heart, as the sweet partner of his future
days. The light was at last extinguished; but he could not rest, and
continued to wander about like a perturbed spirit till the day began to
dawn, and he saw some early peasants coming to their labors.



CHAPTER VIII.

  "Oh let me now, into a richer soil,
   Transplant thee safe, where vernal suns and showers
   Diffuse their warmest, largest influence;
   And of my garden be the pride and joy."--THOMSON.


The moment he thought he could see Amanda, Mortimer hastened to the
cottage; the nurse, as she had promised, would not reproach him, though
she strongly suspected his having done something to offend her child;
that her sullen air declared her dissatisfaction. "Miss Fitzalan was too
ill," she said, "to see company;" (for Lord Mortimer had inquired for
Amanda by her real name, detesting the one of Dunford, to which, in a
great degree, he imputed his unfortunate conduct to her.) The nurse
spoke truth in saying Amanda was ill; her agitation was too much for her
frame, and in the morning she felt so feverish she could not rise; she
had not spirits, indeed, to attempt it. Sunk to the lowest ebb of
dejection, she felt solitude alone congenial to her feelings. Hitherto
the morning had been impatiently expected; for, with Mortimer, she
enjoyed its

  "Cool, its fragrant, and its silent hour."

But no Mortimer was now desired. In the evening he made another attempt;
and finding Ellen alone, sent in a supplicatory message by her to
Amanda. She was just risen, and Mrs. Edwin was making tea for her; a
flush of indignation overspread her pale face, on receiving his message.
"Tell him," said she, "I am astonished at his request, and never will
grant it. Let him seek elsewhere a heart more like his own, and trouble
my repose no more."

He heard her words, and in a fit of passion and disappointment flew out
of the house. Howel entered soon after, and heard from Ellen an account
of the quarrel; a secret hope sprung in his heart at this intelligence,
and he desired Ellen to meet him in about half an hour in the valley,
thinking by that time he could dictate some message to send by her to
Amanda.

As the parson had never paid Miss Fitzalan any of those attentions which
strike a vulgar eye, and had often laughed and familiarly chatted with
Ellen, she took it into her head he was an admirer of hers; and if being
the object of Chip's admiration excited the envy of her neighbors, how
much would that increase when the parson's predilection was known? She
set about adorning herself for her appointment; and while thus employed
the honest, faithful Chip entered, attired in his holiday clothes, to
escort her to a little dance. Ellen bridled up at the first intimation
of it; and, delighted with the message Amanda had sent to Lord Mortimer,
which in her opinion was extremely eloquent, she resolved now to imitate
it.

"Timothy," said she, drawing back her head, "your request is the most
improperest that can be conceived, and it is by no means convenient for
me to adhere to it. I tell you, Tim," cried she, waving the corner of
her white apron, for white handkerchief she had not, "I wonder at your
presumptioness in making it; cease your flattering expressions of love,
look out amongst the inferiority for a heart more like your own, and
trouble my pleasure no more."

Chip paused a moment, as if wanting to comprehend her meaning. "The
short and the long of it then, Nell," said he, "is that you and I are to
have nothing more to say to each other."

"True," cried his coquettish mistress.

"Well, well, Nell," said he, half crying, "the time may come when you
will repent having served a true-hearted lad in this manner." So saying,
he ran from the house.

Ellen surveyed herself with great admiration, and expected nothing less
than an immediate offer of the parson's hand. She found him punctual to
his appointment, and after walking some time about the valley, they sat
down together upon a little bank. "Ellen," said he, taking her hand, "do
you think there is any hope for me?"

"Nay, now intead, Mr. Howel," cried she, with affected coyness, "that is
such a strange question."

"But the quarrel, perhaps," said he, "may be made up."

"No, I assure you," replied she, with quickness, "it was entirely on
your account it ever took place."

"Is it possible!" exclaimed he, pleasure sparkling in his eyes; "then I
may re-urge my passion."

"Ah, tear now, Mr. Howel, you are so very pressing."

"Do you think," said he, "she is too ill to see me?"

"Who too ill?"

"Why, Miss Fitzalan." (For, the moment Ellen knew Lord Mortimer was
acquainted with Amanda's name, she thought there was no longer reason
for concealing it from any one, and had informed Howel of it.)

"Miss Fitzalan!" repeated she, staring and changing color.

"Yes, Ellen, the dear, lovely Miss Fitzalan, whom I adore more than
language can express, or imagination conceive."

Adieu to Ellen's airy hopes: her chagrin could not be concealed; and
tears burst from her. The curate tenderly inquired the cause of her
emotion; though vain, she was not artful, and could not disguise it.
"Why, really, you made such speeches, I thought--and then you looked so.
But it is no matter: I pelieve all men are teceitful."

From her tears and disjointed sentences, he began to suspect something,
and his gentle mind was hurt at the idea of giving her pain; anxious,
however, to receive his doom from Amanda, he again asked, if she thought
he could see her.

Ellen answered him snappishly, she could not tell; and hurried to the
cottage, where a flood of tears soon relieved her distress. To be
dressed so charmingly, and for no purpose, was a pity: she therefore
resolved on going to the dance, consoling herself with the old saying of
having more than one string to her bow; and that if Chip was not as
genteel, he was quite as personable a man as the curate. Walking down
the lane, she met a little boy, who gave her a letter from Chip; full of
the idea of its containing some overtures for a reconciliation, she
hastily broke it open, and read to the following effect:--

    ELLEN:--After your cruelty, I could not bear to stay in the
    village, as I never could work another stroke with a light
    heart; and every tree and meadow would remind me of the love my
    dear girl once bore her poor Chip. So, before this comes to
    hand, I shall be on my way to enter one of the King's ships, and
    Heaven knows whether we shall ever meet again; but this I know,
    I shall always love Ellen, though she was so cruel to her own
    faithful

    TIM CHIP.

Thus did the vanity of Ellen receive a speedy punishment. Her distress
for some days was unabated; but at last yielded to the mild arguments of
Amanda, and the hopes she inspired of seeing the wandering hero again.

Howel at last obtained an interview, and ventured to plead his passion.
Amanda thanked him for his regard, but declared her inability of
returning it as he wished; assuring him, however, at the same time, of
her sincere friendship.

"This then shall suffice," said he. "Neither sorrow nor disappointment
are new to me; and when they oppress me, I will turn to the idea of my
angel friend, and forget, for some moments at least, my heavy burden."

Lord Mortimer made several attempts for again seeing Amanda, but without
success, he then wrote, but his letters were not successful. In despair
at finding neither letters nor messages received by Amanda, he at last,
by stratagem, effected an interview. Meeting one of the young Edwins
returning from the post-town with a letter, he inquired, and heard it
was for Miss Fitzalan; a little persuasion prevailed on the young man to
relinquish it, and Lord Mortimer flew directly to the cottage. "Now,"
cried he, "the inexorable girl must appear, if she wishes to receive her
letter."

The nurse informed Amanda of it; but she, suspecting it to be a scheme,
refused to appear. "By Heaven, I do not deceive her!" exclaimed Lord
Mortimer; "nor will I give the letter into any hands but hers." "This,
my lord," said Amanda, coming from her chamber, "is really cruel; but
give me the letter," impatiently stretching out her hand for it.
"Another condition remains to be complied with," cried he, seizing her
soft hand, which she, however, instantly withdrew; "you must read it,
Miss Fitzalan, in my presence." "Good Heavens, how you torment me!" she
exclaimed. "Do you comply then?" "Yes," she replied, and received the
letter from him. The pity and compunction of his lordship increased as
he gazed on her pale face, while her eyes eagerly ran over the contents
of the letter, which were as follows:--

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    To be able to communicate pleasure to my Amanda, rewards me for
    tedious months of wretchedness. Dry up your tears, sweet child
    of early sorrow, for the source of grief exists no longer; Lord
    Cherbury has been kind beyond my warmest expectations, and has
    given me the ineffable delight, as far as pecuniary matters can
    do, of rendering the future days of Amanda happy. In my next I
    shall be more explicit; at present I have not a moment I can
    call my own, which must excuse this laconic letter. The faithful
    Edwins will rejoice in the renewed fortune of their dear
    Amanda's affectionate father.

    Jermyn Street.                            AUGUSTUS FITZALAN.

The emotions of Amanda were irrepressible: the letter dropped from her
trembling hands, and her streaming eyes were raised to heaven. "Oh bless
him!" she exclaimed. "Gracious Heaven, bless the benefactor of my father
for this good deed! May sorrow or misfortune never come across his
path."

"And who, may I ask," said Lord Mortimer, "merits so sweet a prayer from
Amanda?"

"See," cried she, presenting him the letter, as if happy at the moment
to have such a proof of the truth of what she had alleged to him.

Lord Mortimer was affected by the letter: his eyes filled with tears,
and he turned aside to hide his emotion; recovering himself, he again
approached her. "And while you so sweetly pray for the felicity of the
father," said he, "are you resolved on dooming the son to despair? If
sincere penitence can extenuate error, and merit mercy, I deserve to be
forgiven."

Amanda rose, as if with an intention of retiring, but Lord Mortimer
caught her hand. "Think not," cried he, "I will lose the present
opportunity, which I have so long desired, and with such difficulty
obtained, of entering into a vindication of my conduct: however it may
be received by you, it is a justice I owe my own character to make: for
as I never wilfully injured innocence, so I cannot bear to be considered
as its violator. Amidst the wildness, the extravagance of youth, which
with compunction I acknowledge being too often led into, my heart still
acquitted me of ever committing an act which could entail upon me the
pangs of conscience. Sacred to me has virtue ever been, how lowly soever
in situation."

The idea of his being able to vindicate himself scarcely afforded less
pleasure to Amanda than it did to Lord Mortimer. She suffered him to
reseat her, while he related the circumstances which had led him astray
in his opinion of her. Oh! how fervent was the rapture that pervaded
Amanda's heart, when, as she listened to him, she found he was still the
amiable, the generous, the noble character her fancy had first conceived
him to be. Tears of pleasure, exquisite as those she had lately shed,
again fell from her; for oh! what delight is there in knowing that an
object we cannot help loving we may still esteem. "Thus," continued Lord
Mortimer, "have I accounted for my error: an error which, except on
account of your displeasure, I know not whether I should regret, as it
has convinced me, more forcibly than any other circumstance could have
done, of the perfections of your mind, and has, besides, removed from
mine prejudices which causelessly I did not entertain against your sex.
Was every woman in a similar situation to act like you,

   ----Such numbers would not in vain,
   Of broken vows and faithless men complain.

To call you mine is the height of my wishes; on your decision I rest for
happiness. Oh! my Amanda, let it be a favorable decision, and suffer me
to write to Mr. Fitzalan, and request him to bestow on me the greatest
treasure one being could possibly receive from another--a woman lovely
and educated as you have been."

When he mentioned appealing to her father, Amanda could no longer doubt
the sincerity of his intentions. Her own heart pleaded as powerfully as
his solicitations did for pardoning him; and if she did not absolutely
extend her hand, she at least suffered it to be taken without any
reluctance. "I am forgiven, then," said Lord Mortimer, pressing her to
his bosom. "Oh, my Amanda, years of tender attention can never make up
for this goodness!"

When his transports were a little abated, he insisted on writing
immediately to Fitzalan. As he sealed the letter, he told Amanda he had
requested an expeditious answer. The happiness of the youthful pair was
communicated to the honest rustics, whom Lord Mortimer liberally
rewarded for their fidelity to his Amanda, and whom she readily excused
for their ambiguous expressions to him, knowing they proceeded from
simplicity of heart, and a wish of serving her, yet without injuring
themselves, by betraying the manner in which they had procured their
intelligence of her situation.

The day after the reconciliation, Lord Mortimer told Amanda he was
compelled, for a short time, to leave her; with that reluctance, he
hoped, he said, she could readily conceive; but the visit, which he had
come into Wales for the purpose of paying, had been so long deferred,
his friend was growing impatient, and threatened to come to Tudor Hall
to see what detained him there. To prevent such a measure, which he knew
would be a total interruption to the happiness he enjoyed in her
society, Lord Mortimer added he meant to pass a few days with him,
hoping by the time he returned there would be a letter from Mr.
Fitzalan, which would authorize his immediate preparations for their
nuptials. Amanda wished, but could not totally hide, the uneasiness she
felt at the prospect of a separation; the idea, however, of his speedy
return, rendered it but transient, and he departed in a few hours after
he had mentioned his intention.

Amanda had never before experienced such happiness as she now enjoyed.
She now saw herself on the point of being elevated to a situation, by a
man, too, whom she adored, which would give her ample opportunities of
serving the clearest connections of her heart, and of gratifying the
benevolence of her disposition, and the elegance of her taste. Oh, how
delightful to think she should be able to soothe the declining period of
her father's life, by providing for him all the requisite indulgences of
age! oh, how delightful to think she should be accessory to her dear
Oscar's promotion! how rapturous to imagine at her approach the drooping
children of misery would brighten with pleasing presages of relief,
which she should amply realize! Such were Amanda's anticipations of what
she termed the blessings of an affluent fortune; felicity, in her
opinion, was to be diffused to be enjoyed. Of Lord Cherbury's sanction
to the attachment of his son, she entertained not a doubt; her birth was
little inferior to his, and fortune was entirely out of the
question--for a liberal mind, she thought, could never look to that,
when on one side was already possessed more than sufficient for even the
luxuries of life. Such were the ideas of the innocent and romantic
Amanda--ideas which made her seem to tread on air, and which she
entertained till subsequent experience convinced her of their fallacy.



CHAPTER IX.

  "Alas! the story melts away my soul!
   That best of fathers, how shall I discharge
   The gratitude and duty which I owe him?
   --By laying up his counsels in your heart."--CATO.


Amanda was sitting in the recess in the garden, the fourth evening of
Lord Mortimer's absence, when suddenly she heard the rattling of a
carriage. Her heart bounded, and she flew into the house; at the very
moment a chaise stopped at the door, from which, to her inexpressible
amazement, her father descended.

Transfixed to the spot, it was many minutes ere she had power to bid him
welcome, or return the fond caresses he bestowed upon her. "I am come,
Amanda," said he, eagerly interrupting the joyful speeches of the
Edwins, "to take you away with me; and one hour is all I can give you to
prepare yourself." "Good Heaven!" said Amanda, starting, "to take me
away immediately?" "Immediately," he repeated. "And as I know you are
attached to this good girl," turning to Ellen, "I shall be happy, if her
parents permit, to procure her attendance for you."

The Edwins, who would have followed themselves, or allowed any of their
family to follow Fitzalan and his daughter round the world, gladly
consented to her going; and the girl, exclusive of her attachment to
Amanda, which was very great, having pined ever since her lover's
departure, rejoiced at the idea of a change of scene.

Not so Amanda: it made her suffer agony; to be torn from Lord Mortimer
in the hour of reconciliation and explanation, was more than she could
support with fortitude. Her father, perhaps, had not received his
letter; it was but justice then to him and Lord Mortimer to reveal her
situation. She left her trunk half-packed, and went out for that
purpose; but as she stood before him with quivering lips and
half-averted eyes, at a loss to begin, he took her hand, and softly
exclaimed: "My love, let us for the present waive every subject; the
moments are precious; hasten to put on your habit, or we shall be too
late at the stage where I propose resting to-night." Amanda turned in
silence to her chamber to comply with his desire; tears ran down her
cheeks, and for the first time she conceived the idea of being hurried
away to avoid Lord Mortimer; but why, she could not think--honor as well
as tenderness, she thought, demanded her acquainting him with the cause
of her precipitate journey; but, when she took up a pen for that
purpose, her hand was unsteady, and she was so much disturbed by the
nurse and her daughters, who ran backwards and forwards in all the
bustle of preparation, that she could not write: her father prevented a
second effort, for he was continually coming to her chamber-door urging
her to be quick, and thus prevented her delivering any message to the
nurse for Lord Mortimer; so great was his eagerness to depart, he would
not suffer the horses to be taken from the chaise, or any refreshment to
be brought him by the Edwins, notwithstanding their pressing entreaties:
neither would he answer their interrogatories as to where he was going,
saying they should know hereafter. The parting embrace was at last given
and received with a heavy heart--Amanda was handed to the
carriage--silence prevailed--all the travellers were equally though
differently affected; the cottage and the spire of the village church
had awakened the most affecting remembrances in the mind of Fitzalan,
and tears fell from him to the memory of his unfortunate Malvina; sighs
burst from Amanda as she viewed the white turrets of Tudor Hall, and
Ellen sobbed on passing the forsaken cottage of poor Chip. From all
these affecting and beloved objects the rapidity of the carriage soon
conveyed them; but the impressions they left upon their minds were not
so easily eradicated. Fitzalan was the first to break the unsocial
silence, and it seemed as if he did so for the purpose of rousing the
dejection of his daughter: a cross road from the cottage shortly brought
them to Conway Ferry, which they were obliged to pass, and here, had
Amanda's mind been at ease, she would have felt truly gratified by
viewing the remains of gothic magnificence which Castle Conway
exhibited; as it was, she could not behold them unmoved, and, whilst she
admired, gave the passing tribute of a sigh to grandeur and decay. They
only continued in Conway till a carriage was provided for them, and soon
came beneath the stupendous projections of Penmaenmawr; this was a scene
as new as awful to Amanda: "Well, Cot in heaven pless their souls,"
Ellen said, "what a tefil of a way they should be in if one of them huge
stones rolled down upon the carriage." They stopped not again until they
reached Bangor Ferry, where they were to rest for the night. Amanda's
strength and spirits were now so entirely exhausted, that had not a
glass of wine been immediately procured her, she would have fainted from
weakness; this a little revived her, and the tears she shed relieved in
some degree the oppression of her heart; her father left her and Ellen
together, while he went to give directions about the journey of the
ensuing day.

Amanda went to the window and threw up the sash; the air from the
mountains she thought refreshed her; the darkness of the hour was
opposed by a bright moon, which cast a trembling radiance upon the
water, and by its partial gleams exhibited a beautiful scene of light
and shade, that had Amanda been in another frame of mind she would
infinitely have admired; the scene too was almost as still as it was
lovely, for no voice was heard except a low murmur from voices below
stairs: while she stood here in a deep reverie, the paddling of oars
suddenly roused her, and she beheld a boat on the opposite shore, which
in a few minutes gained the one where she was, and she saw coming from
it to the inn a large party of gentlemen, whose air and attendants
announced them to be men of fashion; they seemed by their discourse to
be a convivial party; the light was too dim to allow their faces to be
discerned, but in the figure of one Amanda thought she perceived a
strong resemblance to Lord Mortimer; her heart throbbed, she leaned
forward to endeavor to distinguish more plainly, and at the moment heard
his well-known voice ordering his groom to have the horses ready at
twelve o'clock, as he would take the advantage of such fine weather to
set off at that hour for Tudor Hall; the party were then ushered into a
room contiguous to the one occupied by Amanda, while the bustling of the
waiters, and the clattering of knives, forks, and plates, announced the
preparations for a late dinner. Oh! what were now the agitations of
Amanda, to think that in one moment she could inform Lord Mortimer of
her situation; but the transport the idea gave was relinquished almost
as soon as felt, as such a measure she thought might perhaps for ever
disoblige her father. In this tumult of doubt and perplexity he found
her; and by his conduct convinced her that he not only knew of Lord
Mortimer's being in the house, but wished her to avoid him; for he
instantly led her from the window, and, shutting it down, darted, for
the first time in his life, a severe frown at her; a dagger in the
breast of Amanda could scarcely have given her more pain--a cold horror
ran through her veins, and she was oppressed by as many fears as if she
had been conscious of offending him. The supper he had ordered was a
little retarded by the late dinner of his gay neighbors; he would have
had it in another room had another been disengaged; vainly did his timid
companions try to eat--Amanda was sick, and Ellen frightened, though she
knew not why; the waiter was dismissed, and the most unsocial silence
prevailed.

Unbounded gayety reigned in the next apartment, from which every sound
could plainly be distinguished. Dinner over, the exhilarating juice went
round, and bumper toasts were called. Lord Mortimer at last was asked
for a fair nymph. "I will give you," exclaimed he, in a voice which
denoted his being uncommonly elevated, "an Angel!"--Amanda's heart beat
violently and her cheeks glowed. "A name for this celestial beauty!"
demanded one of the party: "Amanda," cried his lordship. "Oh, faith,
Mortimer, that won't do;" said another of his companions; "this angel
shall not pass without the rest of her name." "Miss Fitzalan, then,"
exclaimed his lordship. "Oh! oh!" cried a new voice, with a loud laugh,
after clue honor had been paid to the toast, "I being to unravel a
mystery; upon my soul I could not conceive till this instant what had
kept you so long at the hall; for I had seen the maiden part of the
household, and knew the metal there not very attractive; but this
Amanda, I suppose, is the rosy daughter of some poor curate in its
vicinity, who for"--"Beware!" interrupted Lord Mortimer in an agitated
voice, "of what you say; give me no reason to repent having introduced a
name so valued into this company--the situation of Miss Fitzalan is not
exactly what you suppose: but let this suffice for you to know--it is
such as secures her from every species of impertinence and were it even
less protected, her own elegance and propriety would elevate her above
receiving any." The face of Fitzalan, during this conversation, was
crimsoned over, and he again darted a frown at the trembling Amanda,
which almost petrified her, he told her that she and Ellen must retire
immediately to rest, as they had a long journey before them the ensuing
day, which would require their rising early. Amanda, for the first time
in her life, wished to be relieved from his presence, and gladly rose to
obey him; he attended her himself to the room prepared for her, which
was directly over that where the gentlemen sat; to think of rest was
impossible; the severity of her father's looks, and her precipitate
journey--she knew not whither--but evidently for the purpose of avoiding
Lord Mortimer, filled the thoughts of Amanda with confusion and
distress: Ellen essayed artless consolation: "What the tefil do you
think," said she, "if I was to go down to give his lortship an
intimation of your peing here; you could easily contrive to see him in
the garden, or else we could pring him up here, and if the captain
surprised us, we could pop him in a moment behind the curtain." Amanda
motioned her to silence, unwilling to lose the smallest sound of Lord
Mortimer's voice, and determined, anxious as she was to see him, never
to act in opposition to her father. At length the horses were led from
the stable, and the convivial party descended to them. Amanda softly
raised the window, and saw Lord Mortimer eagerly vault upon the saddle;
he gave a hasty adieu to the friends, and galloped off; they mounted at
the same time, but took a contrary direction. Amanda leaned out till she
could no longer hear the clattering of the horses' hoofs; her heart sunk
as the sound died upon her ear; she wept as she retired from the window;
the idea of Mortimer's disappointment aggravated her grief; she no
longer opposed Ellen's efforts to undress her; exhausted by fatigue,
sleep soon closed her eyes, and fancy again transported her to Tudor
Hall and Mortimer.

By the first dawn of day a knock at her chamber-door roused her from
this pleasing illusion, and she heard her father desiring her to rise
immediately. Drowsy as she was, she instantly obeyed the summons, and
awaking Ellen, they were ready to attend him in a few minutes; a boat
was already prepared, and on gaining the opposite side they found a
carriage in waiting. Day was now just dawning; a gray mist enveloped the
mountains, and cast a shade of obscurity upon all the inferior objects;
at length the atmosphere began to brighten--the lucid clouds in the cast
were tinged with golden radiance, and the sun in beautiful and refulgent
majesty arose, gladdening the face of nature with its potent beams; the
trees, the shrubs, seemed waving their dewy heads in sign of grateful
homage, while their winged inhabitants, as they soared in the air,
poured forth the softest notes of melody. Amanda, in spite of sadness,
beheld the charming scene with admiration; and Fitzalan contemplated it
with delight. "All nature," he exclaimed, "points out to man the
gratitude due to the Divine dispenser of good; hardened must that heart
be against the feelings of sensibility, which the harmony and fragrance
of this early hour awakens not to a perfect sense of it!" Amanda
assented to his remark more by a smile than words, for she was ill able
to speak. They stopped not till they reached Gwintey, where they
breakfasted, and then proceeded, without resting again, to Holyhead,
which place Fitzalan announced as they entered it. And now, Amanda first
conceived the idea of being brought to another kingdom, which her father
soon confirmed her in--for, as soon as they alighted, he inquired when
a packet would sail, and heard with evident pleasure about six in the
afternoon. He directly desired three passages to be engaged; and, having
ordered an early dinner, dismissed Ellen into another room; and seating
himself by Amanda, he took her hand, and with a tender voice thus
addressed her: "To give pain to your gentle heart has inflicted torture
on mine; but honor compelled me to the conduct which I have adopted, and
which, I trust and believe, Amanda will excuse when she knows my motive
for it, which in due order she shall hear.

"On Lord Cherbury's arrival in town, I was immediately informed of it,
according to the promise of his domestics, and directly sent him my
letter; scarcely had he read it, ere, with all the ardor of true
friendship, he came and brought me to his house, where we might securely
reflect on what was to be done. His lordship soon formed a plan that at
once inspired me with gratitude and pleasure, as it promised me
competence without depriving me of independence--this was to accept the
agency of a considerable estate in the north of Ireland, which he
possessed in right of his wife, the late Countess of Cherbury, who was
an Irish heiress. He proposed my residing in the mansion house, offering
to advance a sum sufficient to answer all demands and exigencies; and
striving to lighten the obligations he conferred upon me, by declaring
he had long been seeking a man of well-known probity, as his last agent
had gone off considerably in arrears to him. I accepted his generous
offer, and soon freed myself from the power of Belgrave. I now felt a
tranquillity I was long a stranger to, and was busied in preparing to
come down to you, when Lord Mortimer's letter, like a clap of thunder,
broke the happy calm I enjoyed. Gracious heaven! I shuddered to think,
that at the very period Lord Cherbury was building up my fortunes, the
hopes he entertained for this darling son were in a way of being
destroyed, through means of a connection of mine; he had hinted to me
his having already settled upon a splendid alliance for Lord Mortimer,
which he also hinted his heart was set on: this the infatuated young man
had himself some knowledge of; for in his rash letter he entreated my
secrecy relative to his proposal for you till beyond the reach of
mortals to separate you: no doubt he would never have asked my consent,
had he thought he could have procured you without it; he took me, I
suppose, for some needy and ambitious creature, who would, though at the
expense of integrity, grasp an opportunity of elevating a child to rank
and fortune; but never was an erring mortal more mistaken, though
dearer to me than the air I breath--though the lovely child of my lost
Malvina--though a cherubim, whose innocent endearments often raised in
me, as Prospero says--

   An undergoing stomach--to bear up
   Against what should ensue.

I would rather see you breathless at my feet, than, by conscious and
apparent meanness, deserve and incur the malevolence of calumny. I
committed the letter to the flames, and requested Lord Cherbury's final
commands; being desirous to commence my journey without longer delay, as
your delicate state of health, I said, made me anxious to have you
immediately under my own care; he complied with my request, and I
travelled post, resolved to separate you and Lord Mortimer--even if
prepared for the altar: nor was I alone actuated to this by gratitude to
Lord Cherbury, or consideration for my own honor--no, with these, a
regard for your peace equally influenced me--a soul of sensibility and
refinement like yours could never, I know, be happy if treated with
repulsive coldness by the family of her husband; particularly if her
conscience told her she merited that coldness by entering it
clandestinely. Could I bear to think that of you--so lovely in
person--so amiable in manners--so illustrious in descent--should be
called an artful and necessitous contriver? an imputation, which, most
undoubtedly, your union with Lord Mortimer would have incurred. No, to
the God who gave you to my care, I hold myself responsible, as far as in
my power, for preserving your peace--to the mother, whose last words
implored my tenderness for her offspring, I hold myself accountable--to
me she still exists--I think her ever near--and ere I act, always
reflect whether such an action would meet her approbation. Such is the
respect virtue excites--it lives when the frail texture of mortality is
dissolved. Your attachment, when repelled by reason and fortitude, will
soon vanish; as for Lord Mortimer, removed from the flame which warmed
his heart, he will soon forget it ever played around it--should he,
however, be daring enough to persevere, he will find my resolution
unalterable. Honor is the only hereditary possession that ever came to
me uninjured; to preserve it in the same state has been ever my
unremitted study--it irradiated the gloomy morning of care, and I trust
it will gild the setting hours of existence."

Amanda's emotions deprived her of speech or acting--she sat a pale
statue, listening to her father's firm and rapid language, which
announced the abolition of her hopes; ignorant of her inability to
speak, he felt hurt at her silence; and rising abruptly, walked about
the room with a disordered air. "I see--I see," cried he at last,
looking mournfully upon her, "I am destined to be unhappy; the little
treasure which remained from the wreck of felicity, I had hoped (vain
hope!) would have comforted and consoled me for what then was lost." "O!
my father!" exclaimed Amanda, suddenly starting and sighing deeply, "how
you pierce my heart!" His pale, emaciated looks seemed to declare him
sinking beneath a burden of care; she started up, and flung herself into
his arms. "Dearest, best of fathers!" she exclaimed, in a voice broken
by sobs, "what is all the world to me in comparison of you? Shall I put
Lord Mortimer, so lately a stranger, in competition with your happiness?
Oh no! I will henceforth try to regulate every impulse of my heart
according to your wishes." Fitzalan burst into tears--the enthusiasm of
virtue warmed them both--hallowed are her raptures, and amply do they
recompense the pain attendant on her sacrifices.

Dinner was brought in, to which they sat down in their usual social
manner; and Amanda, happy in her father's smiles, felt a ray of
returning cheerfulness. The evening was delightfully serene when they
went on board, and the vessel, with a gentle motion, glided over the
glittering waves; sickness soon compelled Amanda and Ellen to retire
from the deck; yet without a sigh, the former could not relinquish the
prospect of the Welsh mountains. By the dawn of next morning the vessel
entered the bay of Dublin, and Fitzalan shortly after brought Amanda
from the cabin to contemplate a scene which far surpassed all her ideas
of sublimity and beauty, a scene which the rising sun soon heightened to
the most glowing radiance; they landed at the Marine Hotel, where they
breakfasted, and then proceeded in a carriage to a hotel in Capel
street, where they proposed staying a few days for the purpose of
enjoying Oscar's company, whose regiment was quartered in Dublin, and
making some requisite purchases for their journey to the north. As the
carriage drove down Capel street, Amanda saw a young officer standing at
the corner of Mary's Abbey, whose air very much resembled Oscar's; her
heart palpitated; she looked out and perceived the resemblance was a
just one, for it was Oscar himself--the carriage passed too swiftly for
him to recognize her face; but he was astonished to see a fair hand
waving to him; he walked down the street, and reached the hotel just as
they were entering it.



CHAPTER X.

  "And whence, unhappy youth, he cried,
   The sorrow of thy breast?"--GOLDSMITH.


The raptures of this meeting surpassed description: to Oscar they were
heightened by surprise; he was unfortunately that day on guard at the
Bank--therefore could only pay them a few short and stolen visits; but
the next morning, the moment he was relieved, he came to them. Fitzalan
had given Amanda money to purchase whatever she deemed necessary for her
convenience and amusement, and Oscar attended her to the most celebrated
shops to make her purchases: having supplied herself with a pretty
fashionable assortment for her wardrobe, she procured a small collection
of books, sufficient, however, from their excellence, to form a little
library in themselves, and every requisite for drawing; nor did she
forget the little wants and vanities of Ellen; they returned about
dinner time to the hotel, where they found their father, who had been
transacting business for Lord Cherbury in different parts of the town.
We may now suppose him in the possession of happiness, blessed as he was
in the society of his children, and the certainty of a competence; but,
alas! happiness has almost ever an attendant drawback, and he now
experienced one of the most corroding kind from the alteration he
witnessed in his son. Oscar was improved in his person, but his eyes no
longer beamed with animation, and the rose upon his cheek was pale; his
cheerfulness no longer appeared spontaneous, but constrained, as if
assumed for the purpose of veiling deep and heartfelt sorrow.

Fitzalan, with all the anxiety and tenderness of a parent, delicately
expressed his wish of learning the source of his uneasiness, that by so
doing he might be better qualified to alleviate it, hinting at the same
time, in indirect terms, that if occasioned by any of the imprudences
which youth is sometimes inadvertently led into, he would readily excuse
them, from a certainty that he who repented never would again commit
them. Oscar started from the remotest hint of divulging his uneasiness:
he begged his father, however, to believe (since he had unfortunately
perceived it) that it was not derived from imprudence: he pretended to
say it was but a slight chagrin, which would soon wear away of itself
if not renewed by inquiries. Fitzalan, however, was too much affected by
the subject to drop it as readily as Oscar wished. After regarding him
for a few minutes with an attention as mournful as fixed, while they sat
round the table after dinner, he suddenly exclaimed, "Alas! my dear boy,
I fear things are worse within than you will allow." "Now, indeed,
Oscar" cried Amanda, sweetly smiling on him, anxious to relieve him from
the embarrassment these words had involved him in, and to dissipate the
deep gloom of her father's brow, "though never in the wars, I fancy you
are not quite heart whole." He answered her with affected gayety, but,
as if wishing to change the discourse, suddenly spoke of Colonel
Belgrave, who, at present, he said, was absent of the regiment; occupied
by his own feelings, he observed not the glow which mantled the cheeks
of his father and sister at that name.

"You know Mrs. Belgrave," said Amanda, endeavoring to regain her
composure. "Know her!" repeated he, with an involuntary sigh, "oh, yes!"
Then, after the pause of a few minutes, turning to his father, "I
believe I have already informed you, sir," he said, "that she is the
daughter of your brave old friend, General Honeywood, who, I assure you,
paid me no little attention on your account; his house is quite the
temple of hospitality, and she the little presiding goddess." "She is
happy, I hope," said Amanda. "Oh, surely," replied Oscar, little
thinking of the secret motive his sister had for asking such a question,
"she possesses what the world thinks necessary to constitute felicity."

Fitzalan had accounted to his son for leaving Devonshire, by saying the
air had disagreed with Amanda; he told him of the friendship of Lord
Cherbury, from which he said he trusted shortly to be able to have him
promoted. "Be assured, my dear Oscar," he cried, "most willingly would I
relinquish many of the comforts of life to attain the ability of
hastening your advancement, or adding to your happiness." "My
happiness!" Oscar mournfully repeated; tears filled his eyes; he could
no longer restrain them; and starting up, hurried to a window. Amanda
followed, unutterably affected at his emotion: "Oscar, my dear Oscar,"
said she as she flung her arms round his neck, "you distress me beyond
example." He sat down, and leaning his head on her bosom, as she stood
before him, his tears fell through her handkerchief. "Oh, heavens!"
exclaimed Fitzalan, clasping his hands together, "what a sight is this!
Oh! my children, from your felicity alone could I ever derive any; if
the hope I entertained of that felicity is disappointed, the heart which
cherished it must soon be silent." He arose and went to them: "yet,"
continued he, "amidst the anguish of this moment, I feel a ray of
pleasure at perceiving an affection so strong and tender between you; it
will be a mutual consolation and support when the feeble help and
protection I can give is finally removed; oh! then, my Oscar," he
proceeded, while he folded their united hands in his, "become the
soothing friend and guardian of this dear, this amiable, this too lovely
girl--let her not too severely feel--too bitterly mourn--the loss of an
unhappy father!"

Amanda's tears began to stream, and Oscar's for a few minutes were
increased. "Excuse me," at last he said, making an effort to exert
himself, to his father, "and be assured, to the utmost of my ability, I
will ever obey your wishes, and fulfil your expectations; I am ashamed
of the weakness I have betrayed--I will yield to it no more--forget
therefore your having seen it, or at least remember it with pain, as I
solemnly assure you, no effort on my part shall be untried to conquer it
entirely; and now let the short time we have to continue together be
devoted to cheerfulness."

Soon after this he mentioned Parker's performance in Marlborough Green,
and proposed, as it was now the hour, taking Amanda there; the proposal
was not objected to, and Ellen, who they knew would particularly delight
in such an amusement, was committed to the care of Oscar's servant, a
smart young soldier, who escorted her with much gallantry; the Green was
extremely crowded, particularly with officers, whose wandering glances
were soon attracted to Amanda, as one of the most elegant girls present.
Oscar was soon surrounded by them, and compelled, not only to gratify
their curiosity by discovering who she was, but their gallantry by
introducing them to her. Their compliments soon diverted her attention
from the exhibition, and Ellen, who sat behind her on a bench, afforded
innocent mirth by her remarks. "Pless her soul and poty too," she said,
"it was the most comical and wonderfulest sight she had ever seen in her
porn days." A string of redcoats would have attended Amanda to the hotel
had not Oscar prevented it.

The next day was devoted to visiting the public buildings, the park, and
a few of the most beautiful places in its vicinage. On the ensuing morn
Fitzalan and Amanda continued their journey to the north, where Oscar
assured them he expected leave to visit them the following summer, after
the reviews were over: as he helped his sister in the carriage she put
a pocket-book into his hand (given by her father for that purpose),
which contained something to replenish his purse.

Ere we attend the travellers, or rather while they are journeying along,
we shall endeavor to account for the dejection of Oscar.



CHAPTER XI.

  "From the loud camp retired and noisy court,
   In honorable ease and rural sport;
   The remnant of his days he safely passed,
   Nor found they lagged too slow nor flew too fast.
   He made his wish with his estate comply,
   Joyful to live, yet not afraid to die:
   One child he had--a daughter chaste and fair,
   His age's comfort, and his fortune's heir."--PRIOR.


Oscar's regiment, on his first joining it in Ireland, was quartered in
Enniskillen, the corps was agreeable, and the inhabitants of the town
hospitable and polite. He felt all the delight of a young and
enterprising mind, at entering, what appeared to him, the road to glory
and pleasure, many of his idle mornings were spent in rambling about the
country, sometimes accompanied by a party of officers, and sometimes
alone.

In one of his solitary excursions along the beautiful banks of Lough
Erne, with a light fusee on his shoulder, as the woods, that almost
descended to the very edge of the water, abounded in game; after
proceeding a few miles he felt quite exhausted by the heat, which, as it
was now the middle of summer, was intense; at a little distance he
perceived an orchard, whose glowing apples promised a delightful repast;
knowing that the fruit in many of the neighboring places was kept for
sale, he resolved on trying if any was to be purchased here, and
accordingly opened a small gate, and ascended through a grass-grown path
in the orchard, to a very plain white cottage, which stood upon a gentle
sloping lawn, surrounded by a rude paling, he knocked against the door
with his fusee, and immediately a little rosy girl appeared; "tell me,
my pretty lass," cried he, "whether I can purchase any of the fine
apples I see here." "Anan!" exclaimed the girl with a foolish stare.
Oscar glancing at that moment into the passage, saw, from a half-opened
door, nearly opposite to the one at which he stood, a beautiful fair
face peeping out; he involuntarily started, and pushing aside the girl,
made a step into the passage; the room door directly opened, and an
elderly woman, of a genteel figure and pleasing countenance, appeared.
"Good Heaven!" cried Oscar, taking off his hat, and retreating, "I fear
I have been guilty of the highest impertinence; the only apology I can
offer for it is by saying it was not intentional. I am quite a stranger
here, and having been informed most of the orchards hereabouts contained
fruits for sale, I intruded under that idea." "Your mistake, sir," she
replied with a benevolent smile, "is too trifling to require an apology;
nor shall it be attended with any disappointment to you."

She then politely showed him into the parlor, where, with equal pleasure
and admiration, he contemplated the fair being of whom before he had but
a transient glance: she appeared to be scarcely seventeen, and was, both
as to face and figure, what a painter would have chosen to copy for the
portrait of a little playful Hebe; though below even the middle size,
she was formed with the nicest symmetry; her skin was of a dazzling
fairness, and so transparent, that the veins were clearly discernible;
the softest blush of nature shaded her beautifully-rounded cheeks; her
mouth was small and pouting, and whenever she smiled a thousand graces
sported round it; her eyes were full and of a heavenly blue, soft, yet
animated, giving, like the expression of her whole countenance, at once
an idea of innocence, spirit, and sensibility; her hair, of the palest
and most glossy brown, hung carelessly about her, and, though dressed in
a loose morning-gown of muslin, she possessed an air of fashion and even
consequence; the easy manner in which she bore the looks of Oscar,
proclaimed her at once not unaccustomed to admiration, nor displeased
with that she now received; for that Oscar admired her could not but be
visible, and he sometimes fancied he saw an arch smile playing over her
features, at the involuntary glances he directed towards her.

A fine basket of apples, and some delicious cider, was brought to Oscar,
and he found his entertainer as hospitable in deposition as she was
pleasing in conversation.

The beautiful interior of the cottage by no means corresponded with the
plainness of the exterior; the furniture was elegantly neat, and the
room ornamented with a variety of fine prints and landscapes; a large
folding glass door opened from it into a pleasure-garden.

Adela, so was the charming young stranger called, chatted in the most
lively and familiar terms, and at last running over to the basket,
tossed the apples all about the table, and picking out the finest
presented them to Oscar. It is scarcely necessary to say he received
them with emotion: but how transient is all sublunary bliss! A
cuckoo-clock, over Oscar's head, by striking three, reminded him that he
had passed near two hours in the cottage. "Oh, Heavens!" cried he,
starting, "I have made a most unconscionable intrusion; you see, my dear
ladies," bowing respectfully to both, "the consequence of being too
polite and too fascinating." He repeated his thanks in the most animated
manner, and snatching up his hat, departed, yet not without casting

  "One longing, lingering look behind."

The sound of footsteps after him in the lawn made him turn, and he
perceived the ladies had followed him thither. He stopped again to speak
to them, and extolled the lovely prospect they had from that eminence of
the lake and its scattered islands. "I presume," said Adela, handling
the fusee on which he leaned, "you were trying your success to-day in
fowling?" "Yes; but, as you may perceive, I have been unsuccessful."
"Then, I assure you," said she, with an arch smile, "there is choice
game to be found in our woods." "Delicious game, indeed!" cried he,
interpreting the archness of her look, and animated by it to touch her
hand, "but only tantalizing to a keen sportsman, who sees it elevated
above his reach." "Come, come," exclaimed the old lady, with a sudden
gravity, "we are detaining the gentleman." She took her fair companion
by the arm, and hastily turned to the cottage. Oscar gazed after them a
moment, then, with a half-smothered sigh, descended to the road. He
could not help thinking this incident of the morning very like the novel
adventures he had sometimes read to his sister Amanda as she sat at
work; and, to complete the resemblance, thought he, I must fall in love
with the little heroine. Ah! Oscar, beware of such imprudence! guard
your heart with all your care against tender impressions, till fortune
has been more propitious to you! Thus would my father speak, mused
Oscar, and set his own misfortunes in terrible array before me, were he
now present: well, I must endeavor to act as if he were here to exhort
me. Heigh ho! proceeded he, shouldering his fusee, glory for some time
to come must be my mistress!

The next morning the fusee was again taken down, and he sallied out,
carefully avoiding the officers, lest any of them should offer to
accompany him; for he felt a strange reluctance to their participating
in either the smiles of Adela or the apples of the old lady. Upon his
arrival at the orchard, finding the gate open, he advanced a few steps
up the path, and had a glimpse of the cottage, but no object was
visible. Oscar was too modest to attempt entering it uninvited; he
therefore turned back, yet often cast a look behind him; no one,
however, was to be seen. He now began to feel the heat oppressive, and
himself fatigued with his walk, and sat down upon a moss-covered stone,
on the margin of the lake, at a little distance from the cottage,
beneath the spreading branches of a hawthorn; his hat and fusee were
laid at his feet, and a cool breeze from the water refreshed him; upon
its smooth surface a number of boats and small sail-vessels were now
gliding about in various directions, and enlivened the enchanting
prospect which was spread upon the bosom of the lake; from contemplating
it he was suddenly roused by the warble of a female voice; he started,
turned, and beheld Adela just by him. "Bless me!" cried she, "who would
have thought of seeing you here; why, you look quite fatigued, and, I
believe, want apples to-day as much as you did yesterday?" Then, sitting
down on the seat he had resigned, she tossed off her bonnet, declaring
it was insupportably warm, and began rummaging a small work-bag she held
on her arm. Oscar snatching the bonnet from the ground, Adela flung
apples into it, observing it would make an excellent basket. He sat down
at her feet, and never, perhaps, felt such a variety of emotions as at
the present moment: his cheeks glowed with a brighter color, and his
eyes were raised to hers with the most ardent admiration; yet not to
them alone could he confine the expression of his feelings; they broke
in half-formed sentences from his lips, which Adela heard with the most
perfect composure, desiring him either to eat or pocket his apples
quickly, as she wanted her bonnet, being in a great hurry to return to
the cottage, from which she had made a kind of stolen march. The apples
were instantly committed to his pocket, and he was permitted to tie on
the bonnet. A depraved man might have misinterpreted the gayety of
Adela, or at least endeavored to take advantage of it; but the sacred
impression of virtue, which nature and education had stamped upon the
heart of Oscar, was indelibly fixed, and he neither suspected, nor, for
worlds, would have attempted injuring, the innocence of Adela: he beheld
her (in what indeed was a true light) as a little playful nymph, whose
actions were the offspring of innocence.

"I assure you," exclaimed she, rising, "I am very loath to quit this
pleasant seat; but, if I make a much longer delay, I shall find the lady
of the cottage in anxious expectation." "May I advance?" said Oscar, as
he pushed open the gate for her. "If you do," replied she, "the least
that will be said from seeing us together, is, that we were in search of
each other the whole of the morning." "Well," cried Oscar, laughing at
this careless speech, "and if they do say so, it would not be doing me
injustice." "Adieu, adieu," said she, waving her hand, "not another word
for a kingdom."

What a compound of beauty and giddiness it is! thought Oscar, watching
her till she entered the cottage. As he returned from the sweet spot he
met some laborers, from whom he inquired concerning its owner, and
learned she was a respectable widow lady of the name of Marlowe.

On Oscar's return from Enniskillen, he heard from the officers that
General Honeywood, an old veteran, who had a fine estate about fourteen
miles from the town, was that morning to pay his compliments to them,
and that cards had been left for a grand _fête_ and ball, which he
annually gave on the 1st of July, to commemorate one of the glorious
victories of King William. Every person of any fashion in and about the
neighborhood was on such occasions sure of an invitation; and the
officers were pleased with theirs, as they had for some time wished for
an opportunity of seeing the general's daughter, who was very much
admired.

The general, like a true veteran, retained an enthusiastic attachment
for the profession of arms, to which not only the morning, but the
meridian of his life had been devoted, and which he had not quitted till
compelled by a debilitated constitution. Seated in his paternal mansion
he began to experience the want of a faithful companion, who would
heighten the enjoyments of the tranquil hour, and soothe the infirmities
of age: this want was soon supplied by his union with a young lady in
the neighborhood, whose only dowry was innocence and beauty. From the
great disparity of their ages it was concluded she had married for
convenience; but the tenor of her conduct changed this opinion, by
proving the general possessed her tenderest affections: a happier couple
were not known; but this happiness was terminated as suddenly as fatally
by her death, which happened two years after the birth of her daughter;
all the general's love was then centred in her child. Many of the ladies
in the neighborhood, induced by the well-known felicity his lady had
enjoyed, or by the largeness of his fortune, made attempts to engage him
again in matrimonial toils; but he fought shy of them all, solemnly
declaring, he would never bring a stepmother over his dear girl. In her
infancy, she was his plaything, and as she grew up his comfort;
caressed, flattered, adored from her childhood, she scarcely knew the
meaning of harshness and contradiction; a naturally sweet disposition,
and the superintending care of an excellent woman, prevented any
pernicious effect from such excessive indulgence as she received; to
disguise or duplicity she was a perfect stranger; her own feelings were
never concealed, and others she supposed equally sincere in revealing
theirs: true, the open avowal of her regard or contempt often incurred
the imputation of imprudence; but had she even heard it she would have
only laughed at it--for the general declared whatever she said was
right, and her own heart assured her of the innocence of her intentions.
As she grew up the house again became the seat of gayety; the general,
though very infirm, felt his convivial spirit revive; he delighted in
the society of his friends, and could still

  "Shoulder his crutch, and show how fields were won!"

Oscar, actuated by an impulse, which if he could, he, at least, did not
strive to account for, continued daily to parade before the orchard, but
without again seeing Adela.

At length the day for General Honeywood's entertainment arrived, and the
officers, accompanied by a large party, set off early for Woodlawn, the
name of the general's seat. It was situated on the borders of the lake,
where they found barges waiting to convey them to a small island, which
was the scene of the morning's amusement: the breakfast was laid out
amidst the ruins of an ancient building, which, from the venerable
remains of its gothic elegance, was most probably, in the days of
religious enthusiasm, the seat of sacred piety: the old trees in groups
formed a thick canopy overhead, and the ivy that crept along the walls
filled up many of the niches where the windows had formerly been; those
that still remained open, by descending to the ground, afforded a most
enchanting prospect of the lake; the long succession of arches, which
composed the body of the chapel, were in many places covered with
creeping moss, and scattered over with wall-flowers, blue hair-bells,
and other spontaneous productions of nature; while between them were
placed seats and breakfast-tables, ornamented in a fanciful manner.

The officers experienced a most agreeable surprise on entering; but how
inferior were their feelings to the sensations which Oscar felt, when,
introduced with the party by the general to his daughter, he beheld in
Miss Honeywood the lovely Adela! She seemed to enjoy his surprise, and
Mrs. Marlowe, from the opposite side of the table, beckoned him to her
with an arch look; he flew round, and she made room for him by herself:
"Well, my friend," cried she, "do you think you shall find the general's
fruit as tempting as mine?" "Ah!" exclaimed Oscar, half sighing, half
smiling, "Hesperian fruit, I fear, which I can never hope to obtain."
Adela's attention, during breakfast, was too much engrossed by the
company to allow her to notice Oscar more than by a few hasty words and
smiles. There being no dancing till the evening, the company, after
breakfast, dispersed according to their various inclinations.

The island was diversified with little acclivities, and scattered over
with wild shrubs, which embalmed the air; temporary arbors of laurel,
intermingled with lilies, were erected and laid out with fruits, ices,
and other refreshments; upon the edge of the water a marquee was pitched
for the regimental band, which Colonel Belgrave had politely
complimented the general with: a flag was hoisted on it, and upon a low
eminence a few small field-pieces were mounted: attendants were
everywhere dispersed, dressed in white streamers, ornamented with a
profusion of orange-colored ribbons; the boatmen were dressed in the
same livery; and the barges, in which several of the party were to visit
the other islands, made a picturesque appearance with their gay
streamers fluttering in the breeze; the music, now softly dying away
upon the water, now gradually swelling on the breeze, and echoed back by
the neighboring hills, added to the pleasures of the scene.

Oscar followed the footsteps of Adela; but at the very moment in which
he saw her disengaged from a large party, the general hallooed to him
from a shady bank on which he sat; Oscar could not refuse the summons;
and, as he approached, the general, extending his hand, gave him a
cordial squeeze, and welcomed him as the son of a brave man he had once
intimately known. "I recollected the name of Fitzalan," said he, "the
moment I heard it mentioned; and had the happiness of learning from
Colonel Belgrave I was not mistaken in believing you to be the son of my
old friend." He now made several inquiries concerning Fitzalan, and the
affectionate manner in which he mentioned him was truly pleasing to
Oscar. "He had once," he said, "saved his life at the imminent danger of
his own, and it was an obligation, while that life remained, he could
not forget."

Like Don Guzman in Gil Blas, the general delighted in fighting over his
battles, and now proceeded to enumerate many incidents which happened
during the American war, when he and Fitzalan served in the same
regiment. Oscar could well have dispensed with such an enumeration; but
the general, who had no idea that he was not as much delighted in
listening as he was in speaking, still went on. Adela had been watching
them some time; her patience at length, like Oscar's, being exhausted,
she ran forward and told her father "he must not detain him another
minute, for they were going upon the lake; and you know, papa," cried
she, "against we come back, you can have all your battles arranged in
proper form, though, by the bye, I don't think it is the business of an
old soldier to intimidate a young one with such dreadful tales of iron
wars." The general called her saucy baggage, kissed her with rapture,
and saw her trip off with his young friend, who seized the favorable
opportunity to engage her for the first set in the evening. About four
the company assembled in the Abbey to dinner; the band played during the
repast, the toasts were proclaimed by sound of trumpet, and answered by
an immediate discharge from the Mount. At six the ladies returned to
Woodlawn to change their dresses for the ball, and now

  "Awful beauty put on all its charms."

Tea and coffee were served in the respective rooms, and by eleven the
ballroom was completely crowded with company, at once brilliant and
lively, particularly the gentlemen, who were not a little elevated by
the general's potent libations to the glorious memory of him whose
victory they were celebrating.

Adela, adorned in a style superior to what Oscar had yet seen, appeared
more lovely than he had even at first thought her; her dress, which was
of thin muslin, spangled, was so contrived as to give a kind of aerial
lightness to her figure. Oscar reminded her of the promise of the
morning, at the very moment the colonel approached for the purpose of
engaging her. She instantly informed him of her engagement to Mr.
Fitzalan. "Mr. Fitzalan!" repeated the colonel, with the haughty air of
a man who thought he had reason to be offended: "he has been rather
precipitate, indeed; but, though we may envy, who shall wonder at his
anxiety to engage Miss Honeywood?"

Dancing now commenced, and the elegant figure of Adela never appeared to
greater advantage; the transported general watched every movement, and,
"incomparable, by Jove!--what a sweet angel she is!" were expressions
of admiration which involuntarily broke from him in the pride and
fondness of his heart. Oscar, too, whose figure was remarkably fine,
shared his admiration, and he declared to Colonel Belgrave, he did not
think the world could produce such another couple. This assertion was by
no means pleasing to the Colonel; he possessed as much vanity, perhaps,
as ever fell to the share of a young belle conscious of perfections, and
detested the idea of having any competitor (at least such a powerful one
as Oscar) in the good graces of the ladies. Adela, having concluded the
dance, complained of fatigue, and retired to an alcove, whither Oscar
followed her. The window commanded a view of the lake, the little
island, and the ruined Abbey; the moon in full splendor cast her silvery
light over all those objects, giving a softness to the landscape, even
more pleasing than the glowing charms it had derived from the radiancy
of day. Adela in dancing had dropped the bandeau from her hair; Oscar
took it up, and still retained it. Adela now stretched forth her hand to
take it. "Allow me," cried he, gently taking her hand, "to keep it;
to-morrow you would cast it away as a trifle, but I would treasure it as
a relic of inestimable value; let me have some memento of the charming
hours I have passed to-day." "Oh, a truce," said Adela, "with such
expressions (who did not, however, oppose his putting her bandeau in his
bosom); they are quite commonplace, and have already been repeated to
hundreds, and will again, I make no doubt." "This is your opinion?"
"Yes, really." "Oh, would to Heaven," exclaimed Oscar, "I durst convince
you how mistaken a one it is." Adela, laughing, assured him that would
be a difficult matter. Oscar grew pensive. "I think," cried he, "if
oppressed by misfortune, I should of all places on earth like a
seclusion in the old Abbey." "Why, really," said Adela, "it is tolerably
calculated for a hermitage; and if you take a solitary whim, I beg I may
be apprised of it in time, as I should receive peculiar pleasure in
preparing your mossy couch and frugal fare." "The reason for my liking
it," replied he, "would be the prospect I should have from it of
Woodlawn." "And does Woodlawn," asked Adela, "contain such particular
charms, as to render a view of it so very delightful?"

At this moment they were summoned to call a new dance--a summons,
perhaps, not agreeable to either, as it interrupted an interesting
_tete-à-tete_. The colonel engaged Adela for the next set; and though
Oscar had no longer an inclination to dance, to avoid particularity he
stood up, and with a young lady who was esteemed extremely handsome.
Adela, as if fatigued, no longer moved with animation, and suddenly
interrupted the colonel in a gallant speech he was making to her, to
inquire, if he thought Miss O'Neal (Oscar's partner) pretty--so very
pretty as she was generally thought? The colonel was too keen not to
discover at once the motive which suggested this inquiry. "Why, faith,"
cried he after examining Miss O'Neal some minutes through an opera
glass, "the girl has charms, but so totally eclipsed," looking
languishingly at Adela, "in my eyes, that I cannot do them the justice
they may perhaps merit: Fitzalan, however, by the homage he pays her,
seems as if he would make up for the deficiency of every other person."
Adela turned pale, and took the first opportunity of demanding her
bandeau from Oscar; he, smilingly, refused it, declaring it was a trophy
of the happiness he had enjoyed that day, and that the general should
have informed her a soldier never relinquished such a glorious memento.
"Resign mine," replied Adela, "and procure one from Miss O'Neal."--"No!"
cried he, "I would not pay her charms and my own sincerity so bad a
compliment, as to ask what I should not in the least degree value."
Adela's spirits revived, and she repeated her request no more.

The dancing continued after supper, with little intermission, till
seven, when the company repaired to the saloon to breakfast, after which
they dispersed. The general particularly and affectionately bid Oscar
farewell, and charged him to consider Woodlawn as his head-quarters. "Be
assured," said the good-natured old man, "the son of my brave, worthy,
and long-respected friend, will ever be valuable to my heart and welcome
to my home; and would to heaven, in the calm evening of life, your
father and I had pitched our tents nearer each other."

From this period Oscar became almost an inmate of his house, and the
general shortly grew so attached to him, that he felt unhappy if
deprived of his society; the attentions he received from Oscar were such
as an affectionate son would pay a tender father; he supported his
venerable friend whenever he attempted to walk, attended him in all the
excursions he made about his domain, read to him when he wanted to be
lulled to sleep, and listened, without betraying any symptoms of
fatigue, to his long and often truly tiresome stories of former battles
and campaigns; in paying these attentions Oscar obeyed the dictates of
gratitude and esteem, and also gratified a benevolent disposition, happy
in being able

  "To rock the cradle of declining age."

But his time was not so entirely engrossed by the general as to prevent
his having many hours to devote to Adela; with her he alternately
conversed, read, and sung, rambled with her through romantic paths, or
rode along the beautiful borders of Lough Erne; was almost her constant
escort to all the parties she went to in the neighborhood, and
frequently accompanied her to the hovels of wretchedness, where the woes
which extorted the soft tear of commiseration he saw amply relieved by
her generous hand; admiring her as he did before, how impossible was it
for Oscar, in these dangerous _tete-à-tetes_, to resist the progress of
a tender passion--a passion, however, confined (as far at least as
silence could confine it) to his own heart. The confidence which he
thought the general reposed in him, by allowing such an intercourse with
his daughter, was too sacred in his estimation to be abused; but though
his honor resisted, his health yielded to his feelings.

Adela, from delighting in company, suddenly took a pensive turn; she
declined the constant society she had hitherto kept up, and seemed in a
solitary ramble with Oscar to enjoy more pleasure than the gayest party
appeared to afford her; the favorite spot they visited almost every
evening was a path on the margin of the lake, at the foot of a woody
mountain; here often seated, they viewed the sun sinking behind the
opposite hills; and while they enjoyed the benignancy of his departing
beams, beheld him tinge the trembling waves with gold and purple; the
low whistle of the ploughman returning to his humble cottage, the
plaintive carol of birds from the adjacent grove, and the low bleating
of cattle from pastures which swelled above the water, all these, by
giving the softest and most pleasing charms of nature to the hour,
contrived to touch, yet more sensibly, hearts already prepossessed in
favor of each other. Adela would sometimes sing a little simple air, and
carelessly leaning on the arm of Oscar, appear to enjoy perfect
felicity. Not so poor Oscar: the feelings of his soul at these moments
trembled on his lips, and to repress them was agony.

An incident soon occurred which endeared him yet more to the general.
Driving one day in a low phaeton along a road cut over a mountain, the
horses, frightened by a sudden firing from the lake, began rearing in
the most frightful manner; the carriage stood near a tremendous
precipice, and the servants, appalled by terror, had not power to move.
Oscar saw that nothing but an effort of desperate resolution could keep
them from destruction; he leaped out, and, rushing before the horses,
seized their heads, at the eminent hazard of being tumbled down the
precipice, on whose very verge he stood; the servants, a little relieved
from their terror, hastened to his assistance; the traces were cut, and
the poor general, whose infirmities had weakened his spirits, conveyed
home in almost a state of insensibility. Adela, perceiving him from her
dressing-room window, flew down, and learning his danger, fell upon his
neck in an agony of mingled joy and terror; her caresses soon revived
him, and as he returned them, his eyes eagerly sought his deliverer.
Oscar stood near, with mingled tenderness and anxiety in his looks; the
general took his hand, and whilst he pressed it along with Adela's to
his bosom, tears fell on them. "You are both my children!" he exclaimed;
"the children of my love, and from your felicity I must derive mine."
This expression Oscar conceived to be a mere effusion of gratitude,
little thinking what a project relative to him had entered the general's
head, who had first, however, consulted and learned from his daughter it
would be agreeable to her. This generous, some will say romantic, old
man, felt for Oscar the most unbounded love and gratitude, and as the
best proof of both, he resolved to bestow on this young soldier his rich
and lovely heiress, who had acknowledged to her father her predilection
for him. He knew his birth to be noble, his disposition amiable, and his
spirit brave; besides, by this union he should secure the society of
Adela. He wished her married, yet dreaded, whenever that event took
place, he should be deprived of her; but Oscar, he supposed, bound to
him by gratitude, would, unlike others, accede to his wishes of residing
at Woodlawn during his lifetime. His project he resolved on
communicating to Colonel Belgrave, whom, on Oscar's account, he
regarded, as Oscar had said (what indeed he believed), that he was
partly indebted to him for his commission.

What a thunder-stroke was this to Belgrave, who arrived at Woodlawn the
morning after the resolution was finally settled, and was asked to
accompany the general, about a little business, to the summer-house in
the garden. Poor Oscar trembled; he felt a presentiment he should be the
subject of discourse, and had no doubt but the general meant to complain
to Colonel Belgrave, as a person who had some authority over him, about
his great particularity to Miss Honeywood.

Rage, envy, and surprise, kept the colonel silent some minutes after the
general had ended speaking; dissimulation then came to his aid, and he
attempted, though in faltering accents, to express his admiration of
such generosity; yet to bestow such a treasure, so inestimable, on such
a man, when so many of equal rank and fortune sighed for its
possession; upon a man, too, or rather a boy, from whose age it might be
expected his affections would be variable. "Let me tell you, colonel,"
said the general, hastily interrupting him, and striking his stick upon
the ground, as he rose to return to the house, "there can be little
danger of his affections changing when such a girl as Adela is his wife;
so touch no more upon that subject, I entreat you; but you must break
the affair to the young fellow, for I should be in such a confounded
flurry I should set all in confusion, and beat an alarm at the first
onset."

The gloom and embarrassment which appeared in the countenance of the
colonel, filled Oscar with alarms; he imagined them excited by
friendship for him. After what the general had said, he sighed to hear
particulars, and longed, for the first time, to quit Woodlawn. The
colonel was indeed in a state of torture; he had long meditated the
conquest of Adela, whose fortune and beauty rendered her a truly
desirable object; to resign her without one effort of circumventing
Oscar was not to be thought of. To blast his promised joys, even if it
did not lead to the accomplishment of his own wishes, he felt would give
him some comfort, and he resolved to leave no means untried for doing
so.

They set off early in the morning for Enniskillen, and Belgrave sent his
servant on before them, that there might be no restraint on the
conversation he found Oscar inclined to begin.



CHAPTER XII.

                                "Sincerity!
   Thou first of virtues, let no mortal leave
   Thy onward path, although the earth should gape,
   And from the gulf of hell destruction cry
   To take dissimulation's winding way."--DOUGLAS.


"Well, colonel," said Oscar, "I fancy I was not mistaken in thinking the
general wanted to speak with you concerning me; I am convinced you will
not conceal any particulars of a conversation it may be so essential to
my honor to hear." "Why, faith," cried the colonel, delighted to
commence his operations, "he was making a kind of complaint about you;
he acknowledges you a brave lad, yet, hang him, he has not generosity
enough to reward that bravery with his daughter, or any of his
treasure." "Heaven is my witness!" exclaimed the unsuspicious Oscar, "I
never aspired to either; I always knew my passion for his daughter as
hopeless as fervent, and my esteem for him as disinterested as sincere;
I would have sooner died than abused the confidence he reposed in me, by
revealing my attachment; I see, however, in future, I must be an exile
to Woodlawn." "Not so, neither," replied the colonel; "only avoid such
particularity to the girl; I believe in my soul she has more pride than
susceptibility in her nature; in your next visit, therefore, which, for
that purpose, I would have you soon make, declare, in a cavalier manner,
your affections being engaged previous to your coming to Ireland; this
declaration will set all to rights with the general; he will no longer
dread you on his daughter's account; you will be as welcome as ever to
Woodlawn, and enjoy, during your continuance in the country, the society
you have hitherto been accustomed to." "No," said Oscar, "I cannot
assert so great a falsehood." "How ridiculous!" replied the colonel;
"for heaven's sake, my dear boy, drop such romantic notions; I should be
the last man in the world to desire you to invent a falsehood which
could injure any one; but no priest in Christendom would blame you for
this." "And suppose I venture it, what will it do but bind faster round
my heart chains already too galling, and destroy in the end all remains
of peace."

"Faith, Fitzalan," said the colonel, "by the time you have had a few
more love affairs with some of the pretty girls of this kingdom, you
will talk no more in this way; consider, and be not too scrupulous, how
disagreeable it will be to resign the general's friendship, and the
pleasing society you enjoyed at Woodlawn; besides, it will appear
strange to those who knew your former intimacy: in honor, too, you are
bound to do as I desire you, for should the girl have been imprudent
enough to conceive an attachment for you, this will certainly remove it;
for pride would not allow its continuance after hearing of a favorite
rival; and the general will be essentially served." "My dear colonel,"
said Oscar, his eyes suddenly sparkling, "do you think she has been
imprudent enough to conceive a partiality for me?" "I am sure," said the
colonel, "that is a question I cannot possibly answer; but, to give my
opinion, I think, from her gay, unembarrassed manner, she has not." "I
suppose not, indeed," cried Oscar, mournfully sighing; "why then should
I be guilty of a falsehood for a person who is already indifferent to
me?" "I have told you my reason," replied the colonel, coldly; "do as
you please." They were now both silent, but the conversation was soon
renewed, and many arguments passed on both sides. Oscar's heart secretly
favored the colonel's plan, as it promised the indulgence of Adela's
society; to be an exile from Woodlawn was insupportable to his thoughts;
reason yielded to the vehemence of passion, and he at last fell into the
snare the perfidious Belgrave had spread, thus, by a deviation from
truth, forfeiting the blessings a bounteous Providence had prepared for
him.

Oh! never let the child of integrity be seduced from the plain and
undeviating path of sincerity: oh! never let him hope by illicit means
to attain a real pleasure; the hope of obtaining any good through such
means will, like a meteor of the night, allure but to deceive.

Soon after his fatal promise to the colonel, a self-devoted victim, he
accompanied him to Woodlawn; on their arrival, Miss Honeywood was in the
garden, and Oscar, trembling, went to seek her; he found her sitting in
a flower-woven arbor--

  "Herself the fairest flower."

Never had she looked more lovely; the natural bloom of her cheeks was
heightened by the heat, and glowed beneath the careless curls that fell
over them; and her eyes, the moment she beheld Oscar, beamed with the
softest tenderness, the most bewitching sensibility. "My dear, dear
Fitzalan!" cried she, throwing aside the book she had been reading, and
extending her hand, "I am glad to see you; I hope you are come to take
up your residence for some time at Woodlawn." "You hope!" repeated
Oscar, mournfully. "I do, indeed! but, bless me, what is the matter? You
look so pale and thin, you look but the shadow of yourself, or rather
like a despairing shepherd, ready to hang himself on the first willow
tree he meets." "I am indeed unhappy!" cried Oscar; "nor will you wonder
at my being so when I acknowledge I at this present time feel a passion
which I must believe hopeless." "Hopeless! well, now, I insist on being
your confidant, and then," smiling somewhat archly, "I shall see what
reason you have to despair," "Agreed," exclaimed Oscar; "and now to my
story:" then pausing a minute, he started up. "No," continued he, "I
find it impossible to tell it----; let this dear, this estimable
object," drawing a miniature of his sister from his bosom, "speak for
me, and declare whether he who loves such a being can ever lose that
love, or help being wretched at knowing it is without hope."

Adela snatched if hastily from him, and by a sudden start betrayed her
surprise; words indeed are inadequate to express her heart-rending
emotions as she contemplated the beautiful countenance of her imaginary
rival: and was Oscar, then--that Oscar whom she adored--whose happiness
she had hoped to constitute--whose fortune she delighted to think she
should advance--really attached to another; alas! too true, he was--of
the attachment she held a convincing proof in her hand; she examined it
again and again, and in its mild beauties thought she beheld a striking
proof of the superiority over the charms she herself possessed; the
roses forsook her cheeks, a mist overspread her eyes, and with a
shivering horror she dropped it from her hand. Oscar had quitted the
arbor to conceal his agonies. "Well," said he, now returning with forced
calmness, "is it not worthy of inspiring the passion I feel?" Unable to
answer him, she could only point to the place where it lay, and hastened
to the house. "Sweet image!" cried Oscar, taking it from the ground,
"what an unworthy purpose have I made you answer!--alas! all is now
over--Adela--my Adela!--is lost forever!--lost--ah, heavens! had I ever
hopes of possessing her?--oh, no! to such happiness never did I dare to
look forward."

Adela, on reaching the parlor which opened into the garden, found her
father there. "Ah! you little baggage, do I not deserve a kiss for not
disturbing your _tete-à-tete_? Where is that young rogue, Fitzalan?" "I
beg, I entreat, sir," said Adela, whose tears could no longer be
restrained, "you will never mention him again to me; too much has
already been said about him." "Nay, pr'ythee, my little girl," exclaimed
the general, regarding her with surprise, "cease thy sighs and tears,
and tell me what's the matter." "I am hurt," replied she, in a voice
scarcely articulate, "that so much has been said about Mr. Fitzalan,
whom I can never regard in any other light than that of a common
acquaintance." The colonel, who had purposely lingered about the wood,
now entered. Adela started, and precipitately retreated through another
door. "Faith, my dear colonel," said the general, "I am glad you are
come; the boy and girl have had a little skirmish; but, like other love
quarrels, I suppose it will soon be made up--so let me know how the lad
bore the announcement of his good fortune." "It fills a rational mind
with regret," exclaimed the colonel, seating himself gravely, and
inwardly rejoicing at the success of his stratagem, "to find such a
fatality prevalent among mankind as makes them reject a proffered good,
and sigh for that which is unattainable; like wayward children,
neglecting their sports to pursue a rainbow, and weeping as the airy
pageant mocks their grasp." "Very true, indeed," said the general; "very
excellent, upon my word; I doubt if the chaplain of a regiment ever
delivered such a pretty piece of morality; but, dear colonel," laying
his hand on his knee, "what did the boy say?" "I am sorry, sir," he
replied, "that what I have just said is so applicable to him. He
acknowledged the lady's merit, extolled her generosity--but pleaded a
prior attachment against accepting your offer, which even one more
exalted would not tempt him to forego, though he knows not whether he
will ever succeed in it." "The devil he did!" exclaimed the general, as
soon as rage and surprise would allow him to speak. "The little
impertinent puppy! the ungrateful young dog! a prior attachment!--reject
my girl--my Adela--who has had such suitors already; so, I suppose I
shall have the whole affair blazed about the country; I shall hear from
every quarter how my daughter was refused; and by whom?--why, by a
little ensign, whose whole fortune lies in his sword-knot. A fine game I
have played, truly; but if the jackanapes opens his lips about the
matter, may powder be my poison if I do not trim his jacket for him!"
"Dear general," said the colonel, "you may depend on his honor; but even
supposing he did mention the affair, surely you should know it would not
be in his power to injure Miss Honeywood--amiable--accomplished--in
short, possessed, as she is, of every perfection. I know men, at least
one man of consequence, both from birth and fortune, who has long sighed
for her, and who would, if he received the least encouragement, openly
avow his sentiments." "Well," cried the general, still panting for
breath, "we will talk about him at some future time; for I am resolved
on soon having my little girl married, and to her own liking, too."

Oscar and Adela did not appear till dinner time; both had been
endeavoring to regain composure; but poor Oscar had been far less
successful than Adela in the attempt; not that she loved less, for
indeed her passion for him was of the tenderest nature, and she
flattered herself with having inspired one equally ardent in his breast.
Sanctioned by her father, she thought it would constitute the felicity
of their lives, and looked forward with a generous delight to the period
when she should render her beloved Fitzalan prosperous and independent.
The disappointment she experienced, as the first she had ever met, sat
heavy on her heart, and the gay visions of youth were in one moment
clouded by melancholy; but her pride was as great as sensibility, and as
its powerful impulse, pervaded her mind. She resolved to afford Oscar
no triumph by letting him witness her dejection; she therefore wiped
away all traces of tears from her eyes, checked the vain sigh that
struggled at her heart, and dressed herself with as much attention as
ever. Her heavy eyes, her colorless cheeks, however, denoted her
feelings; she tried, as she sat at table, to appear cheerful, but in
vain; and, on the removal of the cloth, immediately retired, as no
ladies were present.

The general was a stranger to dissimulation, and as he no longer felt,
he no longer treated Oscar with his usual kindness. When pale,
trembling, and disordered, he appeared before him, he received him with
a stern frown, and an air scarcely complaisant. This increased the
agitation of Oscar: every feeling of his soul was in commotion; he was
no longer the life of their company; their happiness and mirth formed a
striking contrast to his misery and dejection; he felt a forlorn
wretch--a mere child of sorrow and dependence; scalding tears dropped
from him as he bent over his plate; he could have cursed himself for
such weakness: fortunately it was unnoticed. In losing the general's
attention, he seemed to lose that of his guests; his situation grew too
irksome to be borne; he rose, unregarded, and a secret impulse led him
to the drawing-room. Here Adela, oppressed by the dejection of her
spirits, had flung! herself upon a couch, and gradually sunk into a
slumber: Oscar stepped lightly forward, and gazed on her with a
tenderness as exquisite as a mother would have felt in viewing her
sleeping babe; her cheek, which rested on her fair hand, was tinged with
a blush, by the reflection of a crimson curtain through which the sun
darted, and the traces of a tear were yet discernible upon it. "Never!"
cried Oscar, with folded hands; as he hung over the interesting figure,
"never may any tear, except that of soft sensibility for the woes of
others, bedew the cheek of Adela--perfect as her goodness be her
felicity--may every blessing she now enjoys be rendered permanent by
that Power who smiles benignly upon innocence like hers! Oh! Adela, he
who now prays for your felicity never will lose your idea, he will
cherish it in his heart, to ameliorate his sorrows, and, from the dreary
path which may be appointed for him to tread, sometimes look back to
happier scenes!" Adela began to stir; she murmured out some inarticulate
words, and, suddenly rising from the couch, beheld the motionless form
of Fitzalan: haughtily regarding him, she asked the meaning of such an
intrusion. "I did not mean indeed to intrude," said he; "but when I came
and found you, can you wonder at my being fascinated to the spot?" The
plaintive tone of his voice sunk deep into Adela's heart; she sighed
heavily, and turning away seated herself in a window. Oscar followed; he
forgot the character he had assumed in the morning, and gently seizing
her hand, pressed it to his bosom: at this critical minute, when mutual
sympathy appeared on the point of triumphing over duplicity, the door
opened, and Colonel Belgrave appeared; from the instant of Oscar's
departure, he had been on thorns to follow him, fearful of the
consequences of a _tete-à-tete_, which was attended by the rest of the
gentlemen.

Oscar was determined on not staying another night at Woodlawn, and
declared his intention by asking Colonel Belgrave if he had any commands
for Enniskillen, whither he meant to return immediately. "Why, hang it,
boy," cried the general, in a rough grumbling voice, "since you have
stayed so long, you may as well stay the night; the clouds look heavy
over the lake, and threaten a storm." "No, sir," said Oscar, coloring,
and speaking in the agitation of his heart, "the raging of a tempest
would not make me stay." Adela sighed, but pride prevented her speaking.
Fitzalan approached her: "Miss Honeywood," said he--he stopped--his
voice was quite stifled. Adela, equally unable to speak, could only
encourage him to proceed by a cold glance. "Lest I should not," resumed
he, "have the happiness of again visiting Woodlawn, I cannot neglect
this opportunity of assuring you that the attention, the obligations I
have received in it, never can be forgotten by me; and that the severest
pang my heart could possibly experience would result from thinking I
lost any part of the friendship you and the general honored me with."
Adela bent her head, and Oscar, seeing that she either would not, or
could not speak, bowed to the general, and hurried from the room; the
tears he had painfully suppressed gushed forth, and at the bottom of the
stairs he leaned against the banisters for support; while he cast his
eyes around, as if bidding a melancholy farewell to the scene of former
happiness, a hasty footstep advanced, he started, and was precipitately
retreating, when the voice of the butler stopped him; this was an old
veteran, much attached to Oscar, and his usual attendant in all his
fowling and fishing parties. As he waited at tea, he heard Oscar's
declaration of departing with surprise, and followed him for the purpose
of expressing that and his concern. "Why, Lord now, Mr. Fitzalan," cried
he, "what do you mean by leaving us so oddly? But if you are so positive
about going to Enniskillen to-night, let me order Standard to be
prepared for you." Oscar for some time had had the command of the
stables; but knowing as he did that he had lost the general's favor, he
could no longer think of taking those liberties which kindness had once
invited him to: he wrung the hand of his humble friend, and snatching
his hat from the hall table, darted out of the house: he ran till he
came to the mountain path, on the margin of the lake. "Never," cried he,
distractedly striking his breast, "shall I see her here again! oh,
never, never, my beloved Adela! shall your unfortunate Fitzalan wander
with you through those enchanting scenes: oh, how transient was this
gleam of felicity!"

Exhausted by the violence of his feelings, he fell into a kind of torpid
state against the side of the mountain; the shadows of night were
thickened by a coming storm; a cool blast howled amongst the hills, and
agitated the gloomy waters of the lake; the rain, accompanied by sleet,
began to fall, but the tempest raged unregarded around the child of
sorrow, the wanderer of the night. Adela alone,

  "Heard, felt, or seen,"

pervaded every thought. Some fishermen approaching to secure their
boats, drove him from this situation, and he flew to the woods which
screened one side of the house: by the time he reached it the storm had
abated, and the moon, with a watery lustre, breaking through the clouds,
rendered, by her feeble rays, the surrounding and beloved scenes just
visible.

Adela's chamber looked into the wood, and the light from it riveted
Oscar to a spot exactly opposite the window. "My Adela," he exclaimed,
extending his arms as if she could have heard and flown into them; then
dejectedly dropping them, "she thinks not on such a forlorn wretch as
me; oh, what comfort to lay my poor distracted head for one moment on
her soft bosom, and hear her sweet voice speak pity to my tortured
heart!" Sinking with weakness from the conflicts of his mind, he sought
an old roofless root-house in the centre of the wood, where he and Adela
had often sat. "Well," said he, as he flung himself upon the damp
ground, "many a brave fellow has had a worse bed; but God particularly
protects the unsheltered head of the soldier and the afflicted." The
twittering of the birds roused him from an uneasy slumber, or rather
lethargy, into which he had fallen; and starting up he hastened to the
road, fearful, as day was beginning to dawn, of being seen by any of
General Honeywood's workmen. It was late ere he arrived at Enniskillen,
and before he gained his room he was met by some of the officers, who
viewed him with evident astonishment; his regimentals were quite
spoiled; his fine hair, from which the rain had washed all the powder,
hung dishevelled about his shoulders; the feather of his hat was broken,
and the disorder of his countenance was not less suspicious than that of
his dress; to their inquiries he stammered out something of a fall, and
extricated himself with difficulty from them.

In an obscure village, fifteen miles from Enniskillen, a detachment of
the regiment lay; the officer who commanded it disliked his situation
extremely; but company being irksome to Oscar, it was just such a one as
he desired, and he obtained leave to relieve him: the agitation of his
mind, aided by the effects of the storm he had been exposed to, was too
much for his constitution: immediately on arriving at his new quarters
he was seized with a violent fever; an officer was obliged to be sent to
do duty in his place, and it was long ere any symptoms appeared which
could flatter those who attended him with hopes of his recovery; when
able to sit up he was ordered to return to Enniskillen, where he could
be immediately under the care of the regimental surgeon.

Oscar's servant accompanied him in the carriage, and as it drove slowly
along he was agreeably surprised by a view of Mrs. Marlowe's orchard; he
could not resist the wish of seeing her, and making inquiries relative
to the inhabitants of Woodlawn; for with Mrs. Marlowe, I should
previously say, he had not only formed an intimacy, but a sincere
friendship. She was a woman of the most pleasing manners, and to her
superintending care Adela was indebted for many of the graces she
possessed, and at her cottage passed many delightful hours with Oscar.

The evening was far advanced when Oscar reached the orchard, and leaning
on his servant, slowly walked up the hill: had a spectre appeared before
the old lady, she could not have seemed more shocked than she now did,
at the unexpected and emaciated appearance of her young friend. With all
the tenderness of a fond mother, she pressed his cold hands between her
own, and seated him by the cheerful fire which blazed on her hearth,
then procured him refreshments that, joined to her conversation, a
little revived his spirits; yet, at this moment the recollection of the
first interview he ever had with her, recurred with pain to his heart.
"Our friends at Woodlawn, I hope," cried he--he paused--but his eye
expressed the inquiry his tongue was unable to make. "They are well and
happy," replied Mrs. Marlowe; "and you know, I suppose, of all that has
lately happened there?" "No, I know nothing; I am as one awoke from the
slumbers of the grave." "Ere I inform you, then," cried Mrs. Marlowe,
"let me, my noble Oscar, express my approbation, my admiration of your
conduct, of that disinterested nature which preferred the preservation
of constancy to the splendid independency offered to your acceptance."
"What splendid independency did I refuse?" asked Oscar, wildly staring
at her. "That which the general offered." "The general!" "Yes, and
appointed Colonel Belgrave to declare his intentions." "Oh Heavens!"
exclaimed Oscar, starting from his chair; "did the general indeed form
such intentions, and has Belgrave then deceived me? He told me my
attentions to Miss Honeywood were noticed and disliked! he filled my
soul with unutterable anguish, and persuaded me to a false-hood which
has plunged me into despair!" "He is a monster!" cried Mrs. Marlowe,
"and you are a victim to his treachery." "Oh no! I will fly to the
general, and open my whole soul to him; at his feet I will declare the
false ideas of honor which misled me; I shall obtain his forgiveness,
and Adela will yet be mine." "Alas! my child," cried Mrs. Marlowe,
stopping him as he was hurrying from the room, "it is now too late;
Adela can never be yours; she is married, and married unto Belgrave."
Oscar staggered back a few paces, uttered a deep groan, and fell
senseless at her feet. Mrs. Marlowe's cries brought in his servant, as
well as her own, to his assistance; he was laid upon a bed, but it was
long ere he showed any signs of recovery; at length, opening his heavy
eyes, he sighed deeply, and exclaimed, "she is lost to me forever!"

The servants were dismissed, and the tender-hearted Mrs. Marlowe knelt
beside him. "Oh! my friend," said she, "my heart sympathizes in your
sorrow; but it is from your own fortitude, more than my sympathy, you
must now derive resources of support." "Oh, horrible! to know the cup of
happiness was at my lips, and that it was my own hand dashed it from
me." "Such, alas!" said Mrs. Marlowe, sighing, as if touched at the
moment with a similar pang of self-regret, "is the way-wardness of
mortals; too often do they deprive themselves of the blessings of a
bounteous Providence by their own folly and imprudence--oh! my friend,
born as you were with a noble ingenuity of soul, never let that soul
again be sullied by the smallest deviation from sincerity." "Do not
aggravate my sufferings," said Oscar, "by dwelling on my error." "No, I
would sooner die than be guilty of such barbarity; but admonition never
sinks so deeply on the heart as in the hour of trial. Young, amiable as
you are, life teems, I doubt not, with various blessings to
you--blessings which you will know how to value properly, for early
disappointment is the nurse of wisdom." "Alas!" exclaimed he, "what
blessings?" "These, at least," cried Mrs. Marlowe, "are in your own
power--the peace, the happiness, which ever proceeds from a mind
conscious of having discharged the incumbent duties of life, and
patiently submitted to its trials." "But do you think I will calmly
submit to his baseness?" said Oscar, interrupting her. "No; Belgrave
shall never triumph over me with impunity!" He started from the bed,
and, rushing into the outer room, snatched his sword from the table on
which he had flung it at his entrance. Mrs. Marlowe caught his arm.
"Rash young man!" exclaimed she, "whither would you go--is it to scatter
ruin and desolation around you? Suppose your vengeance was gratified,
would that restore your happiness? Think you that Adela, the child of
virtue and propriety, would ever notice the murderer of her husband, how
unworthy, soever, that husband might be? Or that the old general, who so
fondly planned your felicity, would forgive, if he could survive, the
evils of his house, occasioned by you?" The sword dropped from the hand
of the trembling Oscar. "I have been blameable," cried he, "in allowing
myself to be transported to such an effort of revenge; I forgot
everything but that; and as to my own life, deprived of Adela, it
appears so gloomy as to be scarcely worth preserving."

Mrs. Marlowe seized this moment of yielding softness to advise and
reason with him; her tears mingled with his, as she listened to his
relation of Belgrave's perfidy; tears augmented by reflecting that
Adela, the darling of her care and affections, was also a victim to it.
She convinced Oscar, however, that it would be prudent to confine the
fatal secret to their own breasts; the agitation of his mind was too
much for the weak state of his health; the fever returned, and he felt
unable to quit the cottage; Mrs. Marlowe prepared a bed for him,
trusting he would soon be able to remove, but she was disappointed; it
was long ere Oscar could quit the bed of sickness; she watched over him
with maternal tenderness, while he, like a blasted flower, seemed
hastening to decay.

The general was stung to the soul by the rejection of his offer, which
he thought would have inspired the soul of Oscar with rapture and
gratitude; never had his pride been so severely wounded--never before
had he felt humbled in his own eyes: his mortifying reflections the
colonel soon found means to remove, by the most delicate flattery, and
the most assiduous attention, assuring the general that his conduct
merited not the censure, but the applause of the world. The sophistry
which can reconcile us to ourselves is truly pleasing; the colonel
gradually became a favorite, and when he insinuated his attachment for
Adela, was assured he should have all the general's interest with her.
He was now more anxious than ever to have her advantageously settled;
there was something so humiliating in the idea of her being rejected,
that it drove him at times almost to madness: the colonel possessed all
the advantages of fortune; but these weighed little in his favor with
the general (whose notions we have already proved very disinterested),
and much less with his daughter; on the first overture about him she
requested the subject might be entirely dropped; the mention of love was
extremely painful to her. Wounded by her disappointment in the severest
manner, her heart required time to heal it; her feelings delicacy
confined to her own bosom; but her languid eyes, and faded cheeks,
denoted their poignancy. She avoided company, and was perpetually
wandering through the romantic and solitary paths which she and Oscar
had trod together; here more than ever she thought of him, and feared
she had treated her poor companion unkindly; she saw him oppressed with
sadness, and yet she had driven him from her by the repulsive coldness
of her manner--a manner, too, which, from its being so suddenly assumed,
could not fail of conveying an idea of her disappointment; this hurt her
delicacy as much as her tenderness, and she would have given worlds, had
she possessed them, to recall the time when she could have afforded
consolation to Oscar, and convinced him that solely as a friend she
regarded him. The colonel was not discouraged by her coldness; he was in
the habit of conquering difficulties, and doubted not that he should
overcome any she threw in his way; he sometimes, as if by chance,
contrived to meet her in her rambles; his conversation was always
amusing, and confined within the limits she had prescribed; but his
eyes, by the tenderest expression, declared the pain he suffered from
this proscription, and secretly pleased Adela, as it convinced her of
the implicit deference he paid to her will.

Some weeks had elapsed since Oscar's voluntary exile from Woodlawn, and
sanguine as were the colonel's hopes, he found without a stratagem they
would not be realized, at least as soon as he expected: fertile in
invention, he was not long in concerting one. He followed Adela one
morning into the garden, and found her reading in the arbor; she laid
aside the book at his entrance, and they chatted for some time on
indifferent subjects. The colonel's servant at last appeared with a
large packet of letters, which he presented to his master, who, with a
hesitating air, was about putting them into his pocket, when Adela
prevented him:--"Make no ceremony, colonel," said she, "with me; I shall
resume my book till you have perused your letters." The colonel bowed
for her permission and began; her attention was soon drawn from her book
by the sudden emotion he betrayed; he started, and exclaimed, "Oh
heavens! what a wretch!" then, as if suddenly recollecting his
situation, looked at Adela, appeared confused, stammered out a few
inarticulate words, and resumed his letter; when finished, he seemed to
put it into his pocket, but in reality dropped it at his feet for the
basest purpose. He ran over the remainder of the letters, and rising,
entreated Adela to excuse his leaving her so abruptly, to answer some of
them. Soon after his departure, Adela perceived an open letter lying at
her feet; she immediately took it up with an intention of returning to
the house with it, when the sight of her own name, in capital letters,
and in the well-known hand of Fitzalan, struck her sight; she threw the
letter on the table; an universal tremor seized her; she would have
given any consideration to know why she was mentioned in a
correspondence between Belgrave and Fitzalan: her eye involuntarily
glanced at the letter; she saw some words in it which excited still more
strongly her curiosity; it could no longer be repressed; she snatched it
up, and read as follows:--

    TO COLONEL BELGRAVE.

    You accuse me of insensibility to, what you call the matchless
    charms of Adela, an accusation I acknowledge I merit; but why,
    because I have been too susceptible to those of another, which
    in the fond estimation of a lover (at least), appear infinitely
    superior. The general's offer was certainly a most generous and
    flattering one, and has gratified every feeling of my soul, by
    giving me an opportunity of sacrificing, at the shrine of love,
    ambition and self-interest; my disinterested conduct has
    confirmed me in the affections of my dear girl, whose vanity I
    cannot help thinking a little elevated by the triumph I have
    told her she obtained over Adela; but this is excusable indeed
    when we consider the object I relinquished for her. Would to
    heaven the general was propitious to your wishes; it would yield
    me much happiness to see you, my first and best friend, in
    possession of a treasure you have long sighed for. I shall, no
    doubt, receive a long lecture from you for letting the affair
    relative to Adela be made known, but faith, I could not resist
    telling my charmer. Heaven grant discretion may seal her lips;
    if not, I suppose I shall be summoned to formidable combat with
    the old general. Adieu! and believe me,

    Dear colonel, ever yours,

    OSCAR FITZALAN.

"Wretch!" cried the agitated Adela, dropping the letter (which it is
scarcely necessary to say was an infamous forgery) in an agony of grief
and indignation, "is this the base return we meet for our wishes to
raise you to prosperity? Oh! cruel Fitzalan, is it Adela--who thought
you so amiable, and who never thoroughly valued wealth, till she
believed it had given her the power of conducing to your felicity--whom
you hold up as an object of ridicule for unfeeling vanity to triumph
over?" Wounded pride and tenderness raised a whirl of contending
passions in her breast; she sunk upon the bench, her head rested on her
hand, and sighs and tears burst from her. She now resolved to inform
Fitzalan she knew the baseness of his conduct, and sting his heart with
keen reproaches: now resolved to pass it over in silent contempt. While
thus fluctuating, the colonel softly advanced and stood before her: in
the tumult of her mind she had quite forgot the probability of his
returning, and involuntarily screamed and started at his appearance. By
her confusion, she doubted not but he would suspect her of having
perused the fatal letter. Oppressed by the idea, her head sunk on her
bosom, and her face was covered with blushes. "What a careless fellow I
am!" said the colonel, taking up the letter, which he then pretended to
perceive; he glanced at Adela. "Curse it!" continued he, "I would rather
have had all the letters read than this one." He suspects me, thought
Adela; her blushes faded, and she fell back on her seat, unable to
support the oppressive idea of having acted against the rules of
propriety. Belgrave flew to support her: "Loveliest of women!" he
exclaimed, and with all the softness he could assume, "what means this
agitation?" "I have been suddenly affected," answered Adela, a little
recovering, and, rising, she motioned to return to the house. "Thus,"
answered the colonel, "you always fly me; but go, Miss Honeywood; I have
no right, no attraction, indeed, to detain you: yet, be assured," and he
summoned a tear to his aid, while he pressed her hand to his bosom, "a
heart more truly devoted to you than mine you can never meet; but I see
the subject is painful, and again I resume the rigid silence you have
imposed on me; go, then, most lovely and beloved, and since I dare not
aspire to a higher, allow me, at least, the title of your friend."
"Most willingly," said Adela, penetrated by his gentleness. She was now
tolerably recovered, and he prevailed on her to walk instead of
returning to the house; she felt soothed by his attention; his insidious
tongue dropped manna; he gradually stole her thoughts from painful
recollections; the implicit respect he paid her will flattered her
wounded pride, and her gratitude was excited by knowing he resented the
disrespectful mention of her name in Fitzalan's letter; in short, she
felt esteem and respect for him--contempt and resentment for Oscar. The
colonel was too penetrating not to discover her sentiments, and too
artful not to take advantage of them. Had Adela, indeed, obeyed the real
feelings of her heart, she would have declared against marrying; but
pride urged her to a step which would prove to Fitzalan his conduct had
not affected her. The general rejoiced at obtaining her consent, and
received a promise that for some time she should not be separated from
him. The most splendid preparations were made for the nuptials; but
though Adela's resentment remained unabated, she soon began to wish she
had not been so precipitate in obeying it; an involuntary repugnance
rose in her mind against the connection she was about forming, and honor
alone kept her from declining it forever: her beloved friend, Mrs.
Marlowe, supported her throughout the trying occasion, and, in an
inauspicious hour, Adela gave her hand to the perfidious Belgrave.

About a fortnight after her nuptials, she heard from some of the
officers of Oscar's illness; she blushed at his name. "Faith," cried one
of them, "Mrs. Marlowe is a charming woman; it is well he got into such
snug quarters: I really believe elsewhere he would have given up the
ghost." "Poor fellow," said Adela, sighing heavily, yet without being
sensible of it. Belgrave rose, he caught her eye, a dark frown lowered
on his brow, and he looked as if he would pierce into the recesses of
her heart: she shuddered, and for the first time, felt the tyranny she
had imposed upon herself. As Mrs. Marlowe chose to be silent on the
subject, she resolved not to mention it to her; but she sent every day
to invite her to Woodlawn, expecting by this to hear something of Oscar;
but she was disappointed. At the end of a fortnight, Mrs. Marlowe made
her appearance; she looked pale and thin. Adela gently reproved her for
her long absence, trusting this would oblige her to allege the reason of
it; but no such thing. Mrs. Marlowe began to converse on indifferent
subjects; Adela suddenly grew peevish, and sullenly sat at her work.

In a few days after Mrs. Marlowe's visit, Adela, one evening immediately
after dinner, ordered the carriage to the cottage; by this time she
supposed Oscar had left it, and flattered herself, in the course of
conversation, she should learn whether he was perfectly recovered ere he
departed. Proposing to surprise her friend, she stole by a winding path
to the cottage, and softly opened the parlor door; but what were her
feelings, when she perceived Oscar sitting at the fireside with Mrs.
Marlowe, engaged in a deep conversation! She stopped, unable to advance.
Mrs. Marlowe embraced and led her forward. The emotions of Oscar were
not inferior to Adela's. He attempted to rise, but could not. A glance
from the expressive eyes of Mrs. Marlowe, which seemed to conjure him
not to yield to a weakness which would betray his real sentiments to
Adela, somewhat reanimated him. He rose, and tremblingly approached her.
"Allow me, madam," cried he, "to----" The sentence died unfinished on
his lips; he had not power to offer congratulations on an event which
had probably destroyed the happiness of Adela, as well as his own. "Oh!
a truce with compliments," said Mrs. Marlowe, forcing herself to assume
a cheerful air; "prithee, good folks, let us be seated, and enjoy, this
cold evening, the comforts of a good fire." She forced the trembling,
the almost fainting, Adela to take some wine, and by degrees the flutter
of her spirits and Oscar's abated, but the sadness of their
countenances, the anguish of their souls, increased. The cold formality,
the distant reserve they both assumed, filled each with sorrow and
regret. So pale, so emaciated, so woe-begone did Fitzalan appear, so
much the son of sorrow and despair, that had he half murdered Adela, she
could not at that moment have felt for him any other sentiments than
those of pity and compassion. Mrs. Marlowe, in a laughing way, told her
of the troubles she had had with him: "for which, I assure you," said
she, "he rewards me badly; for the moment he was enlarged from the
nursery, he either forgot or neglected all the rules I had laid down for
him. Pray do join your commands to mine, and charge him to take more
care of himself." "I would, most willingly," cried Adela, "if I thought
they would influence him to do so." "Influence!" repeated Oscar,
emphatically; "oh, heavens!" then starting up, he hurried to the window,
as if to hide and to indulge his melancholy. The scene he viewed from it
was dreary and desolate. It was now the latter end of autumn; the
evening was cold, a savage blast howled from the hills, and the sky was
darkened by a coming storm. Mrs. Marlowe roused him from his deep
reverie. "I am sure," said she, "the prospect you view from the window
can have no great attractions at present." "And yet," cried he, "there
is something sadly pleasing in it: the leafless trees, the fading
flowers of autumn, excite in my bosom a kind of mournful sympathy; they
are emblems to me of him whose tenderest hopes have been disappointed;
but, unlike him, they, after a short period, shall again flourish with
primeval beauty." "Nonsense," exclaimed Mrs. Marlowe; "your illness has
affected your spirits; but this gloom will vanish long before my orchard
reassumes its smiling appearance, and haply attracts another smart
redcoat to visit an old woman." "Oh! with what an enthusiasm of
tenderness," cried Oscar, "shall I ever remember the dear, though
dangerous, moment I first entered this cottage!" "Now, no flattery,
Oscar," said Mrs. Marlowe; "I know your fickle sex too well to believe I
have made a lasting impression; why, the very first fine old woman you
meet at your ensuing quarters, will, I dare say, have similar praise
bestowed on her." "No," replied he, with a languid smile; "I can assure
you, solemnly, the impression which has been made on my heart will never
be effaced." He stole a look at Adela; her head sunk upon her bosom, and
her heart began to beat violently. Mrs. Marlowe wished to change the
subject entirely; she felt the truest compassion for the unhappy young
couple, and had fervently desired their union; but since irrevocably
separated, she wished to check any intimation of a mutual attachment,
which now could answer no purpose but that of increasing their misery.
She rung for tea, and endeavored by her conversation to enliven the
tea-table; the effort however, was not seconded. "You have often," cried
she, addressing Adela, as they again drew their chairs round the fire,
"desired to hear the exact particulars of my life; unconquerable
feelings of regret hitherto prevented my acquiescing in your desire;
but, as nothing better now offers for passing away the hours, I will, if
you please, relate them." "You will oblige me by so doing," cried Adela;
"my curiosity, you know, has been long excited."



CHAPTER XIII.

   "But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,
      And well my life shall pay;
    I'll seek the solitude he sought,
      And stretch me where he lay."--GOLDSMITH.


To begin, then, as they say in a novel, without further preface, I was
the only child of a country curate, in the southern part of England,
who, like his wife, was of a good, but reduced family. Contented
dispositions and an agreeable neighborhood, ready on every occasion to
oblige them, rendered them, in their humble situations, completely
happy. I was the idol of both their hearts; every one told my mother I
should grow up a beauty, and she, poor simple woman, believed the
flattering tale. Naturally ambitious, and somewhat romantic, she
expected nothing less than my attaining, by my charms, an elevated
situation; to fit me to it, therefore, according to her idea, she gave
me all the showy, instead of solid, advantages of education. My father
being a meek, or rather an indolent man, submitted entirely to her
direction; thus, without knowing the grammatical part of my own
language, I was taught to gabble bad French by myself; and, instead of
mending or making my clothes, to flourish upon catgut and embroider
satin. I was taught dancing by a man who kept a cheap school for that
purpose in the village; music I could not aspire to, my mother's
finances being insufficient to purchase an instrument; she was therefore
obliged to content herself with my knowing the vocal part of that
delightful science, and instructed me in singing a few old-fashioned
airs, with a thousand graces, in her opinion at least.

To make me excel by my dress, as well as my accomplishments, all the
misses of the village, the remains of her finery were cut and altered
into every form which art or ingenuity could suggest; and, Heaven
forgive me, but my chief inducement in going to church on a Sunday was
to exhibit my flounced silk petticoat and painted chip hat.

When I attained my sixteenth year, my mother thought me, and supposed
every one else must do the same, the most perfect creature in the world.
I was lively, thoughtless, vain, and ambitious to an extravagant degree;
yet, truly innocent in my disposition, and often, forgetting the
appearance I had been taught to assume, indulged the natural gayety of
my heart, and in a game of hide-and-go-seek, amongst the haycocks in a
meadow, by moonlight, enjoyed perfect felicity.

Once a week, accompanied by my mother, I attended the dancing-master's
school, to practise country dances. One evening we had just concluded a
set, and were resting ourselves, when an elegant youth, in a fashionable
riding dress, entered the room. His appearance at once excited
admiration and surprise; never shall I forget the palpitation of my
heart at his approach; every girl experienced the same, every cheek was
flushed, and every eye sparkled with hope and expectation. He walked
round the room, with an easy, unembarrassed air, as if to take a survey
of the company; he stopped by a very pretty girl, the miller's
daughter--good heavens! what were my agonies! My mother, too, who sat
beside me, turned pale, and would actually, I believe, have fainted, had
he taken any farther notice of her; fortunately he did not, but
advanced. My eyes caught his; he again paused, looked surprised and
pleased, and, after a moment, passed in seeming consideration, bowed
with the utmost elegance, and requested the honor of my hand for the
ensuing dance. My politeness had hitherto only been in theory; I arose,
dropped him a profound curtsey, assured him the honor would be all on my
side, and I was happy to grant his request. He smiled, I thought, a
little archly, and coughed to avoid laughing; I blushed, and felt
embarrassed; but he led me to the head of the room to call a dance, and
my triumph over my companions so exhilarated my spirits, that I
immediately lost all confusion.

I had been engaged to a young farmer, and he was enraged, not only at my
breaking my engagement without his permission, but at the superior
graces of my partner, who threatened to be a formidable rival to him.
"By jingo!" said Clod, coming up to me in a surly manner, "I think, Miss
Fanny, you have not used me quite genteelly; I don't see why this here
fine spark should take the lead of us all." "Creature!" cried I, with an
ineffable look of contempt, which he could not bear, and retired
grumbling. My partner could no longer refrain from laughing; the
simplicity of my manners, notwithstanding the airs I endeavored to
assume, highly delighted him. "No wonder," cried he, "the poor swain
should be mortified at losing the hand of his charming Fanny."

The dancing over, we rejoined my mother, who was on thorns to begin a
conversation with the stranger, that she might let him know we were not
to be ranked with the present company. "I am sure, sir," said she, "a
gentleman of your elegant appearance must feel rather awkward in the
present party; it is so with us, as, indeed, it must be with every
person of fashion; but, in an obscure little village like this, we must
not be too nice in our society, except, like a hermit, we could do
without any." The stranger assented to whatever she said, and accepted
an invitation to sup with us; my mother instantly sent an intimation of
her will to my father, to have, not the fatted calf, indeed, but the
fatted duck prepared; and he and the maid used such expedition, that, by
the time we returned, a neat, comfortable supper was ready to lay on the
table. Mr. Marlowe, the stranger's name, as he informed me, was all
animation and affability: it is unnecessary to say, that my mother,
father, and myself, were all complaisance, delight, and attention. On
departing, he asked, and obtained, permission, of course, to renew his
visit the next day; and my mother immediately set him down as her future
son-in-law.

As everything is speedily communicated in such a small village as we
resided in, we learned on the preceding evening he had stopped at the
inn, and, hearing music, had inquired from whence it proceeded, and had
gone out of curiosity to the dance. We also learned that his attendants
reported him to be heir to a large fortune; this report, vain as I was,
was almost enough of itself to engage my heart; judge, then, whether it
was not an easy conquest to a person, who, besides the above-mentioned
attraction, possessed those of a graceful figure and cultivated mind. He
visited continually at our cottage; and I, uncultivated as I was, daily
strengthened myself in his affections. In conversing with him, I forgot
the precepts of vanity and affectation, and obeyed the dictates of
nature and sensibility. He soon declared the motives of his visits to
me--"to have immediately demanded my hand" he said, "would have
gratified the tenderest wish of his soul; but, in his present situation,
that was impossible--left, at an early age, destitute and distressed, by
the death of his parents, an old whimsical uncle, married to a woman
equally capricious, had adopted him as heir to their large
possessions--he found it difficult," he said, "to submit to their
ill-humor, and was confident, if he took any step against their
inclinations, he should forever forfeit their favor; therefore, if my
parents would allow a reciprocal promise to pass between us, binding
each to each, the moment he became master of expected fortune, or
obtained an independence, he would make me a partaker of it." They
consented, and he enjoined us to the strictest secrecy, saying, one of
his attendants was placed about him as a kind of spy. He had hitherto
deceived him with respect to us, declaring my father was an intimate
friend, and that his uncle knew he intended visiting him. But my
unfortunate vanity betrayed the secret it was so material for me to
keep. I was bound indeed not to reveal it. One morning a young girl who
had been an intimate acquaintance of mine till I knew Marlowe, came to
see me, "Why, Fanny," cried she, "you have given us all up for Mr.
Marlowe; take care, my dear, he makes you amends for the loss of your
other friends." "I shall take your advice," said I, with a smile and a
conceited toss of my head. "Faith, for my part," continued she, "I think
you were very foolish not to secure a good settlement for yourself with
Clod." "With Clod!" repeated I, with the utmost haughtiness. "Lord,
child, you forget who I am!" "Who are you?" exclaimed she, provoked at
my insolence; "oh, yes, to be sure, I forget that you are the daughter
of a poor country curate, with more pride in your head than money in
your purse." "Neither do I forget," said I, "that your ignorance is
equal to your impertinence; if I am the daughter of a poor country
curate, I am the affianced wife of a rich man, and as much elevated by
expectation, as spirit, above you."

Our conversation was repeated throughout the village, and reached the
ears of Marlowe's attendant, who instantly developed the real motive
which detained him so long in the village. He wrote to his uncle an
account of the whole affair; the consequence of this was a letter to
poor Marlowe, full of the bitterest reproaches, charging him, without
delay, to return home. This was like a thunder-stroke to us all; but
there was no alternative between obeying, or forfeiting his uncle's
favor. "I fear, my dear Fanny," cried he, as he folded me to his bosom,
a little before his departure, "it will be long ere we shall meet again;
nay, I also fear I shall be obliged to promise not to write; if both
these fears are realized, impute not either absence or silence to a want
of the tenderest affection for you." He went, and with him all my
happiness! My mother, shortly after his departure, was attacked by a
nervous fever, which terminated her days; my father, naturally of weak
spirits and delicate constitution, was so shocked by the sudden death of
his beloved and faithful companion, that he sunk beneath his grief. The
horrors of my mind I cannot describe; I seemed to stand alone in the
world, without one friendly hand to prevent my sinking into the grave,
which contained the dearest objects of my love. I did not know where
Marlowe lived, and, even if I had, durst not venture an application,
which might be the means of ruining him. The esteem of my neighbors I
had forfeited by my conceit; they paid no attention but what common
humanity dictated, merely to prevent my perishing; and that they made me
sensibly feel. In this distress, I received an invitation from a
school-fellow of mine, who had married a rich farmer about forty miles
from our village, to take up my residence with her till I was
sufficiently recovered to fix on some plan for subsistence. I gladly
accepted the offer, and after paying a farewell visit to the grave of my
regretted parents, I set off in the cheapest conveyance I could find to
her habitation, with all my worldly treasure packed in a portmanteau.

With my friend I trusted I should enjoy a calm and happy asylum till
Marlowe was able to fulfil his promise, and allow me to reward her
kindness; but this idea she soon put to flight, by informing me, as my
health returned, I must think of some method for supporting myself. I
started, as at the utter annihilation of all my hopes; for, vain and
ignorant of the world, I imagined Marlowe would never think of me if
once disgraced by servitude. I told her I understood little of anything
except fancy work. She was particularly glad, she said, to hear I knew
that, as it would, in all probability, gain me admittance to the service
of a rich old lady in the neighborhood, who had long been seeking for a
person who could read agreeably and do fancy works, with which she
delighted to ornament her house. She was a little whimsical, to be sure,
she added, but well-timed flattery might turn those whims to advantage;
and, if I regarded my reputation, I should not reject so respectable a
protection. There was no alternative; I inquired more particularly about
her, but how great was my emotion, when I learned she was the aunt of
Marlowe. My heart throbbed with exquisite delight at the idea of being
in the same house with him; besides, the service of his aunt would not,
I flattered myself, degrade me as much in his eyes as that of another
person's; it was necessary, however, my name should be concealed, and I
requested my friend to comply with my wish in that respect. She rallied
me about my pride, which she supposed had suggested the request, but
promised to comply with it; she had no doubt but her recommendation
would be sufficient to procure me immediate admittance, and,
accordingly, taking some of my work with me, I proceeded to the
habitation of Marlowe. It was an antique mansion, surrounded with
neat-clipped hedges, level lawns, and formal plantations. Two statues,
cast in the same mould, and resembling nothing either in heaven, earth,
or sea, stood grinning horribly upon the pillars of a massy gate, as if
to guard the entrance from impertinent intrusion. On knocking, an old
porter appeared. I gave him my message, but he, like the statues, seemed
stationary, and would not, I believe, have stirred from his situation to
deliver an embassy from the king. He called, however, to a domestic,
who, happening to be a little deaf, was full half an hour before he
heard him; at last, I was ushered up stairs into an apartment, from the
heat of which one might have conjectured it was under the torrid zone.
Though in the middle of July, a heavy hot fire burned in the grate; a
thick carpet, representing birds, beasts, and flowers, was spread on the
floor, and the windows, closely screwed down, were heavy with woodwork,
and darkened with dust. The master and mistress of the mansion, like
Darby and Joan, sat in arm-chairs on each side of the fire; three dogs,
and as many cats, slumbered at their feet. He was leaning on a
spider-table, poring over a voluminous book, and she was stitching a
counterpane. Sickness and ill-nature were visible in each countenance.
"So!" said she, raising a huge pair of spectacles at my entrance, and
examining me from head to foot, "you are come from Mrs. Wilson's; why,
bless me, child, you are quite too young for any business; pray, what is
your name, and where do you come from?" I was prepared for these
questions, and told her the truth, only concealing my real name, and the
place of my nativity. "Well, let me see those works of yours," cried
she. I produced them, and the spectacles were again drawn down. "Why,
they are neat enough, to be sure," said she, "but the design is
bad--very bad, indeed: there is taste, there is execution!" directing me
to some pictures, in heavy gilt frames, hung round the room. I told her,
with sincerity, "I had never seen anything like them." "To be sure,
child," exclaimed she, pleased at what she considered admiration in me,
"it is running a great risk to take you; but if you think you can
conform to the regulations of my house, I will, from compassion, and as
you are recommended by Mrs. Wilson, venture to engage you; but,
remember, I must have no gad-about, no fly-flapper, no chatterer, in my
family. You must be decent in your dress and carriage, discreet in your
words, industrious at your work, and satisfied with the indulgence of
going to church on a Sunday." I saw I was about entering upon a painful
servitude; but the idea of its being sweetened by the sympathy of
Marlowe a little reconciled me to it.

On promising all she desired, everything was settled for my admission
into her family, and she took care I should perform the promises I made
her. I shall not recapitulate the various trials I underwent from her
austerity and peevishness; suffice it to say, my patience, as well as
taste, underwent a perfect martyrdom. I was continually seated at a
frame, working pictures of her own invention, which were everything that
was hideous in nature. I was never allowed to go out, except on a Sunday
to church, or on a chance evening when it was too dark to distinguish
colors.

Marlowe was absent on my entering the family, nor durst I ask when he
was expected. My health and spirits gradually declined from my close
confinement. When allowed, as I have before said, of a chance time to go
out, instead of enjoying the fresh air, I have sat down to weep over
scenes of former happiness. I dined constantly with the old housekeeper.
She informed me, one day, that Mr. Marlowe, her master's young heir, who
had been absent some time on a visit, was expected home on the ensuing
day. Fortunately, the good dame was too busily employed to notice my
agitation. I retired as soon as possible from the table, in a state of
indescribable pleasure. Never shall I forget my emotions, when I heard
the trampling of his horse's feet, and saw him enter the house! Vainly I
endeavored to resume my work; my hands trembled, and I sunk back on my
chair, to indulge the delightful idea of an interview with him, which I
believed to be inevitable. My severe task-mistress soon awakened me from
me delightful dream; she came to tell me: "I must confine myself to my
own and the housekeeper's room, which, to a virtuous, discreet maiden,
such as I appeared to be, she supposed would be no hardship, while her
nephew, who was a young, perhaps rather a wild young man, remained in
the house: when he again left it, which would soon be the case, I should
regain my liberty." My heart sunk within me at her words, but, when the
first shock was over; I consoled myself by thinking I should be able to
elude her vigilance. I was, however, mistaken; she and the housekeeper
were perfect Arguses. To be in the same house with Marlowe, yet without
his knowing it, drove me almost distracted.

I at last thought of an expedient, which, I hoped, would effect the
discovery I wanted. I had just finished a piece of work, which my
mistress was delighted with. It was an enormous flower-basket, mounted
on the back of a cat, which held beneath its paw a trembling mouse. The
raptures the old lady expressed at seeing her own design so ably
executed encouraged me to ask permission to embroider a picture of my
own designing, for which I had the silks lying by me. She complied, and
I set about it with alacrity. I copied my face and figure as exactly as
I could, and, in mourning drapery and a pensive attitude, placed the
little image by a rustic grave, in the church-yard of my native village,
at the head of which, half embowered in trees, appeared the lovely
cottage of my departed parents. These well-known objects, I thought,
would revive, if indeed she was absent from it, the idea of poor Fanny
in the mind of Marlowe. I presented the picture to my mistress, who was
pleased with the present, and promised to have it framed. The next day
while I sat at dinner, the door suddenly opened, and Marlowe entered the
room. I thought I should have fainted. My companion dropped her knife
and fork with great precipitation, and Marlowe told her he was very ill,
and wanted a cordial from her. She rose with a dissatisfied air, to
comply with his request. He, taking this opportunity of approaching a
little nearer, darted a glance of pity and tenderness, and softly
whispered--"To-night, at eleven o'clock, meet me in the front parlor."

You may conceive how tardily the hours passed till the appointed time
came, when, stealing to the parlor, I found Marlowe expecting me. He
folded me to his heart, and his tears mingled with mine, as I related my
melancholy tale. "You are now, my Fanny!" he cried, "entirely mine;
deprived of the protection of your tender parents I shall endeavor to
fulfil the sacred trust they reposed in my honor, by securing mine to
you, as far as lies in my power. I was not mistaken," continued he, "in
the idea I had formed of the treatment I should receive from my
flinty-hearted relations on leaving you. Had I not promised to drop all
correspondence with you, I must have relinquished all hopes of their
favor. Bitter, indeed," cried he, while a tear started in his eye, "is
the bread of dependence. Ill could my soul submit to the indignities I
received; but I consoled myself throughout them, by the idea of future
happiness with my Fanny. Had I known her situation (which, indeed, it
was impossible I should, as my uncle's spy attended me wherever I went),
no dictate of prudence would have prevented my flying to her aid!"
"Thank Heaven, then, you were ignorant of it," said I. "My aunt," he
proceeded, "showed me your work, lavishing the highest encomiums on it.
I glanced my eye carelessly upon it, but, in a moment, how was that
careless eye attracted by the well known objects presented to it! this,
I said to my heart, can only be Fanny's work. I tried to discover from
my aunt whether my conjectures were wrong, but without success. When I
retired to dress, I asked my servant if there had been any addition to
the family during my absence; he said a young woman was hired to do fine
works, but she never appeared among the servants."

Marlowe proceeded to say, "he could not bear I should longer continue in
servitude, and that without delay he was resolved to unite his fate to
mine." I opposed this resolution a little; but soon, too
self-interested, I fear, acquiesced in it. It was agreed I should inform
his aunt my health would no longer permit my continuing in her family,
and that I should retire to a village six miles off, where Marlowe
undertook to bring a young clergyman, a particular friend of his, to
perform the ceremony. Our plan, as settled, was carried into execution,
and I became the wife of Marlowe. I was now, you will suppose, elevated
to the pinnacle of happiness; I was so, indeed, but my own folly
precipitated me from it. The secrecy I was compelled to observe
mortified me exceedingly, as I panted to emerge from the invidious cloud
which had so long concealed my beauty and accomplishments from a world
that I was confident, if seen, would pay them the homage they merited.
The people with whom I lodged had been obliged by Marlowe, and,
therefore, from interest and gratitude, obeyed the injunction he gave
them, of keeping my residence at their house a secret; they believed, or
affected to believe, I was an orphan committed to his care, whom his
uncle would be displeased to know he had taken under his protection.
Three or four times a week I received stolen visits from Marlowe, when,
one day (after a month had elapsed in this manner) standing at the
parlor window, I saw Mrs. Wilson walking down the village. I started
back, but too late to escape her observation; she immediately bolted
into the room with all the eagerness of curiosity. I bore her first
interrogatories tolerably well, but when she upbraided me for leaving
the excellent service she had procured for me, for duplicity in saying I
was going to another, and for my indiscretion in respect to Marlowe, I
lost all command of my temper, and, remembering the inhumanity with
which she had forced me into servitude, I resolved to mortify her
completely, by assuming all the airs I had heretofore so ridiculously
aspired to. Lolling in my chair, with an air of the most careless
indifference, I bid her no longer petrify me with her discourse. This
raised all the violence of rage, and she plainly told me, "from my
conduct with Marlowe, I was unworthy her notice." "Therefore," cried I,
forgetting every dictate of prudence, "his wife will neither desire nor
receive it in future." "His wife!" she repeated, with a look of scorn
and incredulity. I produced the certificate of my marriage; thus, from
an impulse of vanity and resentment, putting myself in the power of a
woman, a stranger to every liberal feeling, and whose mind was inflamed
with envy towards me. The hint I forced myself at parting to give her,
to keep the affair secret, only determined her more strongly to reveal
it. The day after her visit, Marlowe entered my apartment--pale,
agitated, and breathless, he sunk into a chair. A pang, like conscious
guilt, smote my heart, and I trembled as I approached him. He repulsed
me when I attempted to touch his hand. "Cruel, inconsiderate woman!" he
said, "to what dreadful lengths has your vanity hurried you; it has
drawn destruction upon your own head as well as mine!" Shame and remorse
tied my tongue; had I spoken, indeed, I could not have vindicated
myself, and I turned aside and wept. Marlowe, mild, tender, and adoring,
could not long retain resentment; he started from his chair, and clasped
me to his bosom. "Oh, Fanny!" he cried, "though you have ruined me, you
are still dear as ever to me."

This tenderness affected me even more than reproaches, and tears and
sighs declared my penitence. His expectations relative to his uncle were
finally destroyed, on being informed of our marriage, which Mrs. Wilson
lost no time in telling him. He burned his will, and immediately made
another in favor of a distant relation. On hearing this intelligence, I
was almost distracted; I flung myself at my husband's feet, implored his
pardon, yet declared I could never forgive myself. He grew more composed
upon the increase of my agitation, as if purposely to soothe my spirits,
assuring me, that, though his uncle's favor was lost, he had other
friends on whom he greatly depended. We set off for London, and found
his dependence was not ill-placed; for, soon after his arrival, he
obtained a place of considerable emolument in one of the public offices.
My husband delighted in gratifying me, though I was often both
extravagant and whimsical, and almost ever on the wing for admiration
and amusement. I was reckoned a pretty woman, and received with rapture
the nonsense and adulation addressed to me. I became acquainted with a
young widow, who concealed a depraved heart under a specious appearance
of innocence and virtue, and by aiding the vices of others, procured the
means of gratifying her own; yet so secret were all her transactions,
that calumny had not yet attacked her, and her house was the rendezvous
of the most fashionable people. My husband, who did not dislike her
manner, encouraged our intimacy, and at her parties I was noticed by a
young nobleman, then at the head of the ton. He declared I was one of
the most charming objects he had ever beheld, and, for such a
declaration, I thought him the most polite I had ever known. As Lord T.
condescended to wear my chains, I must certainly, I thought, become
quite the rage. My transports, however, were a little checked by the
grave remonstrances of my husband, who assured me Lord T. was a famous,
or rather an infamous libertine; and that, if I did not avoid his
lordship's particular attentions, he must insist on my relinquishing the
widow's society. This I thought cruel, but I saw him resolute, and
promised to act as he desired--a promise I never adhered to, except when
he was present. I was now in a situation to promise an increase of
family, and Marlowe wished me to nurse the child. The tenderness of my
heart seconding his wish, I resolved on obeying it; but when the widow
heard my intention she laughed at it, and said it was absolutely
ridiculous, for the sake of a squalling brat, to give up all the
pleasures of life; besides, it would be much better taken care of in
some of the villages about London. I denied this; still, however, she
dwelt on the sacrifices I must make, the amusements I must give up, and
at last completely conquered my resolution. I pretended to Marlowe my
health was too delicate to allow me to bear such a fatigue and he
immediately sacrificed his own inclinations to mine. I have often
wondered at the kind of infatuation with which he complied with all my
desires. My little girl, almost as soon as born, was sent from me; but,
on being able to go out again, I received a considerable shock, from
hearing my noble admirer was gone to the Continent, owing to a trifling
derangement in his affairs. The vain pursuits of pleasure and
dissipation were still continued. Three years passed in this manner,
during which I had a son, and my little girl was brought home. I have
since often felt astonished at the cold indifference with which I
regarded my Marlowe, and our lovely babe, on whom he doted with all the
enthusiasm of tenderness. Alas! vanity had then absorbed my heart, and
deadened every feeling of nature and sensibility; it is the parent of
self-love and apathy, and degrades those who harbor it below humanity.

Lord T. now returned from the Continent; he swore my idea had never been
absent from his mind, and that I was more charming than ever; while I
thought him, if possible, more polite and engaging. Again my husband
remonstrated. Sometimes I seemed to regard these remonstrances,
sometimes protested I would not submit to such unnecessary control. I
knew, indeed, that my intentions were innocent, and I believed I might
safely indulge my vanity, without endangering either my reputation or
peace. About this time Marlowe received a summons to attend a dying
friend four miles from London. Our little girl was then in a slight
fever, which had alarmed her father, and confined me most unwillingly, I
must confess, to the house. Marlowe, on the point of departing, pressed
me to his breast: "My heart, my beloved Fanny!" said he, "feels
unusually heavy. I trust the feeling is no presentiment of approaching
ill. Oh! my Fanny! on you and my babe, I rest for happiness--take care
of our little cherub, and above all (his meek eye encountering mine),
take care of yourself, that, with my accustomed rapture, I may, on my
return, receive you to my arms." There was something so solemn, and so
tender, in this address, that my heart melted, and my tears mingled with
those which trickled down his pale checks. For two days I attended my
child assiduously, when the widow made her appearance. She assured me I
should injure myself by such close confinement, and that my cheeks were
already faded by it. She mentioned a delightful masquerade which was to
be given that night, and for which Lord T. had presented her with
tickets for me and herself; but she declared, except I would accompany
her, she would not go. I had often wished to go to a masquerade; I now,
however, declined this opportunity of gratifying my inclination, but so
faintly, as to prompt a renewal of her solicitations, to which I at last
yielded; and, committing my babe to the care of a servant, set off with
the widow to a warehouse to choose dresses. Lord T. dined with us, and
we were all in the highest spirits imaginable: about twelve we went in
his chariot to the Haymarket, and I was absolutely intoxicated with his
flattery, and the dazzling objects around me. At five we quitted this
scene of gayety. The widow took a chair; I would have followed her
example, but my Lord absolutely lifted me into his chariot, and there
began talking in a strain which provoked my contempt, and excited my
apprehensions. I expressed my displeasure in tears, which checked his
boldness, and convinced him he had some difficulties yet to overcome ere
he completed his designs. He made his apologies with so much humility,
that I was soon appeased, and prevailed on to accept them. We arrived at
the widow's house in as much harmony as we left it; the flags were wet,
and Lord T. insisted on carrying me into the house. At the door I
observed a man muffled up, but as no one noticed him, I thought no more
about it. We sat down to supper in high spirits, and chatted for a
considerable time about our past amusements. His lordship said: "After a
little sleep we should recruit ourselves by a pleasant jaunt to
Richmond, where he had a charming villa." We agreed to his proposal, and
retired to rest. About noon we arose; and, while I was dressing myself
for the projected excursion, a letter was brought in to me. "Good Lord!
Halcot!" exclaimed I, turning to the widow, "if Marlowe is returned,
what will become of me?" "Oh! read, my dear creature!" cried she
impatiently, "and then we can think of excuses." "I have the letter
here," continued Mrs. Marlowe, laying her hand to her breast, and
drawing it forth after a short pause, "I laid it to my heart to guard it
against future folly."

    THE LETTER.

    The presages of my heart were but too true--we parted never to
    meet again. Oh! Fanny, beloved of my soul, how are you lost to
    yourself and Marlowe! The independence, splendor, riches, which
    I gave up for your sake, were mean sacrifices, in my estimation,
    to the felicity I fondly expected to have enjoyed with you
    through life. Your beauty charmed my mind, but it was your
    simplicity captivated my heart. I took, as I thought, the
    perfect child of innocence and sincerity to my bosom; resolved,
    from duty, as well as from inclination, to shelter you in that
    bosom, to the utmost of my power, from every adverse storm.
    Whenever you were indisposed, what agonies did I endure! yet,
    what I then dreaded, could I have possibly foreseen, would have
    been comparative happiness to my present misery; for, oh! my
    Fanny, far preferable would it have been to behold you in the
    arms of death than infamy.

    I returned immediately after witnessing the last pangs of my
    friend--oppressed with the awful scene of death, yet cheering my
    spirits by an anticipation of the consolation I should receive
    from my Fanny's sympathy. Good God! what was my horror, when I
    found my little babe, instead of being restored to health by a
    mother's care, nearly expiring through her neglect! The angel
    lay gasping on her bed, deserted by the mercenary wretch to
    whose care she was consigned. I inquired, and the fatal truth
    rushed upon my soul; yet, when the first tumult of passion had
    subsided, I felt that, without yet stronger proofs, I could not
    abandon you. Alas! too soon did I receive those proofs. I traced
    you, Fanny, through your giddy round, till I saw you borne in
    the arms of the vile Lord T. into the house of his vile
    paramour. You will wonder, perhaps, I did not tear you from his
    grasp. Could such a procedure have restored you to me, with all
    your unsullied innocence, I should not have hesitated; but that
    was impossible, and my eyes then gazed upon Fanny for the last
    time. I returned to my motherless babe, and, I am not ashamed to
    say, I wept over it with all the agonies of a fond and betrayed
    heart.

    Ere I bid an irrevocable adieu, I would, if possible, endeavor
    to convince you that conscience cannot always be stifled--that
    illicit love is constantly attended by remorse and
    disappointment; for, when familiarity, or disease, has
    diminished the charms which excited it, the frail fetters of
    admiration are broken by him who looks only to an exterior for
    delight; if, indeed, your conscience should not be awakened till
    this hour of desertion comes, when it does arrive, you may,
    perhaps, think of Marlowe. Yes, Fanny, when your cheeks are
    faded by care, when your wit is enfeebled by despondency, you
    may think of him whose tenderness would have outlived both time
    and change, and supported you, without abatement, through every
    stage of life.

    To stop short in the career of vice is, they say, the noblest
    effort of virtue. May such an effort be yours; and may you yet
    give joy to the angels of heaven, who, we are taught to believe,
    rejoice over them that truly repent! That want should strew no
    thorns in the path of penitence, all that I could take from my
    babe I have assigned to you. Oh! my dear culprit, remember the
    precepts of your early youth--of those who, sleeping in the
    dust, are spared the bitter tear of anguish, such as I now
    shed--and, ere too late, expiate your errors. In the solitude to
    which I am hastening, I shall continually pray for you; and when
    my child raises its spotless hands to Heaven, it shall implore
    its mercy for erring mortals; yet, think not it shall ever hear
    your story. Oh! never shall the blush of shame, for the
    frailties of one so dear, tinge its ingenuous countenance. May
    the sincerity of your repentance restore that peace and
    brightness to your life, which, at present, I think you must
    have forfeited, and support you with fortitude through its
    closing period! As a friend, once dear, you will ever exist in
    the memory of

    MARLOWE.

As I concluded the letter, my spirits, which had been gradually
receding, entirely forsook me, and I fell senseless on the floor. Mrs.
Halcot and Lord T. took his opportunity of gratifying their curiosity by
perusing the letter, and when I recovered, I found myself supported
between them. "You see, my dear angel," cried Lord T., "your cruel
husband has entirely abandoned you; but grieve not, for in my arms you
shall find a kinder asylum than he ever afforded you." "True," said Mrs.
Halcot; "for my part, I think she has reason to rejoice at his
desertion."

I shall not attempt to repeat all I had said to them in the height of my
distraction. Suffice it to say, I reproached them both as the authors of
my shame and misery; and, while I spurned Lord T. indignantly from my
feet, accused Mrs. Halcot of possessing neither delicacy nor feeling.
Alas! accusation or reproach could not lighten the weight on my heart--I
felt a dreadful consciousness of having occasioned my own misery. I
seemed as if awaking from a disordered dream, which had confused my
senses; and the more clearly my perception of what was right returned,
the more bitterly I lamented my deviation from it. To be reinstated in
the esteem and affection of my husband was all of felicity I could
desire to possess. Full of the idea of being able to effect a
reconciliation, I started up; but, ere I reached the door, sunk into an
agony of tears: recollecting that ere this he was probably far distant
from me. My base companions tried to assuage my grief, and make me in
reality the wretch poor Marlowe supposed me to be. I heard them in
silent contempt, unable to move, till a servant informed me a gentleman
below stairs desired to see me. The idea of a relenting husband
instantly occurred, and I flew down; but how great was my disappointment
only to see a particular friend of his! Our meeting was painful in the
extreme. I asked him if he knew anything of Marlowe, and he solemnly
assured me he did not. When my confusion and distress had a little
subsided, he informed me that in the morning he had received a letter
from him, with an account of our separation, and the fatal cause of it.
The letter contained a deed of settlement on me of a small paternal
estate, and a bill of fifty pounds, which Marlowe requested his friend
to present himself to me. He also added my clothes were sent to his
house, as our lodgings had been discharged. I did not find it difficult
to convince this gentleman of my innocence, and, putting myself under
his protection, was immediately conveyed to lodgings in a retired part
of the town. Here he consoled me with assurances of using every effort
to discover the residence of my husband. All, alas! proved unsuccessful;
and my health gradually declined. As time wore away, my hope yet left
still undiminished my desire of seeing him. Change of air was at last
deemed requisite to preserve my existence, and I went to Bristol. I had
the good fortune to lodge in the house with an elderly Irish lady, whose
sweet and benevolent manner soon gained my warmest esteem, and tempted
me to divulge my melancholy tale, where so certain of obtaining pity.
She had also suffered severely from the pressure of sorrow; but hers, as
it proceeded not from imprudence, but the common vicissitudes of life,
was borne without that degree of anguish mine occasioned. As the period
approached for her return to her native country, I felt the deepest
regret at the prospect of our separation, which she, however, removed,
by asking me to reside entirely with her. Eight years had elapsed since
the loss of my husband, and no latent hope of his return remained in my
heart sufficiently strong to tempt me to forego the advantages of such
society. Ere I departed, however, I wrote to several of his friends,
informing them of the step I intended taking, and, if any tidings of
Marlowe occurred, where I was to be found. Five years I passed with my
valuable friend in retirement, and had the pleasure of thinking I
contributed to the ease of her last moments. This cottage, with a few
acres adjoining it, and four hundred pounds, was all her wealth, and to
me she bequeathed it, having no relations whose wants gave them any
claim upon her.

The events I have just related will, I hope, strengthen the moral so
many wish to impress upon the minds of youth, namely--that, without a
strict adherence to propriety, there can be no permanent pleasure; and
that it is the actions of early life must give to old age either
happiness and comfort, or sorrow and remorse. Had I attended to the
admonitions of wisdom and experience, I should have checked my
wanderings from prudence, and preserved my happiness from being
sacrificed at the shrine of vanity; then, instead of being a solitary in
the world, I might have had my little fireside enlivened by the partner
of my heart, and, perhaps, my children's children sporting around; but
suffering is the proper tax we pay for folly; the frailty of human
nature, the prevalence of example, the allurements of the world, are
mentioned by many as extenuations for misconduct. Though virtue, say
they, is willing, she is often too weak to resist the wishes they
excite. Mistaken idea! and blessed is that virtue which, opposing, ends
them. With every temptation we have the means of escape; and woe be to
us if we neglect those means, or hesitate to disentangle ourselves from
the snare which vice or folly may have spread around us. Sorrow and
disappointment are incident to mortality, and when not occasioned by any
conscious imprudence, should be considered as temporary trials from
Heaven to improve and correct us, and therefore cheerfully be borne. A
sigh stole from Oscar as she spoke, and a tear trickled down the soft
cheek of Adela. "I have," continued Mrs. Marlowe, "given you, like an
old woman, a tedious tale; but that tediousness, with every other
imperfection I have acknowledged, I rest upon your friendship and candor
to excuse."



CHAPTER XIV.

  "Denied her sight, he often crept
     Beneath the hawthorn's shade;
   To mark the spot in which she wept--
     In which she wept and prayed."--MALLET.


The night was waning fast, and Adela rose to depart as her friend
concluded her story; yet it required an effort of resolution to retire.
Mrs. Marlowe, however, was too well convinced of the expediency and
propriety of this to press her longer stay, though the eyes of Oscar,
suddenly turned to her, seemed to entreat she would do so. The night was
dark and wet, which prevented Mrs. Marlowe from accompanying Adela to
the carriage. Not so Oscar; he took the umbrella from the servant, who
held it for his mistress, and bid him hasten on to have the
carriage-door opened. "Oscar," cried Mrs. Marlowe, extremely unwilling
to allow even this short _tete-à-tete_, "Mrs. Belgrave will dispense
with your gallantry, for you are really too great an invalid to venture
out such a night as this." Adela attempted to dissuade him from it, but
her voice was so low and faltering as scarcely to be articulate. Oscar
gently seized her hand, and pulled it under his arm; he felt it tremble
as he did so. The touch became contagious; an universal tremor affected
his frame, and never, perhaps, had he and Adela experienced a moment of
greater unhappiness. Adela at last found herself obliged to speak,
conscious that her silence must appear particular, and said, she feared
he would be injured by his attentions to her. More fatally injured than
he already was, he might have replied, he could not be; but he checked
the words ready to burst from his lips, and only answered that he would
be unfit for a soldier, if he could not endure the inclemency of the
wintry blast. The light from the globes of the carriage gave him a view
of her pale lovely cheeks, and he saw she was weeping. Confused at the
idea of betraying her distress, she averted her head, and hastily
ascended the steps; yet, for a moment, her trembling hand rested upon
Oscar's, as if, in this manner, she would have given the adieu she had
not the power of pronouncing. Lost in agony, he remained, like a statue,
on the spot where she had left him, till roused by the friendly voice of
Mrs. Marlowe, who, alarmed at his long absence, came to seek him.
Soothed by her kind solicitude, he directly returned with her to the
house, where his indignation against the perfidious Belgrave again broke
forth. He execrated him, not only as the destroyer of his peace, but a
peace infinitely more precious than his own--that of the charming Adela.

Mrs. Marlowe essayed every art of consolation, and, by sympathy and
mildness, at last subdued the violence of his feelings; she acknowledged
the loss he sustained in being deprived of Adela; but, since
irrevocable, both virtue and reason required him to struggle against his
grief, and conceal it. By their sacred dictates, she entreated him to
avoid seeing Adela. He felt she was right in the entreaty, and solemnly
promised to comply with it; her friendship was balm to his wounded
heart, and her society the only pleasure he was capable of enjoying.
Whenever he could absent himself from quarters he retired to her, and
frequently spent three or four days at a time in her cottage. By
discontinuing his visits in the gay neighborhood of Woodlawn, he avoided
all opportunities of seeing Adela, yet often, on a clear frosty night,
has he stole from the fireside of Mrs. Marlowe to the beloved and
beautiful haunts about the lake, where he and Adela passed so many happy
hours together. Here he indulged in all the luxury of woe; and such are
the pleasures of virtuous melancholy, that Oscar would not have resigned
them for any of the commonplace enjoyments of life.

Often did he wander to the grove from whence he had a view of Adela's
chamber, and if a lucky chance gave him a glimpse of her, as she passed
through it, a sudden ecstasy would pervade his bosom; he would pray for
her felicity, and return to Mrs. Marlowe, as if his heart was lightened
of an oppressive weight. That tender friend flattered herself, from
youth and the natural gayety of his disposition, his attachment, no
longer fed by hope, would gradually decline; but she was mistaken--the
bloom of his youth was faded, and his gayety converted into deep
despondency. Had he never been undeceived with regard to the general and
Adela, pride, no doubt, would quickly have lessened the poignancy of his
feelings; but when he reflected on the generous intentions of the one,
on the sincere affection of the other, and the supreme happiness he
might have enjoyed, he lost all fortitude. Thus, by perpetually brooding
over the blessings once within his reach, losing all relish for those
which were yet attainable, his sorrow, instead of being ameliorated, was
increased by time. The horror and indignation with which he beheld
Belgrave, after the first knowledge of his baseness, could scarcely be
restrained. Though painful, he was pleased the effort had proved a
successful one, as, exclusive of his sacred promise to Mrs. Marlowe,
delicacy on Adela's account induced him to bear his wrongs in silence.
He could not, however, be so great a hypocrite as to profess any longer
esteem or respect for the colonel, and when they met, it was with cold
politeness on both sides.

The unfortunate Adela pined in secret. Her interview with Oscar had
destroyed the small remainder of her peace. His pale and emaciated
figure haunted her imagination; in vain, by dwelling on his unkind
letter, did she endeavor to lessen her tenderness. She felt the emotion
of pity stronger than that of resentment, and that the friendship of
Oscar would have been sweeter to her soul than the love or attention of
any other object. By obeying the impulse of passion, she feared she had
doomed herself to wretchedness. Belgrave was a man whom, upon mature
deliberation, she never could have chosen. The softness of his manners
gradually vanished when the purpose for which they had been assumed was
completed. Unfeeling and depraved, the virtues of Adela could excite no
esteem in his bosom, and the love (if it can merit that appellation)
which he felt for her, quickly subsided after their marriage; but as the
general retained the greatest part of his fortune in his own power, he
continued tolerably guarded in his conduct. A slave, however, to the
most violent passions, he was often unable to control them; and,
forgetful of all prudential motives, delighted at those times in
mortifying Adela by sly sarcasms on her attachment for Oscar. Though
deeply wounded, she never complained; she had partly forged her chains,
and resolved to bear them without repining. Tranquil in appearance, the
poor general, who was not penetrating, thought his darling perfectly
happy. Such, however, was not the opinion of those who visited at
Woodlawn. The rose of health no longer spread its beautiful tints on the
cheek of Adela, nor were her eyes irradiated by vivacity.

The colonel never went to Enniskillen except about military business,
but he made frequent excursions to the metropolis and other parts of the
kingdom in pursuit of pleasure. Adela felt relieved by his absence; and
the general, satisfied at his not attempting to take her along with him,
never murmured at it. The period now arrived for the departure of the
regiment. Adela had not seen Oscar since the interview at Mrs.
Marlowe's. She declined going to the reviews which preceded the change
of garrison, and sincerely hoped no chance would again throw him in her
way. Oscar sickened at the idea of quitting the country without seeing
her. He knew she was not to accompany the colonel. The officers were
going to pay a farewell visit to Woodlawn, and he could not resist being
of the party. They were shown into the drawing-room, where Adela and the
general sat. She was startled at the appearance of Oscar, but though a
blush tinged her pale face, she soon recovered her composure, and
entered into conversation. The general pressed them to stay to dinner,
but they had many visits to pay and begged to be excused. "My dear
Fitzalan," said the general, who had long dropped his displeasure, "I
wish you happiness and success, and hope I shall soon hear of your being
at the head of a company; remember, I say soon--for I am an old veteran,
and should be sorry to drop into the trench till I had heard of the good
fortune of my friends. Your father was a brave fellow, and, in the
speedy advancement of his son, should receive a reward for his past
services." Oscar pressed the general's hand to his breast. He cast his
tearful eyes on Adela; she sighed, and bent hers to the ground. "Be
assured, sir," he cried, "no gratitude can be more fervent than that
your goodness has inspired me with; no wishes can be more sincere than
mine for the happiness of the inhabitants of Woodlawn." "Ineffectual
wishes," softly exclaimed Adela; "happiness, from one of its inhabitants
at least, has, I fear, fled forever."

The general's wishes for the success of Oscar may be considered as mere
words of course, since not enforced by more substantial proofs of
regard; but, in reality, soon after his daughter's marriage, in his
usual blunt manner, he had mentioned to the colonel his giving a
thousand or two to help the promotion of Oscar. Belgrave, who could not
bear that the man whom he had injured should have a chance of obtaining
equal rank with himself, opposed this truly generous design, by saying,
"Oscar was taken under the patronage of Lord Cherbury, and that the
general's bounty might therefore, at some future period, be better
applied in serving a person without his interest." To this the general
assented, declaring that he never yet met with a brave soldier or his
offspring in distress without feeling and answering the claim they had
upon his heart.

Oscar obtained a ready promise from Mrs. Marlowe of corresponding with
him. He blushed and faltered as he besought her sometimes to acquaint
him with the health of their friends at Woodlawn. Change of scene
produced no alteration in him. Still pining with regret, and languid
from ill-health, his father and sister found him. The comforts of
sympathy could not be his, as the anguish which preyed on his heart he
considered of too sacred a nature to divulge. He hoarded up his grief,
like a miser hoarding up his treasure, fearful that the eye of suspicion
should glance at it, as he pressed his lovely sister to his heart. Had
he imagined she was the object of Colonel Belgrave's licentious passion,
the bounds he had hitherto prescribed to his resentment would in a
moment have been overturned, and he would, had it been necessary, have
pursued the monster round the world, to avenge the injury he had
meditated, as well as the one he had committed.

We shall now bid adieu to Oscar for the present, and, drawing on our
boots of seven leagues, step after Fitzalan and Amanda.



CHAPTER XV.

  "Confessed from yonder slow extinguished clouds,
   All ether softening, sober evening takes
   Her wonted station in the middle air;
   A thousand shadows at her back."--THOMSON.


Castle Carberry, to which our travellers were going, was a large gothic
pile, erected in the rude and distant period when strength more than
elegance was deemed necessary in a building. The depredations of war, as
well as time, were discernible on its exterior; some of its lofty
battlements were broken, and others mouldering to decay, while about its
ancient towers

  "The rank grass waved its head,
   And the moss whistled to the wind."

It stood upon a rocky eminence overhanging the sea, and commanding a
delightful prospect of the opposite coast of Scotland; about it were yet
to be traced irregular fortifications, a moat, and remains of a
drawbridge, with a well, long since dry, which had been dug in the rock
to supply the inhabitants in time of siege with water. On one side rose
a stupendous hill, covered to the very summit with trees, and scattered
over with relics of druidical antiquity; before it stretched an
extensive and gently swelling lawn, sheltered on each side with groves
of intermingled shade, and refreshed by a clear and meandering rivulet,
that took its rise from the adjoining hill, and murmured over a bed of
pebbles.

After a pleasant journey, on the evening of the fourth day, our
travellers arrived at their destined habitation. An old man and woman,
who had the care of it, were apprised of their coming, and on the first
approach of the carriage, opened the massy door, and waited to receive
them: they reached it when the sober gray of twilight had clad every
object. Amanda viewed the dark and stupendous edifice, whose gloom was
now heightened by the shadows of evening, with venerable awe. The
solitude, the silence which reigned around, the melancholy murmur of the
waves as they dashed against the foot of the rocks, all heightened the
sadness of her mind; yet it was not quite an unpleasing sadness, for
with it was now mingled a degree of that enthusiasm which plaintive and
romantic spirits are so peculiarly subject to feel in viewing the
venerable grandeur of an ancient fabric renowned in history. As she
entered a spacious hall, curiously wainscoted with oak, ornamented with
coats of arms, spears, lances, and old armor, she could not avoid
casting a retrospective eye to former times, when, perhaps, in this very
hall, bards sung the exploits of those heroes, whose useless arms now
hung upon the walls. She wished, in the romance of the moment, some gray
bard near her, to tell the deeds of other times--of kings renowned in
our land--of chiefs we behold no more. In the niches in the hall were
figures of chieftains, large as life, and rudely carved in oak. Their
frowning countenances struck a sudden panic upon the heart of Ellen.
"Cot pless their souls," she said, "what the tefil did they do there,
except to frighten the people from going into the house."

They were shown into a large parlor, furnished in an old-fashioned
manner, and found a comfortable supper prepared for them. Oppressed with
fatigue, soon after they had partaken of it, they retired to rest. The
next morning, immediately after breakfast, Amanda, attended by the old
woman and Ellen, ranged over the castle. Its interior was quite as
gothic as its exterior; the stairs were winding, the galleries
intricate, the apartments numerous, and mostly hung with old tapestry,
representing Irish battles, in which the chiefs of Castle Carberry were
particularly distinguished. Their portraits, with those of their ladies,
occupied a long gallery, whose arched windows cast a dim religious light
upon them. This was terminated by a small apartment in the centre of
one of the towers that flanked the building. The room was an octagon,
and thus commanded a sea and land prospect, uniting at once the sublime
and beautiful in it. The furniture was not only modern but elegant, and
excited the particular attention and inquiries of Amanda. The old woman
informed her this had been the dressing-room of the late Countess of
Cherbury, both before and after her marriage: "one of the sweetest,
kindest ladies," continued she, "I ever knew; the castle has been quite
deserted since she died--alack-a-day! I thought my poor heart would have
broke when I heard of her death. Ah! I remember the night I heard the
Banshee crying so pitifully." "And pray what is that?" interrupted
Amanda. "Why, a little woman, no higher than a yard, who wears a blue
petticoat, a red cloak, and a handkerchief round her head; and when the
head of any family, especially a great family, is to die, she is always
heard, by some of the old followers, bemoaning herself." "Lort save us!"
cried Ellen, "I hope his lortship, the earl, won't take it into his head
to die while we are here, for I'd as lief see one of the fairies of
Penmaenmawr, as such a little old witch." "Well, proceed," said Amanda.
"So, as I was saying, I heard her crying dismally one night in a corner
of the house. So, says I to my husband, Johnaten, says I, I am sure we
shall hear something about my good lord or lady. And sure enough we did
the next day, and ever since we have seen none of the family." "Did you
ever see the young lord?" asked Amanda, with involuntary precipitation.
"See him! aye, that I did, when he was about eight years old; there is
his picture (pointing to one which hung over the chimney); my lady had
it done by a fine English painter, and brought it over with her. It is
the moral of what he then was." The eager eyes of Amanda were instantly
turned to it, and she traced, or at least imagined she did so, a
resemblance still between it and him. The painter seemed as if he had
had the description of Pity in his mind when he drew the picture; for
Lord Mortimer was portrayed, as she is represented in the beautiful
allegory, sheltering a trembling dove in his bosom from a ferocious
hawk. Oh! Mortimer! thought Amanda, thy feeling nature is here ably
delineated! The distressed, or the helpless, to the utmost of your
power, you would save from the gripe of cruelty and oppression. Her
father had desired her to choose pleasant apartments for her own
immediate use, and she accordingly fixed on this and the room adjoining
it, which had been Lady Cherbury's chamber. Her things were brought
hither, and her books, works, and implements for drawing, deposited in
rich inlaid cabinets. Pleased with the arrangements she had made, she
brought her father, as soon as he was at leisure, to view them. He was
happy to find her spirits somewhat cheerful and composed, and declared
in future he would call this Amanda's Tower. Accompanied by him, she
ascended to the battlements of the castle, and was delighted with the
extensive and variegated prospect she beheld from them. A spacious
edifice, at some distance, embowered in a grove of venerable oaks,
attracted her admiration. Her father told her that was Ulster Lodge, a
seat belonging to the Marquis of Roslin, who was an Irish as well as a
Scotch Peer, and had very extensive possessions in Ireland. Fitzalan
added, he had been inquiring of the old man about the neighborhood, and
learned from him that, at the expiration of every three or four years,
the Marquis usually came over to Ulster Lodge, but had never yet been
accompanied by the Marchioness, or Lady Euphrasia Sutherland, who was
his only child.

The domestic economy of Castle Carberry was soon settled. A young man
and woman were hired, as Johnaten and his wife, Kate, were considered
little more than supernumeraries. Ellen was appointed to attend Amanda,
and do whatever plain work was required. Fitzalan felt a pleasing
serenity diffused over his mind, from the idea of being in some degree
independent, and in the way of making some provision for his children.
The first shock of a separation from Lord Mortimer being over, the
cheerfulness of Amanda gradually returned, the visions of hope again
revived in her mind, and she indulged a secret pleasure at living in the
house he had once occupied. She considered her father as particularly
connected with his family, and doubted not, from this circumstance, she
should sometimes hear of him. She judged of his constancy by her own,
and believed he would not readily forget her. She acknowledged her
father's motives for separating them were equally just and delicate; but
firmly believed, if Lord Mortimer (as she flattered herself he would)
confessed a partiality in her favor to his father, that, influenced by
tenderness for his son, friendship for her father, and the knowledge of
her descent, he would immediately give up every idea of another
connection, and sanction theirs with his approbation. No obstacle
appeared to such an union but want of fortune, and that want she could
never suppose would be considered as one by the liberal-minded Lord
Cherbury, who had himself an income sufficient to gratify even luxurious
wishes. Her time was agreeably diversified by the sources of amusements
she drew from herself. Her father, whose supreme felicity consisted in
contributing to her pleasure, purchased a delightful harp for her in
Dublin, which arrived a few days after them, at Castle Carberry, and
with its dulcet lays she often charmed, not only his spirit, but her
own, from every mortal care. She loved to rise early, and catch the
first beams of the sun, as she wandered over the dewy lawn, where the
lowing cattle cropped the flowery herbage, and the milkmaid sung her
plaintive ditty.

With her father she took long walks about the adjacent country. He had
visited every scene before, and now pointed out whatever was worthy her
attention: the spots where the heroes of former ages had fallen, where
the mighty stones of their fame were raised, that the children of the
North might hereafter know the places where their fathers fought; that
the hunter, as he leaned upon a mossy tomb, might say, here fought the
heroes of other years, and their fame shall last forever!

Amanda, too, often rambled by herself, particularly among the rocks,
where were several natural grottos, strewed with shells and seaweeds.
Here, of a mild day, she loved to read, and listen to the low murmurs of
the tide. The opposite Scottish hills, among which her mother first drew
breath, often attracted and fixed her attention, frequently drawing
tears from her eyes, by awaking in her mind the recollection of that
mother's sufferings.

On a morning, when she sat at work in her apartment, Ellen, who was
considered more as a friend than a servant, sometimes sat with her; the
conversation not unfrequently turned on nurse Edwin's cottage, from
which Ellen, with an arch simplicity, would advert to Tudor Hall, thence
naturally to Lord Mortimer, and conclude with poor Chip, exclaiming:
"What a pity true love should ever be crossed!"



CHAPTER XVI.

  "Some take him for a tool
   That knaves do work with, called a fool;
   Fools are known by looking wise,
   As men find woodcocks by their eyes."--HUDIBRAS.


The solitude of Castle Carberry was interrupted in less than a fortnight
by visits and invitations from the neighboring families. The first they
accepted was to dinner at Mr. Kilcorban's. He was a man of large
fortune, which, in the opinion of many, compensated for the want of
polished manners, and a cultivated mind; but others, of a more liberal
way of thinking, could not possibly excuse those deficiencies, which
were more apparent from his pretending to every excellence; and more
intolerable from his deeming himself authorized, by his wealth and
consequence, to say and do almost whatever he pleased. His lady was,
like himself, a compound of ignorance, pride, and vanity. Their
offspring was numerous, and the three who were sufficiently old to make
their appearance, were considered, by their parents and themselves, as
the very models of elegance and perfection. The young heir had been sent
to the University; but, permitted to be his own master, he had profited
little by his residence there. Enough, however, perhaps he thought for a
man of fortune, who wanted not professional knowledge. His face was
coarse, his person inelegant, and his taste in adorning himself
preposterously ridiculous. Fashion, Hoyle, and the looking-glass, were
his chief studies, and, by his family and self, he was considered quite
the thing.

The young ladies were supposed to be very accomplished, because they had
instructors in almost every branch of education; but, in reality, they
understood little more than the names of what they were attempted to be
taught. Nature had not been lavish of her gifts. Of this, however, they
were conscious, and patched, powdered, and painted in the very extremity
of the mode. Their mornings were generally spent in rolling about in a
coach and six with their mamma, collecting news and paying visits; their
evenings were constantly devoted to company, without which they declared
they could not exist. They sometimes affected languor and sentiment,
talked of friendship, and professed for numbers, the most sincere; yet,
to the very girls they pretended to regard, delighted in exhibiting
their finery, if certain they could not purchase the same, and would
feel mortified by seeing it.

Mr. Kilcorban had indulged his family in a trip to Bath one autumn, and,
in so doing, had afforded a never-failing subject for conversation; upon
every occasion this delightful excursion was mentioned--the novelties
they saw, the admiration they excited, the elegant intimacies they
formed, the amazing sum they expended, were all described and
exaggerated.

Lady Greystock, an ancient widow, was at present on a visit to them. She
had known Fitzalan in his youth, and now, with pleasure, renewed her
intimacy with him; and the account she gave of his family and
connections, prepossessed the neighborhood in his favor. She was a
shrewd, sensible woman; the dignity of her person commanded respect, but
the sarcastic expression of her countenance prevented her conciliating
esteem.

An old chariot belonging to the Earl of Cherbury, which had been for
years unemployed in the coach-house, was brought forth, for the purpose
of conveying Fitzalan and his daughter on their visits. After a good
deal of rubbing and washing, it was found tolerably decent, and they
proceeded in it to Mr. Kilcorban's, which was about two miles from
Castle Carberry. A numerous party was already assembled. While Amanda
was paying her compliments to Mrs. Kilcorban and Lady Greystock, a
general whisper relative to her took place among the younger part of the
company, who had formed themselves into a group quite distant from the
rest. One gentleman swore, "she was a devilish fine girl!" He was
seconded in the remark by another, who extolled her complexion. "You are
a simpleton," cried a young lady, who was reckoned a great wit; "I would
engage for half a crown to get as fine a color in Dublin." Her
companions laughed, and declared she only spoke truth in saying so. Mr.
Bryan Kilcorban, who leaned on her chair, said, "A bill should be
brought into the house to tax such complexions; for kill me," continued
he, "the ladies are so irresistible from nature, it is quite
unconscionable to call in art as an auxiliary." He then stalked over to
Amanda, who sat by Lady Greystock; lolling over her chair, he declared,
"he thought the tedious hours would never elapse till again blessed with
her presence." "Of her," he said, "it was sufficient to have but one
glimpse to make him pant for the second." A summons to dinner relieved
her from this nonsense. Luxury and ostentation were conspicuous in the
fare and decorations of the table, and Amanda never felt any hours so
tedious as those she passed at it. When the ladies returned to the
drawing-room, the Miss Kilcorbans, and their companions, began to
examine and admire her dress. "What a pretty pattern this gown is worked
in!" said one. "What a sweet, becoming cap this is," cried a second.
"Well, certainly the English milliners have a great deal of taste, my
dear," said Miss Kilcorban, whispering to Amanda. "I have a monstrous
favor to ask of you," drawing her at the same instant to the window. "I
am sure," said Amanda, "any in my power to grant I shall with pleasure."
"Oh! really, then, it is in your power. It is only to refuse the pattern
of your cap to any girls who may ask you for it, and to give it me and
my sister. You cannot conceive how we dote on being the first in the
fashion, one is so stared at, and so envied. I detest anything when it
becomes common. You cannot think how we are teased every summer, when we
return from Dublin, for fashions; but we always make it a point to
refuse. I must tell you a delightful trick I played a friend of mine.
She received a large present of the most beautiful muslins from India,
which she laid by till I returned from town, supposing I would let her
see my things, as I always told her I was extremely fond of her. Well, I
lent her a gown, which was quite old-fashioned, but assured her it was
the very newest mode. She accordingly had her beautiful muslins cut in
imitation of it, and so spoiled them from making any other habit. Well,
we met at an assize ball, where all the elegant people of the county
were assembled, and, I declare, I never saw so ridiculous a figure as
she made. When she found herself unlike every one in the room, I really
thought she would have fainted, and that my poor sister and I should
have expired with laughing. Poor thing! the tears absolutely trickled
down her cheeks. Do not you think it was a charming trick?" "Very much
so," said Amanda; "I think it gave a striking specimen of your humor."
"Well, my dear," exclaimed Miss Kilcorban, without minding the marked
emphasis of Amanda's last words, "if you allow us, my sister and I will
call on you to-morrow to look over your things." "It would be giving
yourselves a great deal of unnecessary trouble," replied Amanda, coolly,
who did not by any means relish this forward proposal; "my things can
boast of little but simplicity, and I am always my own milliner."
"Really! well, I protest you have a great deal of taste; my maid, who is
very handy, would, I think, be able to make up things in pretty much the
same style, if you were obliging enough to give her patterns. If you do,
perhaps you will add to the favor, and allow us to say they are the
newest Bath fashions. Was you ever at Bath?" "No." "Oh! then I assure
you, you have a monstrous pleasure to come; it is the sweetest place on
earth--quite a paradise! I declare I thought I should have died with
grief at leaving it. Papa has been inexorable ever since to our
entreaties for a second trip. He says the first cost too much money.
Indeed, it was an enormous sum; only think how much." "I am the worst
person in the world," said Amanda, "for guessing," sick of her
impertinent volubility, and moving from the window. The evening was
fine, and the grounds about the house beautiful; she therefore proposed
a walk. At this proposal, the young ladies, who had hitherto been in
deep confab, looked at each other, and remained silent for some minutes.
Miss Kilcorban, then, who had no notion of gratifying the inclination of
her guest, by the sacrifice of her own, said, "it blew a little, and
that her hair would be ruined, and the Marchelle powder blown from it by
such a walk." Another young lady, looking down at her white satin
slippers, vowed "she would not venture into the grass for worlds." A
third declared, "when once dressed, she could not bear to be tumbled."
Amanda had too much politeness to repeat her wish, and it was,
therefore, unanimously agreed upon among the fair coterie, that they
should continue in the drawing-room, to be in statu quo for the
reappearance of the beaux.

Lady Greystock now beckoned to our heroine to take a seat by her. She
gladly obeyed. "Well, my dear," said her ladyship, "I hope you have had
enough of these country misses--those would-be misses of the ton."
Amanda smiled assentingly. "Heaven defend me, or any one I like,"
continued her ladyship, "from their clack! The confusion of Babel was, I
really believe, inferior to that their tongues create, yet some people
have the absurdity to reckon these girls accomplished. Poor Mrs.
Kilcorban torments one with the perfections of her daughters; against
they are disposed of, which she imagines will be very soon, she has a
new brood of graces training up to bring out. Mercy on me! what a set of
hoydens. I would lay my life, at this very instant they are galloping
about the nursery like a parcel of wild colts, tearing or tormenting an
unfortunate French governess, who was formerly fille de chambre to a
woman of quality, and does not understand even the grammatical part of
her own language." "Mrs. Kilcorban's opinion of her children," said
Amanda, "is natural, considering the partiality of a parent." "Yes; but
not more bearable on that account," replied her ladyship; "and I should
endeavor to open her eyes to her folly, if I thought her acquaintances
would forgive my depriving them of such a fund of amusement."

Mr. Brian Kilcorban, with some gentlemen, now entered the room, and
advanced to Amanda. "So," said he, "you have got by the dowager; hang
me, but I would let my beard grow, if all women resembled her in their
dispositions." "By the way of appearing sagacious, I suppose," said her
ladyship, who was extremely quick, and had caught the last words. "Alas!
poor youth, no embellishments on the exterior would ever be able to make
us believe the tenement within well furnished." Her ladyship was now
summoned to a whist-table, and Miss Kilcorban immediately took her
vacant seat. "My dear creature!" said she, "are you not bored to death?
Lady Greystock is a queer piece, I can assure you. I suppose she was
asking some favor from you, such as to work her an apron or
handkerchief. She is noted everywhere for requesting such little jobs,
as she calls them; indeed, we should never put up with the trouble she
gives us, but that she is vastly rich, and papa's relation, and has no
one so nearly connected with her as we are." "All very good reasons for
your complaisance," replied Amanda; "but should you not be more careful
in concealing them?" "Oh, Lord! no; every one knows them as well as we
do ourselves. She was here last summer, and took a fancy to the pattern
of an apron of mine; and made me the reasonable request of working one
like it for her. All this she pretended was to prevent my being idle.
Well, I said I would, and wrote up to the Moravian House in Dublin,
where I had got mine, for one exactly like it. In due time I received
and presented it to the dowager, certain that, in return I should
receive a few of her diamond pins, which she had often heard me admire.
They are the prettiest I ever saw, and quite unfit for her, but she had
the cruelty to disappoint me." "Upon my faith!" cried Mrs. Kilcorban,
who had taken a chair at the other side of Amanda, and listened with
evident pleasure to her daughter's voluble speech, "Lady Greystock is an
odd being; I never met with any one like her in all my travels through
England, Ireland, and Wales; but she is a great orator, and possesses
the gift of the gab in a wonderful degree."

"Ah, indeed," thought Amanda; "and you and your fair daughters resemble
her in that respect." After tea, she was prevailed on to sit down to
commerce; but she soon grew as tired of the party as of the game, and
lost on purpose to be released. She had hoped for a little more chat
with Lady Greystock; but her ladyship was passionately fond of cards,
and at all times would have preferred the pleasures of a card-table to
the eloquence of a Cicero. Kilcorban, on finding her disengaged,
tormented her with many absurd compliments. A challenge to a brag-table
at length relieved her from his nonsense, and she loitered about the
card-tables till they broke up for supper.

Amanda always expressed to her father her sentiments of any company she
had been in; and those she now delivered, on quitting the party,
perfectly coincided with his. He laughed at the account which the
Kilcorbans had given of Lady Greystock, to whom he knew they paid the
most extravagant flattery, in hopes of obtaining some of her large
fortune.



CHAPTER XVII.

  "Remote from man, with God they passed their days,
   Prayer all their business, all their pleasure praise."--PARNELL.


The following evening they were engaged to spend at a farmer's. The
invitation was given with such humility, yet pressed with such warmth,
that they could not avoid accepting it, and accordingly, soon after
dinner, walked to the house, which was about a mile from Castle
Carberry. It was a low thatched building--every appendage to it bespoke
neatness and comfort. It was situated in a beautiful meadow, enclosed
from the road by a hawthorn hedge, and on the opposite side lay an
extensive common, on which stood the stupendous and venerable ruins of
an abbey, called St. Catherine's. They appeared a melancholy monument of
the power of time over strength and grandeur; and while they attracted
the observation of the curious, excited a sigh in the bosom of
sensibility.

The farmer's family consisted of three daughters and two sons, who were
now dressed in their best array. They had assembled a number of their
neighbors, among whom was a little fat priest, called Father
O'Gallaghan--considered the life of every party--and a blind piper. The
room was small, and crowded with furniture as well as company. It was
only divided from the kitchen by a short passage, and the steam of hot
cakes, and the smoke of a turf fire, which issued thence, soon rendered
it distressingly warm. Amanda got as near the window as possible, but
still could not procure sufficient air; and as everything for tea was
not quite ready, asked one of the Miss O'Flannaghans if she would
accompany her to St. Catherine's. She answered in the affirmative. The
priest, who had been smirking at her ever since her entrance, now shook
his fat sides, and said he wished he could get her initiated there; "for
it would do my soul good," cried he, "to confess such a pretty little
creature as you are. Though faith, I believe I should find you like
Paddy McDenough, who used to come to confession every Easter, though the
devil a thing the poor man had to confess about at all at all. So, says
I to him, Paddy, my jewel, says I, I believe I must make a saint of you,
and lay you on the altar." "Oh! honey, father!" cried he, "not yet
awhile, till I get a new suit of clothes on, which I shall by next
Michaelmas." Amanda left them all laughing at this story, and her father
engaged in conversation with some farmers, who were desiring his
interest with Lord Cherbury, for new leases on moderate terms.

Amanda had about a quarter of a mile to walk across the common; the
ground was marshy and uneven, and numerous stumps of trees denoted its
having once been a noble forest, of which no memorial but these stumps,
and a few tall trees immediately near the abbey, remained, that
stretched their venerable arms around it, as if to shade that ruin whose
progress they had witnessed, and which Amanda found well worthy of
inspection. She was equally astonished at its elegance and extent; with
sacred awe traversing the spacious cloisters, the former walks of holy
meditation, she pursued her way through winding passages, where vestiges
of cells were yet discernible, over whose mouldering arches the grass
waved in rank luxuriance, and the creeping ivy spread its gloomy
foliage, and viewed with reverence the graves of those who had once
inhabited them; they surrounded that of the founder's, which was
distinguished by a cross, and Miss O'Flannaghan related the traditions
that were current concerning him. He was a holy monk who had the care of
a pious lady's conscience; she, on her death-bed, had a remarkable
dream, or vision, in which she thought an angel appeared, and charged
her to bequeath her wealth to her confessor, who would, no doubt, make a
much better use of it than those she designed it for. She obeyed the
sacred injunction, and the good man immediately laid the foundation of
this abbey, which he called after his benefactress, and to which he, and
the community he belonged to, removed. The chapel was roofless, but
still retained many relics of superstitious piety, which had escaped, in
a tolerable degree, both time and weather. Saints and martyrs were
curiously cut over the places where the altars and cisterns for holy
water had once stood, to which Amanda passed through a long succession
of elegant arches, among which were a number of tombstones, with curious
devices, and unintelligible inscriptions. Half hid by grass and weeds,
on a flag, which she perceived must have been lately placed there, she
saw some faded flowers strewn, and looking at her companion, saw a tear
dropping from her on them. She gently asked the cause of it, and heard a
favorite brother was interred there. The girl moved from the spot, but
Amanda, detained by an irrepressible emotion, stayed a minute longer to
contemplate the awful scene. All was silent, sad, and solitary; the
grass-grown aisles looked long untrodden by human foot, the green and
mouldering walls appeared ready to crumble into atoms, and the wind,
which howled through their crevices, sounded to the ear of fancy as
sighs of sorrow for the desolation of the place. Full of moralizing
melancholy, the young, the lovely Amanda, hung over the grave of her
companion's youthful brother; and taking up the withered flower, wet
with the tear of sisterly affection, dropped another on it, and cried,
"Oh! how fit an emblem is this of life! how illustrative of these
words--

  'Man comes forth as a flower in the field, and is soon cut down.'"

Miss O'Flannaghan now led her through some more windings, when, suddenly
emerging from them, she found herself, to her great surprise, in a large
garden, entirely encompassed by the ruins, and in the centre of it stood
a long low building, which her companion informed her was a convent; a
folding door at the side opened into the chapel, which they entered, and
found a nun praying.

Amanda drew back, fearful of disturbing her; but Miss O'Flannaghan
accosted her without ceremony, and the nun returned the salutation with
the most cordial good-humor. She was fifty, as Amanda afterwards heard,
for she never could, from her appearance, have conceived her to be so
much. Her skin was fair, and perfectly free from wrinkle; the bloom and
down upon her cheeks as bright and as soft as that upon a peach; though
her accent at one proclaimed her country, it was not unharmonious; and
the cheerful obligingness of her manner amply compensated the want of
elegance. She wore the religious habit of the house, which was a loose
flannel dress, bound round her waist by a girdle, from which hung her
beads and a cross; a veil of the same stuff descended to the ground, and
a mob cap, and forehead cloth, quite concealed her hair.[A] Miss
O'Flannaghan presented Amanda to her as a stranger, who wished to see
everything curious in the chapel. "Ah! my honey," cried she, "I am sorry
she has come at a time when she will see us all in the dismals, for you
know we are in mourning for our prioress (the altar was hung in black):
but, my dear (turning to Amanda), do you mean to come here next Sunday?
for if you do, you will find us all bright again." Upon Amanda's
answering in the negative, she continued, "Faith, and I am sorry for
that, for I have taken a great fancy to you, and when I like a person, I
always wish them as great a chance of happiness as I have myself."
Amanda, smiling, said, she believed none could desire a greater, and the
nun obligingly proceeded to show her all the relics and finery of the
chapel; among the former was a head belonging to one of the eleven
thousand virgin martyrs, and the latter, a chest full of rich silks,
which pious ladies had given for the purpose of dressing the altar.
Pulling a drawer from under it, she displayed a quantity of artificial
flowers, which she said were made by the sisters and their scholars.
Amanda wished to make a recompense for the trouble she had given, and
finding they were to be sold, purchased a number, and having given some
to Miss O'Flannaghan, whom she observed viewing them with a wishful eye,
she left the rest with the nun, promising to call for them the next day.
"Ay, do," said she, "and you may be sure of a sincere welcome. You will
see a set of happy poor creatures, and none happier than myself. I
entered the convent at ten; I took the vows at fifteen, and from that
time to the present, which is a long stretch, I have passed a contented
life, thanks be to our blessed lady!" raising her sparkling eyes to
heaven. They ascended a few steps to the place where the community sat.
It was divided from the body of the chapel by a slight railing. Here
stood the organ. The nun sighed as she looked at it. "Poor sister
Agatha," cried she, "we shall never get such another organist. She was
always fit indeed for the heavenly choir. Oh! my dear," turning to
Amanda, "had you known her, you would have loved her. She was our late
prioress, and elected to that office at twenty-nine, which is reckoned
an early age for it, on account of the cleverness it requires. She had
held it but two years when she died, and we never were so comfortable as
during her time, she managed so well. The mourning in the chapel, as I
have already told you, will be over for her next Sunday; but that which
is in our hearts will not be so speedily removed." Miss O'Flannaghan now
reminded Amanda it was time to return, to which, with secret reluctance,
she consented. The nun pressed her to stay to tea; but, on hearing of
her engagement, only reminded her of the promised visit. In their walk
back, her companion informed Amanda that the society consisted of twelve
nuns. Their little fortunes, though sunk in one common fund, were
insufficient to supply their necessities, which compelled them to keep a
day-school, in which the neighboring children were instructed in
reading, writing, plain-work, embroidery, and artificial flowers. She
also added, that the nuns were allowed to go out, but few availed
themselves of that liberty, and that, except in fasting, they were
strangers to the austerities practised in foreign convents.

    Footnote A: The Abbey and the Nun, which the Author has
    attempted to describe, were such as she really saw, but in a
    different part of Ireland from that which she has mentioned.

For such a society Amanda thought nothing could be better adapted than
their present situation. Sheltered by the ruins, like the living
entombed among the dead, their wishes, like their views, were bounded by
the mouldering walls, as no object appeared beyond them which could
tempt their wandering from their usual limits. The dreary common, which
met their view, could not be more bleak and inhospitable than the world
in general would have proved to these children of poverty and nature.

Father O'Gallaghan met the ladies at the door, and, familiarly taking
Amanda's hand, said, "Why, you have stayed long enough to be made a nun
of. Here," said he, "the cakes are buttered, the tea made, and we are
all waiting for you. Ah! you little rogue," smirking in her face, "by
the head of St. Patrick, those twinklers of yours were not given for the
good of your soul. Here you are come to play pell-mell among the hearts
of the honest Irish lads. Ah, the devil a doubt but you will have
mischief enough to answer for by and by, and then I suppose you will be
coming to me to confess and absolve you; but remember, my little honey,
if you do, I must be paid beforehand." Amanda disengaged her hand, and
entered the parlor, where the company, by a display of
pocket-handkerchiefs on their laps, seemed prepared to make a downright
meal of the good things before them. The Miss O'Flannaghans, from the
toils of the tea-table, at last grew as red as the ribbon with which
they were profusely ornamented. The table at length removed, the chairs
arranged, and benches placed in the passage for the old folks, the
signal for a dance was given by the piper's playing an Irish jig. The
farmer's eldest son, habited in his sky-blue coat, his hair combed sleek
on his forehead, and his complexion as bright as a full-blown poppy,
advanced to our heroine, and begged, with much modesty, and many bows,
she would do him the favor to stand up with him. She hesitated a little,
when Father O'Gallaghan, giving her a tap, or rather slap, on the
shoulder, made her start suddenly from her seat. He laughed heartily at
this, declaring he liked to see a girl alive and merry. As he could not
join in the dance, he consoled himself with being master of the
ceremonies, and insisted on Amanda's dancing and leading off the priest
in his boots. She felt little inclined to comply; but she was one of
those who can sacrifice their own inclination to that of others. Being
directed in the figure by the priest, she went down the dance, but the
floor being an earthen one, by the time she had concluded it, she begged
they would excuse her sitting the remainder of the evening, she felt so
extremely fatigued. She and Fitzalan would gladly have declined staying
supper, but this they found impossible, without either greatly
mortifying, or absolutely offending their hospitable entertainers.

The table was covered with a profusion of good country fare, and none
seemed to enjoy it more truly than the priest. In the intervals of
eating, his jests flew about in every direction. The scope he gave to
his vivacity exhilarated the rest, so that, like Falstaff, he was not
only witty himself, but a promoter of wit in others. "Pray, father,"
said a young man to him, "what do you give in return for all the good
cheer you get?" "My blessing, to be sure," replied he. "What better
could I give?" "Ay, so you may think, but that is not the case with us
all, I promise you. It is so pithy, I must tell you a story about that
same thing called a priest's blessing. A poor man went one day to a
priest, who had the name of being very rich and very charitable; but as
all we hear is not gospel, so the poor man doubted a little the truth of
the latter report, and resolved on trying him. 'Father,' says he, 'I
have met with great losses. My cabin was burned, my pigs stolen, and my
cow fell into a ditch and broke her neck; so I am come to ask your
reverence, for the love of heaven, to lend me a crown.' 'A crown!'
repeated the angry and astonished priest. 'O! you rogue, where do you
think I could get money to lend, except, like yourself, I had pilfered
and stolen?' 'O! that is neither here nor there,' replied the man. 'You
know I cleared the score on my conscience with you long ago, so tell me,
father, if you will lend me half a crown?' 'No, nor a shilling.' 'Well,
a farthing, then; anything from such a good man as you.' 'No,' said the
priest, 'not a mite.' 'Mayn't I have your blessing?' then asked the man.
'Oh! that you shall, and welcome,' replied he, smiling. 'Why, then,
father,' returned the other, 'I would refuse it if you forced it upon
me; for, do you see, had it been worth one farthing, you would have
refused it to me.'"

"You have put me in mind of a very curious story," exclaimed another
young man, as this one concluded his. "A young knight went into a chapel
in Spain one morning, where he observed a monk standing in a
supplicating attitude, with a box in his hand. He asked him what this
was for, and learned, to collect money for praying the souls of fifty
Christians out of purgatory, whom the Moors had murdered. The knight
threw a piece of money into the box, and the monk, after repeating a
short prayer, exclaimed, 'There is one soul redeemed.' The knight threw
in a second, and the priest, after the same ceremony, cried, 'There is
another free.' Thus they both went on, one giving, and the other
praying, till, by the monk's account, all the souls were free. 'Are you
sure of this?' inquired the knight. 'Ay,' replied the priest, 'they are
all assembled together at the gate of heaven, which St. Peter gladly
opened for them, and they are now joyfully seated in Paradise.' 'From
whence they cannot be removed, I suppose,' said the knight. 'Removed!'
repeated the astonished priest. 'No, the world itself might be easier
moved.' 'Then, if you please, holy father, return me my ducats; they
have accomplished the purpose for which they were given, and, as I am
only a poor cavalier, without a chance of being as happily situated, at
least for some years, as the souls we have mutually contributed to
release, I stand in great need of them.'"

Fitzalan was surprised at the freedom with which they treated the
priest; but he laughed as merrily as the rest at their stories, for he
knew that, though they sometimes allowed themselves a little latitude,
they neither wished nor attempted to shake off his power.

Fitzalan and Amanda withdrew as early as possible from the party, which,
if it wanted every other charm, had that of novelty, at least to them.
The next morning Amanda repaired to the convent, and inquired for Sister
Mary, the good-natured nun she had seen the preceding evening. She
immediately made her appearance, and was delighted at seeing Amanda. She
conducted her to the school-room, where the rest of the nuns and the
pupils were assembled; and Amanda was delighted with the content and
regularity which appeared in the society, as well as the obliging
eagerness they showed to gratify her curiosity. They led her through the
house, which contained a number of apartments, every nun having one to
herself, furnished with a bed, chair, table, and crucifix, and then to
the parlor, where their new prioress sat. She was a woman far advanced
in life. Had a painter wanted to personify benevolence, he might have
chosen her for a model--so soft, so benignant was her countenance.
Sorrow, as well as time, had marked it deeply; but the mild expression
of her eyes announced the most perfect resignation to that sorrow. She
received Amanda with the truest politeness and most friendly warmth; and
Amanda felt impressed with real reverence for her, whilst she
acknowledged in her mind there could not be a happier situation for her
than her present. She thought it a pity the world had been deprived of a
woman who would have proved such an ornament to it. Sister Mary
disappeared, but returned in a few minutes with cake and currant-wine,
which she forced Amanda to take. The good sister was enchanted with her
young visitor, and having no idea of concealing her feelings, she openly
expressed her admiration. "Dear mother," said she, addressing the
prioress, "is she not a lovely creature? What pretty eyes she has got,
and what sweet little hands! Oh, if our blessed lady would but touch her
heart, and make her become one of us, I should be so happy." The
prioress smiled; she was not so great an enthusiast as Sister Mary. "It
would be a pity," said she, "so sweet a flower should be hid amidst the
ruins of St. Catherine's."

Amanda made an addition to the flowers; she was thanked by the nuns, and
entreated to favor them often with a visit. Just as she reached Castle
Carberry, she saw the Kilcorbans' carriage stop at it, from which Lady
Greystock and the young ladies alighted. They both spoke at once, and so
extremely fast that Amanda scarcely understood what they said. They
declared a thousand impertinent visitors had prevented their coming the
preceding morning and looking at the things she had obligingly promised
to show them. Amanda recollected no such promise, but would not
contradict them, and permitted their taking what patterns they liked.
Lady Greystock smiled sarcastically at her young kinswomen, and
expressed a wish to see the castle. Amanda led her through it. Her
ladyship was particularly pleased with the dressing-room. Here the young
ladies, with rude and eager curiosity, examined everything; but her
ladyship, who was full as curious as themselves, could not condemn
freedoms she took herself. Observing a petticoat in a tambour-frame,
she admired the pattern; and hearing it was designed by Amanda, extolled
her fine taste, and declared she should of all things like to have one
worked in the same. This hint was too plain to pass unnoticed. Amanda
wished to oblige, particularly any one advanced in life, and told her
ladyship she would work one for her. Lady Greystock smiled most
graciously at this, and pressing her hand, declared she was a charming
girl. The Miss Kilcorbans winked slyly, and, taking her hand in turn,
assured her they had conceived a most ardent friendship for her, and
hoped she would often favor them with her company. Amanda answered those
insincere professions with cool civility, and the visitors departed.



CHAPTER XVIII

  "Oh! fields, oh! woods, when, when, shall I be made
   The happy tenant of your shade!"--COWLEY.


Solitude to Amanda was a luxury, as it afforded her opportunities of
indulging the ideas on which her heart delighted to dwell; she yet
believed she should see Lord Mortimer, and that Lord Cherbury's
sanctioning their attachment would remove the delicate scruples of her
father. From soothing his passing hours, beguiling her own with the
accomplishments she possessed, and indulging the tender suggestions of
hope, a pleasure arose she thought ill exchanged for the trifling gayety
of the parties she was frequently invited to; she was never at a loss
for amusement within Castle Carberry, or about its domain; the garden
became the object of her peculiar care; its situation was romantic, and
long neglect had added to its natural wildness. Amanda in many places
discovered vestiges of taste, and wished to restore all to primeval
beauty. The fruit-trees were matted together, the alleys grass-grown,
and the flowers choked with weeds; on one side lay a small wilderness,
which surrounded a gothic temple, and on the other green slopes with
masses of naked rock projecting through them; a flight of rugged steps,
cut in the living rock, led to a cave on the summit of one of the
highest, a cross rudely carved upon the wall, and the remains of a
matted couch, denoted this having formerly been a hermitage; it overhung
the sea, and all about it were tremendous crags, against which the
waves beat with violence. Over a low-arched door was a smooth stone,
with the following lines engraved upon it:--

                         "The pilgrim oft
   At dead of night, amid his orisons hears
   Aghast the voice of time--disparting towers
   Tumbling all precipitate down, dashed
   Rattling around, loud thundering to the moon."--DYER.

Under Amanda's superintending care, the garden soon lost its rude
appearance, a new couch was procured for the hermitage, which she
ornamented with shells and sea-weeds, rendering it a most delightful
recess; the trees were pruned, the alleys cleared of opposing brambles,
and over the wall of the gothic temple she hung the flowers she had
purchased at St. Catherine's, in fanciful wreaths.

She often ascended the devious path of the mountain, which stretched
beyond Castle Carberry, and beheld the waves glittering in the sunbeams,
from which its foliage sheltered her. But no visionary pleasures, no
delightful rambles, no domestic avocations made her forgetful to the
calls of benevolence; she visited the haunts of poverty, and relieved
its necessities to the utmost of her power; the wretchedness so often
conspicuous among many of the lower rank, filled her not only with
compassion, but surprise, as she had imagined that liberty and a
fruitful soil were generally attended with comfort and prosperity. Her
father, to whom she communicated this idea, informed her that the
indigence of the peasants proceeded in a great degree from the
emigration of their land-lords. "Their wealth," said he, "is spent in
foreign lands, instead of enriching those from whence it was drawn;
policy should sometimes induce them to visit their estates; the revenue
of half a year spent on them would necessarily benefit the poor wretches
whose labors have contributed to raise it; and by exciting their
gratitude, add inclination to industry, and consequently augment their
profits.

"The clouds which are formed by mists and exhalations, return to the
places from whence they were drawn in fertilizing showers and refreshing
dews, and almost every plant enriches the soil from which it sprung.
Nature, indeed, in all her works, is a glorious precedent to man; but
while enslaved by dissipation, he cannot follow her example, and what
exquisite sources of enjoyment does he lose--to enlighten the toils of
labor, to cheer the child of poverty, to raise the drooping head of
merit--oh! how superior to the revels of dissipation, or the ostentation
of wealth.

"Real happiness is forsaken for a gaudy phantom called pleasure; she is
seldom grasped but for a moment--yet in that moment has power to fix
envenomed stings within the breast. The heart which delights in domestic
joys, which rises in pious gratitude to heaven, which melts at human
woe, can alone experience true pleasure. The fortitude with which the
peasants bear their sufferings should cure discontent of its murmurs;
they support adversity without complaining, and those who possess a pile
of turf against the severity of the winter, a small strip of ground
planted with cabbage and potatoes, a cow, a pig, and some poultry, think
themselves completely happy, though one wretched hovel shelters all
alike."

Oh! how rapturous! thought Amanda--the idea of Lord Mortimer's feeling
recurring to her mind--to change such scenes; to see the clay-built
hovel vanish, and a dwelling of neatness and convenience rise in its
stead; to wander, continued she, with him whose soul is fraught with
sensibility, and view the projects of benevolence realized by the hand
of charity; see the faded cheek of misery regain the glow of health,

  "The desert blossom as the rose,"

and content and cheerfulness sport beneath its shades.

From such an ecstatic reverie as this, Amanda was roused one morning by
the entrance of the Kilcorbans and Lady Greystock into the dressing-room
where she was working. "Oh! my dear!" cried the eldest of the young
ladies, "we have such enchanting news to tell you. Only think, who is
coming down here immediately--your uncle and aunt and cousin. An express
came this morning from Dublin, where they now are, to the steward at
Ulster Lodge, to have everything prepared against next week for them."
"I declare," said Miss Alicia, "I shall quite envy you the delightful
amusement you will have with them." Amanda blushed, and felt a little
confused. "You will have no reason, then, I fancy," replied she, "for I
really do not know them." "Oh, Lord!" exclaimed Mrs. Kilcorban, "well,
that is very comical, not to know your own relations; but perhaps they
always lived in Scotland, and you were afraid to cross the sea to pay
them a visit." "If that was the only fear she had," said Lady Greystock,
with a satirical smile, "she could easily have surmounted it: besides,
would it not have held good with respect to one place as well as
another?" "Well, I never thought of that," cried Mrs. Kilcorban: "but
pray, miss, may I ask the reason why you do not know them by letter?"
"It can be of very little consequence to you, madam," replied Amanda,
coolly, "to hear it." "They say Lady Euphrasia Sutherland is very
accomplished," exclaimed Miss Kilcorban; "so a correspondence with her
would have been delightful. I dare say you write sweetly yourself; so if
ever you leave Castle Carberry, I beg you will favor me with letters,
for of all things, I doat on a sentimental correspondence." "No wonder,"
said Lady Greystock, "you are so particularly well qualified to support
one." "But, my dear!" resumed Miss Kilcorban, "we are to give the most
enchanting ball that ever was given in this world! Papa says we shall
have full liberty to do as we please respecting it." "It will be a
troublesome affair, I am afraid," said Mrs. Kilcorban. "We are to have
confectioners and French cooks from Dublin," continued her daughter,
without minding this interruption. "Everything is to be quite in style
and prepared against the third night of the marquis and marchioness's
arrival; so, my dear, you and your papa will hold yourselves in
readiness for our summons." Amanda bowed. "My sister and I are to have
dancing dresses from town, but I will not give you an idea of the manner
in which we have ordered them to be made. I assure you, you will be
absolutely surprised and charmed when you see them. All the elegant men
in the country will be at our entertainment. I dare say you will be
vastly busy preparing for it." "Nature," said Lady Greystock, "has been
too bounteous to Miss Fitzalan, to render such preparations necessary."
"Oh, Lord!" cried the young ladies, with a toss of their heads, "Miss
Fitzalan is not such a fool, I suppose, as to wish to appear unlike
every one else in her dress, but," rising with their mamma, and saluting
her much more formally than they had done at their entrance, "she is the
best judge of that."

Fitzalan had never seen the marchioness since his marriage, nor did he
ever again wish to behold her. The inhumanity with which she had treated
her lovely sister--the malice with which she had augmented her father's
resentment against the poor sufferer, had so strongly prepossessed his
mind with ideas of the selfishness and implacability of hers, as to
excite sentiments of distaste and aversion for her. He considered her as
the usurper of his children's rights--as accessory to the death of his
adored Malvina, and consequently the author of the agonies he
endured--agonies which time, aided by religion, could scarcely conquer.



CHAPTER XIX.

  "Oh love, how are thy precious, sweetest minutes
   Thus ever crossed, thus vexed with disappointments;
   Now pride, now fickleness, fantastic quarrels,
   And sullen coldness give us pain by turns."--ROWE.


At the expected time, the marquis and his family arrived with great
splendor at Ulster Lodge, which was immediately crowded with visitors of
the first consequence in the county, among whom were the Kilcorbans,
whose affluent fortune gave them great respectability. Mr. Kilcorban
wished, indeed, to be first in paying his compliments to the marquis,
who had a borough in his disposal he was desirous of being returned for.
Disappointed the last time he set up as one of the candidates for the
county, this was his only chance of entering that house he had long been
ambitious for a seat in. He knew, indeed, his oratorical powers were not
very great--often saying, he had not the gift of the gab like many of
the honorable gentlemen; but then he could stamp and stare, and look up
to the gods and goddesses[B] for their approbation, with the best of
them; and, besides, his being a member of parliament would increase his
consequence, at least in the country.

    Footnote B: Ladies were admitted to the gallery of the Irish
    House of Commons.

The female part of his family went from Ulster Lodge to Castle Carberry,
which they entered with a more consequential air than ever, as if they
derived new consequence from the visit they had been paying. Instead of
flying up to Amanda, as usual, the young ladies swam into the room, with
what they imagined, a most bewitching elegance, and, making a sliding
curtsey, flung themselves upon a sofa, exactly opposite a glass, and
alternately viewed themselves, and pursued their remarks on Lady
Euphrasia's dress. "Well, certainly, Alicia," said Miss Kilcorban, "I
will have a morning gown made in imitation of her ladyship's: that frill
of fine lace about the neck is the most becoming thing in nature; and
the pale blue lining sweetly adapted for a delicate complexion." "I
think, Charlotte," cried Miss Alicia, "I will have my tambour muslin in
the same style, but lined with pink to set off the work."

"This aunt' of yours, my dear," exclaimed Mrs. Kilcorban, "is really a
personable-looking woman enough, and her daughter a pretty little sort
of body."

"Oh! they are charming creatures," cried both the young ladies; "so
elegant, so irresistibly genteel."

"Your ideas and mine, then," said Lady Greystock, "differ widely about
elegance and irresistibility, if you ascribe either to the ladies in
question. Mr. Kilcorban," continued she, turning to Amanda, "feared, I
believe, my Lord Marquis would fly across the sea in a few hours; and
that he might catch him ere he took wing, never ceased tormenting us,
from the time breakfast was over till we entered the carriage, to make
haste, though he might have known it was quite too early for fine folks
to be visible.

"Well, we posted off to Ulster Lodge, as if life and death depended on
our dispatch. Mr. Kilcorban was ushered into the marquis's study, and we
into an empty room, to amuse ourselves, if we pleased, with portraits of
the marquis's ancestors; whilst bells in all quarters were
tingling--maids and footmen running up and down stairs--and cats, dogs,
monkeys, and parrots, which I found composed part of the travelling
retinue, were scratching, barking, chattering, and screaming, in a room
contiguous to the one we occupied. At length a fine, perfumed jessamy
made his appearance, and saying the ladies were ready to have the honor
of receiving us, skipped up stairs like a harlequin. The marchioness
advanced about two steps from her couch to receive us, and Lady
Euphrasia half rose from her seat, and after contemplating us for a
minute, as if to know whether we were to be considered as human
creatures or not, sunk back into her former attitude of elegant languor,
and continued her conversation with a young nobleman who had accompanied
them from England."

"Well, I hope you will allow he is a divine creature," exclaimed Miss
Kilcorban, in an accent of rapture. "Oh! what eyes he has," cried her
sister; "what an harmonious voice! I really never beheld any one so
exquisitely handsome!"

"Lord Mortimer, indeed," said Lady Greystock--Amanda started, blushed,
turned pale, panted as if for breath, and stared as if in amazement.
"Bless me, Miss Fitzalan," asked her ladyship, "are you ill?" "No,
madam," replied Amanda, in a trembling voice; "'tis only--'tis only a
little palpitation of the heart I am subject to. I have interrupted your
ladyship; pray proceed." "Well," continued Lady Greystock, "I was saying
that Lord Mortimer was one of the most elegant and engaging young men I
had ever beheld. His expressive eyes seemed to reprove the folly of his
fair companion; and her neglect made him doubly assiduous, which to me
was a most convincing proof of a noble mind."

How did the heart of Amanda swell with pleasure at this warm eulogium on
Lord Mortimer! The tear of delight, of refined affection, sprung to her
eye, and could scarcely be prevented falling.

"Lord, madam," cried Miss Kilcorban, whose pride was mortified at
Amanda's hearing of the cool reception they had met with, "I can't
conceive the reason you ascribe such rudeness and conceit to Lady
Euphrasia; 'tis really quite a misconstruction of the etiquette
necessary to be observed by people of rank."

"I am glad, my dear," replied Lady Greystock, "you are now beginning to
profit by the many lessons I have given you on humility."

"I assure you, Miss," said Mrs. Kilcorban, "I did not forget to tell the
marchioness she had a niece in the neighborhood. I thought, indeed, she
seemed a little shy on the subject; so I suppose there has been a
difference in the families, particularly as you don't visit her; but, at
our ball, perhaps, everything may be settled." Amanda made no reply to
this speech, and the ladies departed.

Her bosom, as may well be supposed, was agitated with the most violent
perturbations on hearing of Lord Mortimer's being in the neighborhood.
The pleasure she felt at the first intelligence gradually subsided on
reflecting he was an inmate, probably a friend, of those relations who
had contributed to the destruction of her mother; and who, from the
character she had heard of them, it was not uncharitable to think, would
feel no great regret, if her children experienced a destiny equally
severe. Might they not infuse some prejudices against her into his
bosom; to know she was the child of the unfortunate Malvina, would be
enough to provoke their enmity; or, if they were silent, might not Lady
Euphrasia, adorned with every advantage of rank and fortune, have won,
or at least soon win, his affections?

Yet scarcely did these ideas obtrude, ere she reproached herself for
them as injurious to Lord Mortimer, from whose noble nature she thought
she might believe his constancy never would be shaken, except she
herself gave him reason to relinquish it.

She now cheered her desponding spirits, by recalling the ideas she had
long indulged with delight, as her residence was still a secret to the
Edwins, whose letters to their daughter were, by Fitzalan's orders,
constantly directed to a distant town from whence hers, in return, were
sent. She concluded chance had informed Lord Mortimer of it, and
flattered herself, that to avoid the suspicion which a solitary journey
to Ireland might create in the mind of Lord Cherbury, he had availed
himself of the Marquis's party, and come to try whether she was
unchanged, and her father would sanction their attachment, ere he avowed
it to the earl.

Whilst fluctuating between hope and fear, Ellen, all pale and
breathless, ran into the room, exclaiming, "He is come! he is come! Lord
Mortimer is come!"

"Oh, heavens!" sighed Amanda, sinking back in her chair and dropping her
trembling hands before her. Ellen, alarmed, blamed herself for her
precipitation, and, flying to a cabinet snatched a bottle of lavender
water from it, which she plentifully sprinkled over her, and then
assisted her to a window. "I was so flurried," cried the good-natured
girl, as she saw her mistress recovering, "I did not know what I was
about. Heaven knows, the sight of poor Chip himself could not have given
me more pleasure. I was crossing the hall when I saw his lortship
alighting; and to be sure, if one of the old warriors had stepped out of
his niche--and the tefil take them all, I say, for they grin so horribly
they frighten me out of my wits if I go through the hall of a dark
evening--so if one of them old fellows, as I was saying, had jumped out,
I could not have peen more startled, and pack I ran into the little
parlor, and there I heard his lortship inquiring for my master; and to
be sure the sound of his voice did my heart good, for he is an old
friend, as one may say. So as soon as he went into the study, I stole up
stairs; and one may guess what he and my master are talking about, I
think."

The emotion of Amanda increased. She trembled so she could not stand.
She felt as if her destiny, her future happiness, depended on this
minute. In vain she endeavored to regain composure. Her spirits were
wound up to the highest pitch of expectation, and the agitations
inseparable from such a state were not to be repressed.

She continued near an hour in this situation, when the voice of Mortimer
struck her ear. She started up, and, standing in the centre of the room,
saw him walking down the lawn with her father, who left him when he had
reached the gate, where his servants and horses were. The chill of
disappointment pervaded the heart of Amanda, and a shower of tears fell
from her. Ellen, who had remained in the room, was almost as much
disappointed as her mistress. She muttered something about the
inconstancy of men. They were all, for her part, she believed, alike;
all like Mr. Chip--captious on every occasion. The dinner-bell now
summoned Amanda. She dried her eyes, and tied on a little straw hat to
conceal their redness. With much confusion she appeared before her
father. His penetrating eye was instantly struck with her agitation and
pallid looks, and he conjectured she knew of the visit he had received.
On receiving that visit, he wondered not at the strength of her
attachment. The noble and ingenuous air of Lord Mortimer had immediately
prepossessed Fitzalan in his favor. He saw him adorned with all those
perfections which are calculated to make a strong and permanent
impression on a heart of sensibility, and he gave a sigh to the cruel
necessity which compelled him to separate two beings of such congenial
loveliness; but as that necessity neither was or could be overcome, he
rejoiced that Lord Mortimer, instead of visiting him on account of his
daughter, had merely come on affairs relative to the castle, and had
inquired for her with a coolness which seemed to declare his love
totally subdued. Not the smallest hint relative to the letter in which
he had proposed for her dropped from him, and Fitzalan concluded his
affections were transferred to some object more the favorite of fortune
than his portionless Amanda.

This object, he was inclined to believe, was Lady Euphrasia Sutherland,
from what Lord Cherbury had said concerning the splendid alliance he had
in view for his son, and from Lord Mortimer's accompanying the Roslin
family to Ireland.

He felt he had not fortitude to mention those conjectures to Amanda. He
rather wished she should imbibe them from her own observation; and
pride, he then trusted, would come to her aid, and stimulate her to
overcome her attachment. Dinner passed in silence. When the servant was
withdrawn, he resolved to relieve the anxiety which her looks informed
him pressed upon her heart, by mentioning the visit of Lord Mortimer. He
came, he told her, merely to see the state the castle was in, and thus
proceeded: "Lord Mortimer is, indeed, an elegant and sensible young man,
and will do honor to the house from which he is descended. He had long
wished, he told me, to visit this estate, which was endeared to him by
the remembrance of his juvenile days, but particularly by its being the
place of his mother's nativity, and her favorite residence; and the
opportunity of travelling with an agreeable party, had determined him no
longer to defer gratifying this wish.

"He mentioned his mother in terms of the truest respect and tenderness;
and his softened voice, his tearful eye, proclaimed his heart the
mansion of sensibility. His virtues, like his praises, will do honor to
her memory. He had been told the castle was in a very ruinous state, and
was agreeably surprised to find it in as good order as could be expected
from its ancient date. He desired to see the garden, which had been laid
out under the direction of his mother. He expected not to have found a
vestige of her taste remaining, and was consequently charmed to find
himself mistaken. Every spot appeared to remind him of some happy hour,
especially the gothic temple. 'How many happy minutes have I passed in
this place,' said his lordship, after a silence for some time, 'with the
best of women.'--Upon my word, Amanda," continued Fitzalan, "you have
ornamented it in a very fanciful manner. I really thought his lordship
would have stolen some of your lilies or roses, he examined them so
accurately." Amanda blushed, and her father still perceiving expectation
in her eyes, thus went on: "His lordship looked at some of the adjacent
grounds; and as he has mentioned what improvements he thought necessary
to be made in them, I fancy he will not repeat his visit, or stay much
longer in the kingdom."

In a few minutes after this conversation Fitzalan repaired to his
library, and Amanda to the garden. She hastened to the temple. Never had
she before thought it so picturesque, or such an addition to the
landscape. The silence of Lord Mortimer on entering it, she did not,
like her father, believe proceeded altogether from retracing scenes of
former happiness with his mother. "No," said she, "in this spot he also,
perhaps, thought of Amanda."

True, he had mentioned her with indifference to her father, but that
might (and she would flatter herself it did) proceed from resentment,
excited by her precipitate flight from Wales, at a period when his
received addresses gave him a right to information about all her
actions, and by her total neglect of him since. Their first interview,
she trusted, would effect a reconciliation, by producing an explanation.
Her father then, she flattered herself, tender as he was, depending on
her for happiness, and prepossessed in Lord Mortimer's favor, would no
longer oppose their attachment, but allow Lord Cherbury to be informed
of it, who she doubted not, would, in this as well as every other
instance, prove himself truly feeling and disinterested.

Thus did Amanda, by encouraging ideas agreeable to her wishes, try to
soften the disappointment she had experienced in the morning. Fitzalan,
on meeting his daughter at tea, was not surprised to hear she had been
in the gothic temple, but he was to see her wear so cheerful an
appearance. He was no stranger to the human heart, and he was convinced
some flattering illusion could alone have enabled her to shake off the
sadness with which, but an hour before, she had been oppressed. The
sooner such an illusion was removed, the better; and to allow her to see
Lord Mortimer, he imagined would be the most effectual measure for such
a purpose.

The more he reflected on that young nobleman's manner, and what he
himself had heard from Lord Cherbury, the more he was convinced Lady
Euphrasia Sutherland was not only the object destined for Lord Mortimer,
but the one who now possessed his affections; and believed his visit to
Castle Carberry had been purposely made, to announce the alteration of
his sentiments by the coldness of his conduct, and check any hopes which
his appearance in the neighborhood might have created.

He had hesitated about Amanda's accepting the invitation to the
Kilcorban's ball; but he now determined she should go, impressed with
the idea of her being there convinced of the change in Lord Mortimer's
sentiments--a conviction he deemed necessary to produce one in her own.

Amanda impatiently longed for this night, which she believed would
realize either her hopes or fears.



CHAPTER XX.

  "A crimson blush her beauteous face o'erspread,
   Varying her cheeks by turns with white and red;
   The driving colors, never at a stay,
   Run here and there, and flush and fade away;
   Delightful change! thus Indian ivory shows,
   With which the bordering paint of purple glows,
   Or lilies damasked by the neighboring rose."--DRYDEN.


The wished-for night at length arrived, and Amanda arrayed herself for
it with a fluttering heart. The reflection of her mirror did not depress
her spirits; hope had increased the brilliancy of her eyes, and given an
additional glow to her complexion. Ellen, who delighted in the charms of
her dear young lady, declared many of the Irish ladies would have
reason to envy her that night; and Fitzalan when he entered the parlor
was struck with her surpassing loveliness. He gazed on her with a
rapture that brought tears into his eyes, and felt a secret pride at the
idea of the marchioness beholding this sweet descendant of her neglected
sister--

  "Into such beauty spread and blown so fair,
   Though poverty's cold wind, and crushing rain,
   Beat keen and heavy on her tender years."

"No," said he to himself, "the titled Euphrasia, if she equals, cannot
at least surpass my Amanda--meekness and innocence dwell upon the brow
of my child; but the haughty marchioness will teach pride to lower upon
Lady Euphrasia."

Amanda, on reaching Grangeville, found the avenue full of carriages. The
lights dispersed through the house gave it quite the appearance of an
illumination. It seemed, indeed, the mansion of gayety and splendor. Her
knees trembled as she ascended the stairs. She wished for time to
compose herself, but the door opened, her name was announced, and Mrs.
Kilcorban came forward to receive her. The room, though spacious, was
extremely crowded. It was decorated in a fanciful manner with festoons
of flowers, intermingled with variegated lamps. Immediately over the
entrance was the orchestra, and opposite to it sat the marchioness and
her party. The heart of Amanda beat, if possible, with increased
quickness on the approach of Mrs. Kilcorban, and her voice was lost in
her emotions. Recollecting, however, that the scrutinizing eyes of Lord
Mortimer, and her imperious relations, were now on her, she almost
immediately recovered composure, and with her usual elegance walked up
the room. Most of the company were strangers to her, and she heard a
general buzz of "Who is she?" accompanied with expressions of admiration
from the gentlemen, among whom were the officers of a garrison town near
Grangeville. Confused by the notice she attracted, she hastened to the
first seat she found vacant, which was near the marchioness.

Universal, indeed, was the admiration she had excited among the male
part of the company, by her beauty, unaffected graces, and simplicity of
dress.

She wore a robe of plain white lutestring, and a crape turban,
ornamented with a plume of drooping feathers. She had no appearance of
finery, except a chain of pearls about her bosom, from which hung her
mother's picture, and a light wreath of embroidered laurel, intermingled
with silver blossoms, round her petticoat. Her hair, in its own native
and glossy hue, floated on her shoulders, and partly shaded a cheek
where the purity of the lily was tinted with the softest bloom of the
rose. On gaining a seat, her confusion subsided. She looked up, and the
first eyes she met were those of Lord Mortimer (who leaned on Lady
Euphrasia Sutherland's chair), fastened on her face with a scrutinizing
earnestness, as if he wished to penetrate the recesses of her heart, and
discover whether he yet retained a place in it. She blushed, and looking
from him, perceived she was an object of critical attention to the
marchioness and Lady Euphrasia. There was a malignant expression in
their countenances, which absolutely shocked her; and she felt a
sensation of horror at beholding the former, who had so largely
contributed to the sorrows of her mother. "Can it be possible," said
Lady Euphrasia, replying to a young and elegant officer who stood by
her, in a tone of affectation, and with an impertinent sneer, "that you
think her handsome?" "Handsome," exclaimed he with warmth, as if
involuntarily repeating her ladyship's word, "I think her bewitchingly
irresistible. They told me I was coming to the land of saints; but,"
glancing his sparkling eyes around, and fixing them on Amanda; "I find
it is the land of goddesses."

The marchioness haughtily frowned--Lady Euphrasia smiled satirically,
tossed her head, and played with her fan. The propensities to envy and
ill-nature, which the marchioness had shown in her youth, were not less
visible in age. As they were then excited on her own account, so were
they now on her daughter's. To engross praise and admiration for her,
she wished beauty blasted, and merit extirpated; nor did she ever fail,
when in her power, to depreciate one, and cast an invidious cloud of
calumny over the other. She beheld Amanda with envy and hatred.
Notwithstanding her partiality to her daughter, she could not avoid
seeing her vast inferiority, in point of personal charms, to her young
relation. True, Lady Euphrasia possessed a fortune, which would always
insure her attention; but it was that unimpassioned and studied
attention selfishness dictates, the mere tribute of flattery. How
different from the spontaneous attention which Amanda excited, who,
though portionless and untitled, was beheld with admiration, followed
with praise, and courted with assiduity!

Lady Euphrasia's mind was the counterpart of her mother's; but in figure
she resembled her father. Her stature was low, her features contracted,
and though of the same age as Amanda, their harsh expression made her
appear much older. Though blessed with the abundant gifts of fortune,
she was unhappy, if, from any one's manner, she conceived that they
thought nature had not been quite so liberal to her. In the domestic
circle, constant flattery kept her in good-humor; but when out, she was
frequently chagrined at seeing women, infinitely below her in rank and
fortune, more noticed than herself.

At the ball she supposed she should have appeared as little less, at
least, than a demi-goddess. Art and fashion were exhausted in adorning
her, and she entered the room with all the insolence of conscious rank
and affectation of beauty. As she walked she appeared scarcely able to
support her delicate frame, and her languishing eyes were half closed.
She could, however, see there was a number of pretty women present, and
felt disconcerted. The respect, however, which she was paid, a little
revived her; and having contrived to detain Lord Mortimer by her chair
and Sir Charles Bingley, the young officer already mentioned, who was
colonel of a regiment quartered in an adjacent town, she soon felt her
spirits uncommonly exhilarated by the attentions of two of the most
elegant men in the room; and like a proud sultana in the midst of her
slaves, was enjoying the compliments she extorted from them by her
prefatory speeches, when the door opened, and Amanda, like an angel of
light, appeared to dissolve the mists of vanity and self-importance.
Lord Mortimer was silent, but his speaking eyes confessed his feelings.
Sir Charles Bingley, who had no secret motive to conceal his, openly
avowed his admiration, to which Lady Euphrasia replied as has been
already mentioned.

All the rapture Sir Charles expressed Lord Mortimer felt. His soul
seemed on the wing to fly to Amanda--to utter its feelings--to discover
hers and chide her for her conduct. This first emotion of tenderness,
however, quickly subsided, on recollecting what that conduct had
been--how cruelly, how ungratefully she had used him. Fled in the very
moment of hope and expectation, leaving him a prey to distrust, anxiety,
and regret, he dreaded some fatal mystery--some improper attachment
(experience had rendered him suspicious), which neither she nor her
father could avow; for never did he imagine that the scrupulous delicacy
of Fitzalan alone had effected their separation. He still adored Amanda;
he neither could nor desired to drive her from his thoughts, except well
assured she was unworthy of being harbored in them, and felt unutterable
impatience to have her mysterious conduct explained. From Tudor Hall he
had repaired to London, restless and unhappy. Soon after his arrival
there, the marquis proposed his accompanying him to Ireland. This he
declined, having reason to think Lord Cherbury meditated an alliance for
him with his family. The earl expressed regret at his refusal. He said
he wished he would join the marquis's party, as he wanted his opinion
relative to the state of Castle Carberry, where a man of integrity then
resided, who would have any alterations or repairs he might think
necessary executed in the most eligible manner. He mentioned the name of
Fitzalan. Lord Mortimer was surprised and agitated. He concealed his
emotions, however, and with apparent carelessness, asked a few questions
about him, and found that he was indeed the father of Amanda. She was
not mentioned, nor did he dare to inquire concerning her; but he
immediately declared that since his father wished it so much, he would
accompany the marquis. This was extremely pleasing to that nobleman, and
he and Lord Cherbury had in reality agreed upon a union between him and
Lady Euphrasia, and meant soon openly to avow their intention. Lord
Mortimer suspected, and Lady Euphrasia was already apprised of it; and
from vanity, was pleased at the idea of being connected with a man so
universally admired. Love was out of the question, for she had not
sufficient sensibility to experience it.

He, cautious of creating hopes which he never meant to realize, treated
her only with the attention which common politeness demanded, and on
every occasion seemed to prefer the marchioness's conversation to hers,
intending by this conduct to crush the projected scheme in embryo, and
spare himself the mortification of openly rejecting it. Had his heart
even been disengaged, Lady Euphrasia could never have been his choice.
If Amanda in reality proved as amiable as he had once reason to believe
her, he considered himself bound, by every tie of honor as well as love,
to fulfil the engagement he had entered into with her. He resolved,
however, to resist every plea of tenderness in her favor, except he was
thoroughly convinced she still deserved it. He went to Castle Carberry
purposely to make a display of indifference, and prevent any ideas being
entertained of his having followed her to Ireland. He deemed himself
justifiable in touching her sensibility (if, indeed, she possessed any
for him) by an appearance of coldness and inattention; but determined,
after a little retaliation of this kind on her, for the pain she had
made him endure, to come to an explanation, and be guided by its result
relative to his conduct in future to her.

The character of a perfect stranger was the one he was to support
throughout the evening; but her loveliness, and the gallantry of Sir
Charles Bingley, tempted him a thousand times to break through the
restraint he had imposed on himself.

The marchioness and Lady Euphrasia were not the only persons displeased
by the charms of Amanda. The Miss Kilcorbans saw, with evident
mortification, the admiration she excited, which they had flattered
themselves with chiefly engrossing; their disappointment was doubly
severe, after the pain, trouble, and expense they had undergone in
ornamenting their persons; after the suggestions of their vanity, and
the flattering encomiums of their mamma, who presided herself at their
toilet, every moment exclaiming, "Well, well, heaven help the men
to-night, girls!"

They fluttered across the room to Amanda, sweeping at least two yards of
painted tiffany after them; assured her they were extremely glad to see
her, but were afraid she was unwell, as she never looked so ill. Amanda
assured them she was conscious of no indisposition, and the harmony of
her features remained undisturbed. Miss Kilcorban, in a half whisper,
declared the marchioness had never smiled since she had entered the
room, and feared her mamma had committed a great mistake in inviting
them together. The rudeness of this speech shocked Amanda. An indignant
swell heaved her bosom, and she was about replying to it as it deserved,
when Miss Alicia stopped her by protesting she believed Lord Mortimer
dying for Lady Euphrasia. Amanda involuntarily raised her eyes at this
speech; but, instead of Lord Mortimer, beheld Sir Charles Bingley, who
was standing behind the young ladies. "Am I pardonable," cried he,
smiling, "for disturbing so charming a trio? but a soldier is taught
never to neglect a good opportunity: and one so propitious as the
present for the wish of my heart might not again offer." The Miss
Kilcorbans bridled up at this speech; plied their fans and smiled most
graciously on him, certainly concluding he meant to engage one or other
for the first set. Passing gently between them, he bowed gracefully to
Amanda, and requested the honor of her hand. She gave an assenting
smile, and he seated himself beside her till the dancing commenced. The
sisters cast a malignant glance over them, and swam off with a
contemptuous indifference.

Lady Euphrasia had expected Sir Charles and Lord Mortimer would have
been competitors for her hand, and was infinitely provoked by the
desertion of the former to her lovely cousin. He was a fashionable and
animated young man, whom she had often honored with her notice in
England, and wished to enlist in the train of her supposed adorers. Lord
Mortimer could scarcely restore her good-humor by engaging her. Almost
immediately after him, young Kilcorban advanced for the same purpose,
and Lord Mortimer sincerely regretted he had been beforehand with him.
The little fop was quite chagrined at finding her ladyship engaged; but
entreated the next set he might have the supreme honor and ecstatic
felicity of her hand. This, with the most impertinent affectation, she
promised, if able to endure the fatigue of another dance.

Amanda was next couple to Lady Euphrasia, and endeavored therefore to
calm her spirits, which the rudeness of Miss Kilcorban had discomposed,
and attend to the lively conversation of Sir Charles, who was extremely
pleasing and entertaining. Lord Mortimer watched them with jealous
attention. His wandering glances were soon noticed by Lady Euphrasia,
and her frowns and sarcastic speeches evinced her displeasure at them.
He tried to recollect himself, and act as politeness required. She, not
satisfied with fixing his attention, endeavored to attract Sir
Charles's. She spoke to him across Amanda; but all her efforts were here
ineffectual. He spoke and laughed with her ladyship, but his eyes could
not be withdrawn from the angelic countenance of his partner. Amanda's
hand trembled as, in turning, she presented it to Lord Mortimer; but,
though he extended his, he did not touch it. There was a slight in this
which pierced Amanda's heart. She sighed, unconscious of doing so
herself. Not so Sir Charles. He asked her, smiling, to where, or whom,
that sigh was wafted. This made Amanda recall her wandering thoughts.
She assumed an air of sprightliness, and went down the dance with much
animation. When finished, Sir Charles led her to a seat near the one
Lady Euphrasia and Lord Mortimer occupied. She saw the eyes of his
lordship often directed towards her, and her heart fluttered at the
pleasing probability of being asked to dance by him. Sir Charles
regretted that the old-fashioned custom of not changing partners was
over, and declared he could not leave her till she had promised him her
hand for the third set. This she could not refuse, and he left her with
reluctance, as the gentlemen were again standing up, to seek a partner.
At the same moment Lord Mortimer quitted Lady Euphrasia. Oh! how the
bosom of Amanda throbbed when she saw him approach and look at her. He
paused. A faintishness came over her. He cast another glance on her, and
passed on. Her eye followed him, and she saw him take out Miss
Kilcorban. This, indeed, was a disappointment. Propriety, she thought,
demanded his dancing the first set with Lady Euphrasia, but, if not
totally indifferent, surely he would not have neglected engaging her for
the second. "Yes," said she to herself, "he has totally forgotten me.
Lady Euphrasia is now the object, and he only pays attention to those
who can contribute to her amusement." Several gentlemen endeavored to
prevail on her to dance, but she pleaded fatigue, and sat solitary on a
window, apparently regarding the gay assembly, but in reality too much
engrossed by painful thoughts to do so. The woods, silvered by the beams
of the moon, recalled the venerable shades of Tudor Hall to memory,
where she had so often rambled by the same pale beams, and heard vows of
unchangeable regard--vows registered in her heart, yet now without the
hope of having them fulfilled. The dancing over, the company repaired to
another room for refreshments. Amanda, absorbed in thought, heeded not
their almost total desertion, till young Kilcorban, capering up to her,
declared she looked as lonesome as a hermit in his cell, and, laughing
in her face, turned off with a careless impertinence. He had not noticed
her before that night. He was indeed one of those little fluttering
insects who bask in the rays of fortune, and court alone her favorites.
Elated by an acquaintance with the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia, he
particularly neglected Amanda, not only from deeming them more worthy of
his attention, but from perceiving he could take no steps more certain
of gaining their favor. His words made Amanda sensible of the
singularity of her situation. She arose immediately, and went to the
other room. Every seat was already occupied. Near the door sat Lady
Euphrasia and the Miss Kilcorbans. Lord Mortimer leaned on the back of
her ladyship's chair, and young Kilcorban occupied one by her side,
which he never attempted offering to Amanda. She stood, therefore, most
unpleasantly by the door, and was exceedingly confused at hearing a
great many, in a whispering way, remarking the strangeness of her not
being noticed by so near a relation as the Marchioness of Roslin. A
general titter at her situation prevailed among Lady Euphrasia's party,
Lord Mortimer excepted. "Upon my word," said young Kilcorban, looking at
Amanda, "some ladies study attitudes which would be as well let alone."
"For the study of propriety," replied her ladyship, who appeared to have
unbended from her haughtiness, "she would do admirably for the figure of
Hope." "If she had but an anchor to recline on," rejoined he. "Yes,"
answered her ladyship, "with her floating locks and die-away glances."
"Or else, Patience on a monument," cried he. "Only she has no grief to
smile at," returned Lady Euphrasia. "Pardon me there," said he; "she has
the grief--not, indeed, that I believe she would smile at it--of being
totally eclipsed by your ladyship." "Or, what do you think," cried Lord
Mortimer, whose eyes sparkled with indignation during this dialogue, "of
likening her to Wisdom, pitying the follies of human kind, and smiling
to see the shafts of malice recoiling from the bosom of innocence and
modesty, with contempt, on those who levelled them at it?"

Amanda heard not these words, which were delivered in rather a low
voice. Her heart swelled with indignation at the impertinence directed
to her, and she would have quitted the room but that the passage was too
much crowded for her to pass. Sir Charles Bingley, occupied in attending
the young lady with whom he had danced, observed not Amanda till the
moment. He instantly flew to her. "Alone--and standing!" said he; "why
did I not see you before?--you look fatigued." She was pale with
emotion. "Kilcorban," continued he, "I must suppose you did not see Miss
Fitzalan, or your seat would not have been kept." Then catching him by
the arm, he raised him nimbly from his chair, and directly carried it to
Amanda; and having procured her refreshments, seated himself at her
feet, exclaiming, "this is my throne, let kings come bow to it." Her
lovely and unaffected graces had excited Sir Charles's admiration; but
it was the neglect with which he saw her treated, diffused such a
soothing tenderness through his manner as he now displayed. It hurt his
sensibility, and had she even been plain in her appearance, would have
rendered her the peculiar object of his attention. He detested the
marchioness and her daughter for their rancorous envy, as much as he
despised the Kilcorbans for their mean insolence. The marchioness told
him a long tale of the shocking conduct of Amanda's parents, whose ill
qualities she declared her looks announced her to possess, and
endeavored to depreciate her in his favor; but that was impossible.

"Lord!" said Lady Euphrasia, rising as she spoke, "let me pass; this
scene is sickening." Lord Mortimer remained behind her. He loitered
about the room, and his looks were often directed towards Amanda. Her
hopes began to revive. The lustre rekindled in her eyes, and a soft
blush again stole over her cheek. Though engaged to Sir Charles, she
felt she should be pleased to have Lord Mortimer make an overture for
her hand. The company were now returning to the ball-room, and Sir
Charles took her hand to lead her after them. At that moment Lord
Mortimer approached. Amanda paused as if to adjust some part of her
dress. He passed on to a very beautiful girl, whom he immediately
engaged, and led from the room. She followed them with her eyes, and
continued without moving, till the fervent pressure Sir Charles gave her
hand, restored her to recollection.

When the set with him was finished, she would have left the house
directly, had her servant been there; but after putting up the horses,
he had returned to Castle Carberry, and she did not expect him till a
very late hour. She declared her resolution of dancing no more, and Sir
Charles having avowed the same, they repaired to the card-room, as the
least crowded place they could find. Lady Greystock was playing at the
table, with the marquis and marchioness. She beckoned Amanda to her, and
having had no opportunity of speaking before, expressed her pleasure at
then seeing her. The marquis examined her through his spectacles. The
marchioness frowned, and declared, "she would take care in future, to
avoid parties subject to such disagreeable intruders." This speech was
too pointed not to be remarked. Amanda wished to appear undisturbed, but
her emotions grew too powerful to be suppressed, and she was obliged to
move hastily from the table. Sir Charles followed her. "Cursed
malignity," cried he, endeavoring to screen her from observation, while
tears trickled down her cheeks; "but, my dear Miss Fitzalan, was your
beauty and merit less conspicuous, you would have escaped it; 'tis the
vice of little minds to hate that excellence they cannot reach." "It is
cruel, it is shocking," said Amanda, "to suffer enmity to outlive the
object who excited it, and to hate the offspring on account of the
parent--the original of this picture," and she looked at her mother's,
"merited not such conduct." Sir Charles gazed on it;--it was wet with
the tears of Amanda. He wiped them off, and pressing the handkerchief to
his lips, put it in his bosom.

At this instant Lord Mortimer appeared. He had, indeed, been for some
time an unnoticed observer of the progress of this _tete-à-tete_. As
soon as he perceived he had attracted their regard, he quitted the room.

"His lordship is like a troubled spirit to-night, wandering to and fro,"
said Sir Charles; "I really believe everything is not right between him
and Lady Euphrasia." "Something, then," cried Amanda, "is in agitation
between him and her ladyship?" "So says the world," replied Sir Charles,
"but I do not always give implicit credit to its reports. I have known
Lord Mortimer this long time; and from my knowledge of him, should never
have supposed Lady Euphrasia Sutherland a woman capable of pleasing him;
nay, to give my real opinion, I think him quite uninterested about her
ladyship. I will not say so much as to all the other females present. I
really imagined several times to-night, from his glances to you, he was
on the point of requesting an introduction, which would not have pleased
me perfectly. Mortimer possesses more graces than those which merely
meet the eye, and is a rival I should by no means like to have."

Amanda, confused by this discourse, endeavored to change it, and at last
succeeded. They conversed pleasantly together on different subjects,
till they went to supper, when Sir Charles still continued his
attention. Lord Mortimer was, or at least appeared to be, entirely
engrossed with Lady Euphrasia, who from time to time tittered with the
Miss Kilcorbans, and looked satirically at Amanda. On quitting the
supper-room, she found her servant in the hall, and immediately desired
him to have the carriage drawn up. Sir Charles, who held her hand,
requested her to stay a little longer, yet acknowledged it was self
alone which dictated the request, as he knew she would not promote her
own pleasure by complying with it. As he handed her into the carriage,
he told her he should soon follow her example in retiring, as the scene,
so lately delightful, in losing her, would lose all its charms. He
entreated, and obtained permission, to wait on her the next morning.

How different was now the appearance of Amanda, to what it had been at
her departure from Castle Carberry! Pale, trembling, and languid, her
father received her into his arms--for, till she returned, he could not
think of going to rest--and instantly guessed the cause of her
dejection. His heart mourned for the pangs inflicted on his child's.
When she beheld him gazing on her with mingled woe and tenderness, she
tried to recruit her spirits; and after relating a few particulars of
the ball, answered the minute inquiries he made relative to the conduct
of the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia. He appeared unutterably affected
on hearing it. "Merciful power," exclaimed he, "what dispositions! But
you are too lovely, too like your mother, my Amanda, in every
perfection, to escape their malice. Oh! may it never injure you as it
did her. May that Providence, whose protection I daily implore for the
sweet child of my love, the source of earthly comfort, render every
wish, every scheme which may be formed against her, abortive; and oh!
may it yet bless me with the sight of her happiness."

Amanda retired to her chamber, inexpressibly affected by the language of
her father. "Yes," cried she, her heart swelling with pity and gratitude
to him, "my sorrow in future shall be concealed, to avoid exciting his.
The pain inflicted by thy inconstancy, Mortimer, shall be hid within the
recesses of my heart, and never shall the peace of my father be
disturbed by knowing the loss of mine."

The gray dawn was now beginning to advance, but Amanda had no
inclination for repose. As she stood at the window, she heard the solemn
stillness of the scene frequently interrupted by the distant noise of
carriages, carrying home the weary sons and daughters of dissipation.
"But a few hours ago," said she, "and how gay, how animated was my soul;
how dull, how cheerless now! Oh! Mortimer, but a few hours ago, and I
believed myself the beloved of thine heart, but the flattering illusion
is now over, and I no longer shall hope, or thou deceive." She changed
her clothes, and, flinging herself on the bed, from mere fatigue, at
length sunk into a slumber.



CHAPTER XXI.

  "Love reigns a very tyrant in my heart,
   Attended on his throne by all his guard
   Of furious wishes, fears, and nice suspicions."--OTWAY.


The next morning brought Sir Charles Bingley to Castle Carberry.
Fitzalan was out, but Amanda received him in her dressing-room. He told
her, with evident concern, he was on the point of setting off for the
metropolis, to embark from thence immediately for England, having
received letters that morning, which recalled him there. He regretted
that their intimacy, or rather friendship, as with insinuating softness
he entreated permission to call it, was interrupted at its very
commencement--declared it gave him more pain than she could imagine, or
he express--and that his return to Ireland would be expedited, for the
purpose of renewing it, and requested he might be flattered with an
assurance of not being totally forgotten during his absence. Amanda
answered him as if she supposed mere politeness had dictated the
request. Her father, she said, she was sure, would be happy to see him,
if he returned again to their neighborhood. At his entrance, he said he
could stay but a few minutes, yet he remained about two hours, and when
he arose to depart, declared he had reason to think the castle an
enchanted one. He found it difficult to get from it; "yet, unlike the
knights of old," continued he, "I wish not to break the spell which
detained me in it."

Day after day elapsed, and no Lord Mortimer appeared. Amanda, indeed,
heard frequently of him, and always as the admirer of Lady Euphrasia.
Frequently, too, she heard about the family at Ulster Lodge, their
superb entertainments, and those given in the neighborhood to them. The
Kilcorbans seemed to have given her up entirely. Lady Greystock was the
only one of the family who continued to pay her any attention. She
called once or twice at Castle Carberry to see whether her apron was
finished, and tell all the news she had picked up, to Amanda. The
resolution which Amanda had formed of concealing her melancholy from her
father, she supported tolerably well, but she only indulged it more
freely in solitude. The idea of Lord Mortimer's union with Lady
Euphrasia haunted her imagination and embittered every moment. "Yes,"
she would exclaim (as she wandered through the garden, which had been
converted from a rude wilderness into a scene of beauty by her
superintending care), "I have planted flowers, but another shall enjoy
their sweets. I have planted roses for Mortimer to strew in the path of
Lady Euphrasia;--I have adorned the landscape, and she shall enjoy its
beauty!"

About three weeks after the ball, as she sat at work one morning in the
dressing-room, beguiling her thoughts with a little plaintive song, she
heard the door softly open behind her: she supposed it to be Ellen; but
not finding any one advance, turned round and perceived not Ellen
indeed, but Lord Mortimer himself. She started from her chair:--the work
dropped from her hands, and she had neither power to speak or move.

"I fear I have surprised and alarmed you," said Lord Mortimer. "I ask
pardon for my intrusion, but I was informed I should find Mr. Fitzalan
here."

"He is in the study, I believe, my lord," replied Amanda, coolly, and
with restored composure. "I will go and inform him your lordship wishes
to see him."

"No," exclaimed he, "I will not suffer you to have so much trouble: my
business is not so urgent as to require my seeing him immediately." He
reseated Amanda, and drew a chair near her.

She pretended to be busy with her work, whilst the eyes of Lord
Mortimer were cast round the room, as if viewing well-known objects,
which at once pleased and pained his sensibility, by awakening the
memory of past delightful days. "This room," said he, softly sighing, "I
well remember; it was the favorite retirement of one of the most amiable
of women."

"So I have heard," replied Amanda, "the virtues of Lady Cherbury are
remembered with the truest gratitude by many in the vicinity of the
castle."

"I think," cried Lord Mortimer, gazing upon Amanda with the softest
tenderness, "the apartment is still occupied by a kindred spirit."

Amanda's eyes were instantly bent on the ground, and a gentle sigh
heaved her bosom; but it was rather the sigh of regret than pleasure;
with such an accent as this Lord Mortimer was wont to address her at
Tudor Hall, but she had now reason to think it only assumed, for the
purpose of discovering whether she yet retained any sensibility for him.
Had he not treated her with the most pointed neglect? was he not the
declared admirer of Lady Euphrasia? had he not confessed, on entering
the room, he came to seek not her, but her father? These ideas rushing
through her mind, determined her to continue no longer with him;
delicacy, as well as pride, urged her to this, for she feared, if she
longer listened to his insinuating language, it might lead her to betray
the feelings of her heart; she therefore arose, and said she would
acquaint her father his lordship waited for him.

"Cold, insensible Amanda," cried he, snatching her hand, to prevent her
departing, "is it thus you leave me? when we parted in Wales, I could
not have believed we should ever have had such a meeting as this."

"Perhaps not, my lord," replied she, somewhat haughtily, "but we have
both thought more prudently since that period."

"Then why," said he, "did not prudence teach you to shun a conduct which
could create suspicion?"

"Suspicion, my lord!" repeated Amanda, with a kind of horror in her
look.

"Pardon me," cried he, "the word is disagreeable; but, Miss Fitzalan,
when you reflect on the manner in which you have acted to me;--your
precipitate, your clandestine departure, at the very period when a
mutual acknowledgment of reciprocal feelings should have been attended
with the most explicit candor on both sides, you cannot wonder at
unpleasant conjectures and tormenting doubts obtruding on my mind."

"Is it possible, my lord," said Amanda, "you never conceived the reason
of my departure? Is it possible reflection never pointed it out?"

"Never, I solemnly assure you; nor shall I be happy till I know it." He
paused, as if for a reply; but Amanda, agitated by his words, had not
power to speak. Whilst he stood silent, trembling, and apparently
embarrassed, she heard her father's voice, as he ascended the stairs.
This instantly restored hers. "I must go, my lord," cried she, starting,
and struggling to withdraw her hand. "Promise then to meet me," he said,
"this evening at St. Catherine's, by seven, or I will not let you go. My
soul will be in tortures till I have your actions explained." "I do
promise," said Amanda. Lord Mortimer released her, and she retired into
her chamber just time enough to avoid her father.

Again her hopes began to revive. Again she believed she was not mistaken
in supposing Lord Mortimer had come into Ireland on her account. His
being mentioned as the admirer of Lady Euphrasia, she supposed owing to
his being a resident in the house with her. About herself, had he been
indifferent, he never could have betrayed such emotions. His looks, as
well as language, expressed the feelings of a heart tenderly attached
and truly distressed. Lest any circumstance had happened, which would
prevent a renewal of that attachment, she felt as much impatience as he
manifested, to give the desired explanation of her conduct.

His lordship was scarcely gone, ere Lady Greystock made her appearance.
Amanda supposed, as usual, she only came to pay a flying visit: how
great then was her mortification and surprise, when her ladyship told
her she was come to spend the day quite in the family way with her, as
the ladies of Grangeville were so busy preparing for a splendid
entertainment they were to be at the ensuing day, that they had excluded
all visitors, and rendered the house quite disagreeable.

Amanda endeavored to appear pleased, but to converse she found almost
impossible, her thoughts were so engrossed by an absent object. Happily
her ladyship was so very loquacious herself, as at all times to require
a listener more than a speaker. She was, therefore, well satisfied with
the taciturnity of her fair companion. Amanda tried to derive some
comfort from the hope that her ladyship would depart early in the
evening, to which she flattered herself she would be induced by the idea
of a comfortable whist party at home. But six o'clock struck, and she
manifested no inclination to move. Amanda was in agony. Her cheek was
flushed with agitation. She rose and walked to the window, to conceal
her emotion, whilst her father and Lady Greystock were conversing. The
former at last said, he had some letters to write, and begged her
ladyship to excuse his absence for a few minutes. This she most
graciously promised to do, and pulling out her knitting, requested
Amanda to read to her till tea-time. Amanda took up a book, but was so
confused, she scarcely knew what, or how she read.

"Softly, softly, my dear child," at last exclaimed her ladyship, whose
attention could by no means keep pace with the rapid manner in which she
read. "I protest you post on with as much expedition as my Lady
Blerner's poneys on the circular." Amanda blushed, and began to read
slowly; but when the clock struck seven her feelings could be no longer
repressed. "Good Heaven!" cried she, letting the book drop from her
hand, and starting from her chair, "this is too much." "Bless me! my
dear!" said Lady Greystock, staring at her, "what is the matter?" "Only
a slight headache, madam," answered Amanda, continuing to walk about the
room.

Her busy fancy represented Lord Mortimer, now impatiently waiting for
her--thinking in every sound which echoed among the desolate ruins of
St. Catherine's he heard her footsteps; his soul melting with tenderness
at the idea of a perfect reconciliation, which an unsatisfied doubt only
retarded. What would he infer from her not keeping an appointment so
ardently desired, so solemnly promised, but that she was unable to
remove that doubt to his satisfaction. Perhaps he would not credit the
reason she could assign for breaking her engagement. Perhaps piqued at
her doing so, he would not afford her an opportunity of accounting for
it, or the apparent mystery of her late conduct. To retain his doubts
would be to lose his tenderness, and, at last, perhaps, expel her from
his heart. She thought of sending Ellen to acquaint him with the
occasion of her detention at home; but this idea existed but for a
moment. An appointment she concealed from her father she could not bear
to divulge to any other person; it would be a breach of duty and
delicacy, she thought. "No," said she to herself, "I will not, from the
thoughtlessness and impetuosity which lead so many of my sex astray,
overstep the bounds of propriety, and to reinstate myself in the esteem
of one person lose that of others; and, above all, that of my own heart.
If Lord Mortimer refuses to hear my justification, he will act neither
agreeably to candor or justice, and pride must aid in repelling my
regret." "You look strangely, indeed, my dear," said Lady Greystock,
who was attentively watching her, whilst those ideas were rising in her
mind. Amanda recollected the remarks which might be made on her
behavior; and apologizing for the manner in which she had acted, took
her seat with some degree of composure. Fitzalan soon after entered the
room, and tea was made; when over, Lady Greystock declared they were a
snug party for three-handed whist. Amanda would gladly have excused
herself from being of the party, but politeness made her conceal her
reluctance; but extreme dejection was noticed both by Fitzalan and her
ladyship. The latter imputed it to regret, at not being permitted by her
father to accept an invitation she had received for a ball the ensuing
evening.

"Don't fret about it, my dear creature," said she, laying down her
cards, to administer the consolation she supposed Amanda required; "'tis
not by frequenting balls and public places a girl always stands the best
chance of being provided for; I, for my part, have been married three
times, yet never made a conquest of any one of my husbands in a public
place. No, it was the privacy of my life partly obtained for me so many
proofs of good fortune." Fitzalan and Amanda laughed. "I shall never be
dissatisfied with staying at home," said the latter, "though without
either expecting or desiring to have my retirement recompensed as your
ladyship's was." "One prize will satisfy you then," said Fitzalan. "Ah!"
cried Lady Greystock, "it is Lady Euphrasia Sutherland will obtain the
capital one. I don't know where such another young man as Lord Mortimer
is to be found." "Then your ladyship supposes," said Fitzalan, "there is
some truth in the reports circulated, relative to him and Lady
Euphrasia." "I assure you there is," said she; "and I think the
connection will be a very eligible one. Their births, their fortunes,
are equal." But ah, thought Amanda, how unlike their dispositions. "I
dare say," proceeded her ladyship, "Lady Euphrasia will have changed her
title before this time next year."

Fitzalan glanced at Amanda: her face was deadly pale, and she put him
and Lady Greystock out in the game by the errors she committed. At last
the carriage from Grangeville arrived, and broke up a party Amanda could
not much longer have supported. Her father perceived the painful efforts
she made to conceal her distress. He pitied her from his soul, and,
pretending to think she was only indisposed, entreated her to retire to
her chamber. Amanda gladly complied with this entreaty, and began to
meditate on what Lady Greystock had said. Was there not a probability of
its being true? Might not the indifference Lord Mortimer had manifested
on his first arrival in the neighborhood have really originated from a
change of affections? Might not the tenderness he displayed in the
morning have been concerted with the hope of its inducing her to gratify
his curiosity, by relating the reason of her journey from Wales, or
please his vanity by tempting her to give some proof of attachment? But
she soon receded from this idea. Lady Greystock was not infallible in
her judgment. Reports of approaching nuptials, Amanda knew, had often
been raised without any foundation for them. The present report,
relative to Lord Mortimer and Lady Euphrasia, might be one of that
nature. She could not believe him so egregiously vain, or so
deliberately base, as to counterfeit tenderness merely for the purpose
of having his curiosity or vanity gratified. She felt, however, truly
unhappy, and could derive no consolation but from the hope that her
suspense, at least, would soon be terminated.

She passed a restless night; nor was her morning more composed. She
could not settle to any of her usual avocations. Every step she heard,
she started in expectation of instantly seeing Lord Mortimer; but he did
not appear. After dinner she walked out alone, and took the road to St.
Catherine's. When she reached the ruins, she felt fatigued, and sat down
upon a flag in the chapel to rest herself. "Here," said she, pensively
leaning her head upon her hand, "Mortimer waited for me; perhaps with
tender impatience. Here, too, he perhaps accused me of neglect or
deceit." She heard a rustling behind her, and turning, perceived Sister
Mary.

"You are welcome, my dear soul," cried the good-natured nun, running
forward, and sitting down by her; "but why did you not come in to see
us?" continued she, affectionately kissing her. Amanda said, "such was
her intention, but feeling a little indisposed, she had remained in the
air, in hopes of growing better." "Oh, Jesu!" cried the sister, "you do
indeed look ill, I must go and get you a cordial from our prioress, who
is quite a doctress, I assure you."

Amanda caught her gown as she was running away, and assured her she was
better.

"Well, then," said she, resuming her seat, "I must tell you of an odd
thing which happened here last night. I came out to walk about the ruins
between the lights--that is, as one may say, when it is neither dark or
light. As the air was cold, I wrapped my veil about me, and had just
turned the cloisters, when I heard a quick foot pacing after me. Well,
I, supposing it to be one of the sisters, walked slowly, that she might
easily overtake me. But you may guess my surprise when I was overtaken,
not by one of them indeed, but by one of the finest and most beautiful
young men I ever beheld. Lord, how he did start when he saw me, just for
all the world as if I was a ghost; he looked quite wild, and flew off
muttering something to himself. Well, I thought all this strange, and
was making all the haste I could to the convent, when he appeared again
coming from under that broken arch; and he bowed and smiled so sweetly,
and held his hat in his hand so respectfully, whilst he begged my pardon
for the alarm he had given me; and then he blushed and strove to hide
his confusion with his handkerchief, while he asked me if I had seen
here a young lady about the ruins that evening, as a particular friend
had informed him she would be there, and desired him to escort her home.
'Why, my dear sir,' says I, 'I have been about this place the whole
evening, and there has neither been man, woman, nor child, but you and
myself; so the young lady changed her mind, and took another ramble.'
'So I suppose,' said he, and he looked so pale, and so melancholy, I
could not help thinking it was a sweetheart he had been seeking; so by
way of giving him a bit of comfort, 'Sir,' says I, 'if you will leave
any marks of the young lady you were seeking with me, I will watch here
myself a little longer for her; and if she comes I will tell her how
uneasy you were at not finding her, and be sure to dispatch her after
you.' 'No, he thanked me,' he said, 'but it was of very little
consequence his not meeting her, or indeed whether he ever met her
again,' and went away." "Did he?" said Amanda. "Bless me!" exclaimed the
nun, "you are worse, instead of better."

Amanda acknowledged she was, and rising, requested she would excuse her
not paying her compliments that evening at the nunnery.

Sister Mary pressed her to drink tea with the prioress, or at least take
some of her excellent cordial; but Amanda refused both requests, and the
affectionate nun saw her depart with reluctance.

Scarcely had she regained the road, ere a coach and six, preceded and
followed by a number of attendants, approached with such quickness that
she was obliged to step aside to avoid it. Looking in at the window as
it passed, she saw Lord Mortimer and Lady Euphrasia seated in it,
opposite to each other; she saw they both perceived her, and that Lady
Euphrasia laughed, and put her head forward to stare impertinently at
her. Amanda was mortified that they had seen her: there was something
at that moment humiliating in the contrast between their situation and
hers--she, dejected and solitary, they adorned and attended with all the
advantages of fortune. But in the estimation of a liberal mind, cried
she, the want of such advantage can never lessen me--such a mind as I
flatter myself Lord Mortimer possesses. Ah! if he thinks as I do, he
would prefer a lonely ramble in the desolate spot I have just quitted,
to all the parade and magnificence he is about witnessing. The night
passed heavily away. The idea of Lord Mortimer's devoting all his
attention to Lady Euphrasia, could not be driven from her mind.

The next morning, the first object she saw, on going to the window, was
a large frigate lying at anchor near the castle. Ellen entered her
chamber, and sighing heavily, as she always did, indeed, at the sight of
a ship, said, "she wished it contained her wandering sailor." Amanda
indulged a hope that Lord Mortimer would appear in the course of the
day, but she was disappointed. She retired, after tea, in the evening to
her dressing-room, and seated in the window, enjoyed a calm and
beautiful scene. Not a cloud concealed the bright azure of the
firmament; the moon spread a line of silvery radiance over the waves,
that stole with a melancholy murmur upon the shore; and the silence
which reigned around was only interrupted by the faint noise of the
mariners on board the frigate, and their evening drum. At last Amanda
heard the paddling of oars, and perceived a large boat coming from the
ship, rowed by sailors in white shirts and trousers, their voices
keeping time to their oars. The appearance they made was picturesque,
and Amanda watched them till the boat disappeared among the rocks. The
supper-bell soon after summoned her from the window; but scarcely had
she retired to her chamber for the night, ere Ellen, smiling, trembling,
and apparently overcome with joy, appeared.

"I have seen him," cried she, hastily; "oh, madam, I have seen poor Chip
himself, and he is as kind and as true-hearted as ever. I went this
evening to the village to see old Norah, to whom you sent the linen, for
she is a pleasing kind of poty, and does not laugh like the rest at one
for their Welsh tongue; so when I was returning home, and at a goot
tistance from her cabin, I saw a great number of men coming towards me,
all dressed in white. To pe sure, as I heerd a great teal apout the
white poys, I thought these were nothing else, and I did so quake and
tremble, for there was neither hole, or bush, or tree on the spot, that
would have sheltered one of the little tiny fairies of Penmaenmawr.
Well, they came on, shouting and laughing, and merrier than I thought
such rogues ought to be; and the moment they espied me, they gathered
round me, and began pulling me about; so I gave a great scream, and
tirectly a voice (Lort, how my heart jumped at it) cried out, 'that is
Ellen;' and to pe sure poor Chip soon had me in his arms; and then I
heard they were sailors from the frigate, come to get fresh provisions
at the village; so I turned pack with them, and they had a great bowl of
whiskey punch, and a whole sight of cakes, and Chip told me all his
adventures; and he was so glad when he heard I lived with you, pecause
he said you were a sweet, mild young laty, and he was sure you would
sometimes remind me of him; and he hopes soon to get his tischarge, and
then--" "You are to be married," said Amanda, interpreting the blushes
and hesitation of Ellen. "Yes, matam, and I assure you Chip is not
altered for the worse py a seafaring life. His voice, inteed, is a
little of the roughest, but he told me that was owing to his learning
the poatswain's whistle. Poor fellow, he sails to-morrow night. The ship
is on the Irish station, and they are to coast it to Dublin."

"Happy Ellen!" said Amanda, as she retired from her chamber, "thy
perturbations and disquietudes are over; assured of the affection of thy
village swain, peace and cheerfulness will resume their empire in thy
breast."

The next evening at twilight, Amanda went down to the beach with her
father to see the fishermen drawing their seines on shore, on which
their hopes, and the comfort of their families, depended. Whilst
Fitzalan conversed with them, Amanda seated herself on a low rock to
observe their motions. In the murmur of the waves there was a gentle
melancholy, in unison with her present feelings. From a pensive
meditation, which had gradually rendered her inattentive to the scene
before her, she was suddenly roused by voices behind her. She started
from her seat, for in one of them she imagined she distinguished the
accent of Lord Mortimer. Nor was she mistaken. He was descending a
winding path near her, accompanied by a naval officer. To pass without
seeing her was impossible; and as he approached her, he stopped,
apparently hesitating whether or not he should address her. In a few
minutes his hesitation ended, with waving his handkerchief, as if to bid
her adieu, whilst he proceeded to a small boat which had been for some
time lying in a creek among the rocks, and which, on receiving him and
his companion, immediately rowed to the frigate. Amanda trembled. Her
heart beat violently. Ellen had informed her the frigate was to sail
that night; and what could induce Lord Mortimer to visit it at such an
hour, except an intention of departing in it.

Uncertainty is dreadful. She grew sick with anxiety before her father
returned to the castle. On entering it, she immediately repaired to her
chamber, and calling Ellen hastily, demanded if Chip's intelligence was
true?

"Alas! yes," said Ellen, weeping violently; "and I know the reason you
inquire. You saw Lord Mortimer going to the ship. I saw him myself, as I
stood on the beech talking to Chip, who was one of the sailors that came
in the boat for his lortship and the captain; and to be sure the sight
left my eyes when I saw my lort departing, pecause I knew he was going
away in anger at the treatment he supposed he received from you."

"From me?" exclaimed Amanda.

"Oh! you will never forgive me for acting so padly as I have done by
you," sobbed Ellen; "put inteed the sight of poor Chip drove everything
from my memory put himself. Last night, as I was going to Norah's, I
overtook Lort Mortimer on the road, who was walking quite sorrowfully,
as I may say, py himself; so to pe sure I thought I could do no less in
good manners than drop him a curtsey as I passed; so up he came to me
directly: 'And, my good girl, how are you?' said he; and he smiled so
sweetly, and looked so handsome; and then he took my hand, and to pe
sure his hand was as soft as any velvet. 'And pray, Ellen,' said he, 'is
Miss Fitzalan at home, and disengaged?' I told him you was, and Cot
knows, my Lort, said I, and melancholy enough, too. I left her in the
tressing-room window, looking out at the waves, and listening to the
winds. 'Well, hasten home,' cried he, 'and tell her she will oblige me
greatly py meeting me immediately at the rocks peyond the castle.' I
promised him I would, and he put, nay, inteed, forced five guineas into
my hand, and turned off another road, charging me not to forget; put as
I was so near Norah's, I thought I might just step in to see how she
did, and when I left her, I met poor Chip, and Lort knows I am afraid he
would have made me forget my own tear father and mother."

"Oh, Ellen!" cried Amanda, "how could you serve me so?" "Oh, tear!" said
Ellen, redoubling her tears, "I am certainly one of the most unfortunate
girls in the world; put, Lort, now, Miss Amanda, why should you be so
sorrowful; for certain my lort loves you too well to pe always angry.
There is poor Chip now, though he thought I loved Parson Howel, he never
forgot me."

Ellen's efforts at consolation were not successful, and Amanda dismissed
her, that, unnoticed and unrestrained, she might indulge the tears which
flowed at the idea of a long, a lasting separation, perhaps, from Lord
Mortimer. Offended, justly offended, as she supposed, with her, the
probability was she would be banished from his thoughts, or, if
remembered, at least without esteem or tenderness: thus might his heart
soon be qualified for making another choice. She walked to the window,
and saw the ship already under weigh. She saw the white sails fluttering
in the breeze, and heard the shouts of the mariners. "Oh, Mortimer!"
cried she, "is it thus we part? is it thus the expectations you raised
in my heart are disappointed? You go hence, and deem Amanda unworthy a
farewell. You gaze, perhaps, at this moment on Castle Carberry, without
breathing one sigh for its inhabitants. Ah, had you loved sincerely,
never would the impulse of resentment have conquered the emotion of
tenderness. No, Mortimer, you deceived me, and perhaps yourself, in
saying I was dear to you. Had I been so, never could you have acted in
this manner." Her eyes followed the course of the vessel, till it
appeared like a speck in the horizon. "He is gone," said she, weeping
afresh, and withdrawing herself from the window; "he is gone, and if
ever I meet him again, it will probably be as the husband of Lady
Euphrasia."



CHAPTER XXII.

  "Think'st thou I'll make a life of jealousy,
   To follow still the changes of the moon
   With fresh surmises? No; to be once in doubt
   Is to be resolved. But yet
   I'll see before I doubt: when I doubt, prove,
   And on the proof there is no more but this--
   Away at once with love or jealousy."--SHAKSPEARE.


Lord Mortimer had, in reality, departed with sentiments very unfavorable
to Amanda. He had waited impatiently at St. Catherine's, in the fond
expectation of having all his doubts removed by a candid explanation of
the motives which caused her precipitate journey from Wales. His soul
sighed for a reconciliation: his tenderness was redoubled by being so
long restrained. The idea of folding his beloved Amanda to his bosom,
and hearing that she deserved all the tenderness and sensibility which
glowed in that bosom for her, gave him the highest pleasure; but when
the appointed hour passed, and no Amanda appeared, language cannot
express his disappointment. Almost distracted by it, he ventured to
inquire concerning her from Sister Mary; and, long after the friendly
nun had retired to the convent, continued to wander about the ruins,
till the shadows of night had enveloped every object from his view. "She
fears to come, then," exclaimed he, quitting the desolate spot,
oppressed with the keenest anguish; "she fears to come, because she
cannot satisfy my doubts. I witnessed her agitation, her embarrassment,
this morning, when I hinted at them. The mystery which separated us will
not be explained, and it is in vain to think we shall ever meet, as I
once flattered myself we should."

This thought seemed to strike at all his hopes. The distress and
disorder of his mind was depicted on his countenance, and escaped not
the observation and raillery of the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia; but
their raillery was in vain, and unanswered by him; he was absorbed in a
train of pensive reflections, which they had neither power to remove or
disturb.

Most unwillingly he accompanied them the ensuing day to a splendid
entertainment given purposely for them in the neighborhood. The
unexpected sight of Amanda, as she stood on a little elevated bank, to
avoid the carriage, caused a sudden emotion of surprise and delight in
his bosom. The utmost powers of eloquence could not have pleaded her
cause so successfully as her own appearance at that minute did. The
languor of her face, its mild and seraphic expression, her pensive
attitude, and the timid modesty with which she seemed shrinking from
observation, all touched the sensibility of Lord Mortimer, awakened his
softest feelings, revived his hopes, and made him resolve to seek
another opportunity of demanding an explanation from her. The sudden
color which flushed his cheeks, and the sparkling of his eyes, as he
looked from the carriage, attracted the notice of his companions. They
smiled maliciously at each other, and Lady Euphrasia declared, "She
supposed the girl was stationed there to try and attract admiration,
which, perhaps, her silly old father had told her she merited--or else
to meet with adventures." Lord Mortimer drew in his head, and the
contrast between her ladyship and the fair being he had been looking at,
never struck him so forcibly as at that moment, and lessened one as much
as it elevated the other in his estimation.

He wandered near the castle the next evening, in hopes of meeting
Amanda. His disappointment was diminished by seeing Ellen, who he was
confident, would be faithful to the message intrusted to her. With this
confidence he hastened to the rocks, every moment expecting the
appearance of Amanda. Her image, as it appeared to him the preceding
day, dwelt upon his imagination, and he forcibly felt how essential to
his peace was a reconciliation with her. An hour elapsed, and his
tenderness again began to give way to resentment. It was not Ellen, but
Amanda he doubted. He traversed the beach in an agony of impatience and
anxiety; a feverish heat pervaded his frame, and he trembled with
agitation. At length he heard the distant sound of the supper-bell at
Ulster Lodge, which never rang till a late hour. All hopes of seeing
Amanda were now given up, and every intention of meeting her at a future
period relinquished. She avoided him designedly, it was evident. He
would have cursed himself for betraying such anxiety about her, and his
wounded pride revolted from the idea of seeking another interview. "No!
Amanda!" he exclaimed, as he passed the castle, "you can no longer have
any claim upon me. Mysterious appearances in the most candid mind will
raise suspicions. In giving you an opportunity for accounting for such
appearances, I did all that candor, tenderness, sensibility, and honor
could dictate; and, instead of again making efforts to converse with
you, I must now make others, which, I trust, will be more successful,
entirely to forget you."

The next morning he accompanied the marquis in his barge to the frigate,
where he was agreeably surprised to find in the commander an old friend
of his, Captain Somerville, who returned to Ulster Lodge with his
visitors, and there, in a half jesting, half serious manner, asked Lord
Mortimer to accompany him on his intended cruise. This his lordship
instantly promised he would, with pleasure. He was completely tired of
the Roslin family, and was, besides, glad of an opportunity of
convincing Amanda he was not quite so fascinated to her as she perhaps
believed, by his quitting the neighborhood ere their departure. As he
descended to the boat, the sight of Amanda shook his resolution. She
seemed destined to cross his path, merely to give him disquietude. An
ardent wish sprung in his heart to address her, but it was instantly
suppressed, by reflecting how premeditately she had avoided him; pride,
therefore, prompted him to pass her in silence; yet, as the boat receded
from the shore, his eyes were riveted to the spot on which she stood,
and when he could no longer see her white gown fluttering in the wind,
he gave a sigh to the remembrance of the happy days he had passed with
her at Tudor Hall; and another to the idea, that such hours would never
more be enjoyed by him.

The family at Ulster Lodge were both mortified and disappointed by his
departure, though he, perceiving their displeasure, had endeavored to
lessen it, by promising to wait their arrival in Dublin, and return with
them to England. His departure seemed a tacit intimation that he was not
as much attached to Lady Euphrasia as they wished him to be. A suspicion
of this nature had, indeed, for some time pervaded their minds, and also
that his affections were elsewhere disposed of: they had reason to
believe that the person who possessed them dwelt in the vicinity of the
lodge, from the great alteration which took place in his manner,
immediately after his arrival at it. In hopes of discovering who this
was, they watched him critically at all the parties he frequented with
them, but soon found it was not the present, but the absent objects had
the power of exciting emotions in him. At the name of Amanda Fitzalan or
her father they observed him color, and frequently saw him contemplate
Castle Carberry, as if it contained a being infinitely dear to him; to
Amanda, therefore, they feared he was attached, and supposed the
attachment commenced at the Kilcorbans' ball, where they had noticed his
impassioned glances at this hated, because too lovely relation. The most
unbounded rage took possession of their souls; they regretted ever
having come to Ireland, where they supposed Lord Mortimer had first seen
Amanda, as Lord Cherbury had mentioned the children of Fitzalan being
strangers to him or his family. They knew the passions of Lord Cherbury
were impetuous, and that ambition was the leading principle of his soul.
Anxious for an alliance between his family and theirs, they knew he
would ill brook any obstacle which should be thrown in the way of its
completion, and therefore resolved, if Lord Mortimer, at their next
meeting, appeared averse to the wishes of his father, to acquaint the
earl with the occasion of his son's disinclination, and represent
Fitzalan and his daughter as aiding and abetting each other, in an
insidious scheme to entangle the affections of Lord Mortimer, and draw
him into a marriage; a scheme which, to a man of the world (as they knew
Lord Cherbury to be), would appear so very probable as to gain implicit
credit. This they knew would convert the esteem he felt for Fitzalan
into hatred and contempt; his favor would consequently be withdrawn, and
the father and child again sunk into indigent obscurity. To think that
Amanda, by dire necessity, should be reduced to servitude; to think the
elegance of her form should be disguised by the garb of poverty, and the
charms of her face faded by misery, were ideas so grateful, so ecstatic
to their hearts, that to have them realized, they felt they could with
pleasure relinquish the attentions of Lord Mortimer, to have a pretext
for injuring Fitzalan with his father: though not quite assured their
suspicions were well founded, they would never have hesitated
communicating them as such to Lord Cherbury; but for their own
satisfaction they wished to know what reason they had to entertain them.
Lady Greystock was the only person they observed on a footing of
intimacy with Amanda, and through her means flattered themselves they
might make the desired discovery. They therefore began to unbend from
their haughtiness, and make overtures for an intimacy with her;
overtures which she received with delight, and in their present
attention forgot their past neglect, which had given her such disgust.
As they became intimate with her, they were much amused by a shrewd
manner she possessed of telling stories, and placing the foibles and
imperfections of their visitors in the most conspicuous and ludicrous
light; particularly of such visitors as were not agreeable to them. With
the foibles of human nature she was well acquainted, also with the art
of turning those foibles to her own advantage. She perceived the
egregious vanity of the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia, and by
administering large portions of what Sterne styles the delicious essence
of the soul, to them, soon became an immense favorite. After an
injunction of secrecy, the marchioness communicated her fears relative
to Lord Mortimer and Amanda, which, she pretended, regard for one and
pity for the other, had excited; as an attachment either of an honorable
or dishonorable nature, she knew Lord Cherbury would never pardon. To
know, therefore, how far matters had proceeded between them, would be
some satisfaction, and might, perhaps, be the means of preventing the
ill consequences she dreaded. Lady Greystock was not to be imposed on;
she perceived it was not pity for Amanda, but envy and jealousy, which
had excited the fears of the marchioness. If Lord Mortimer was attached
to Amanda, from his sentiments and manner, she was convinced it was an
attachment of the purest nature. She carefully concealed her thoughts,
however, affected to enter into all the alarms of the marchioness, and,
as she saw she was expected to do, promised all in her power should be
done for discovering what attachment subsisted between his lordship and
Miss Fitzalan. For this purpose she began to grow constant in her visits
at Castle Carberry, often spending whole days in the most familiar
manner with Amanda, and endeavoring, by various methods, to beguile her
of the secrets of her heart. Sometimes she rallied her on her
melancholy; sometimes expressed pity for it in strains of the most
soothing tenderness; would frequently relate little fictitious and
embellished anecdotes of her own youth, in which she said she had
suffered the most exquisite misery, from an unfortunate entanglement;
would then advert to Lord Mortimer; express her wonder at his
precipitate departure, and her admiration of his virtues, declaring if
ever Lady Euphrasia gained his heart, which she much doubted, she must
be considered as one of the most fortunate of women.

Delicacy sealed the lips of Amanda and guarded her secret. She believed
her passion to be hopeless, and felt that to be offered consolation on
such a subject, would, to her feelings, be truly humiliating. But though
she could command her words, she could not her feelings, and they were
visibly expressed in her countenance. She blushed whenever Lord Mortimer
was mentioned; looked shocked if a union between him and Lady Euphrasia
was hinted at; and smiled if a probability was suggested of its never
taking place. Lady Greystock, at last, relinquished her attempts at
betraying Amanda into a confession of her sentiments; indeed, she
thought such a confession not very requisite, as her countenance pretty
clearly developed what they were; and she deemed herself authorized to
inform the marchioness that she was sure something had passed between
Lord Mortimer and Amanda, though what she could not discover, from the
circumspection of the latter. The marchioness was enraged, and more
determined than ever on involving Amanda in destruction, if Lord
Mortimer hesitated a moment in obeying the wishes of his father, by
uniting himself to Lady Euphrasia.



CHAPTER XXIII.

  "And to be plain, 'tis not your person
   My stomach's set so sharp and fierce on:
   But 'tis your better part, your riches.
   That my enamored heart bewitches."--HUDIBRAS.


A month after the departure of Lord Mortimer the Roslin family left
Ulster Lodge. Amanda sighed, as she saw them pass, at the idea of the
approaching meeting, which might, perhaps, soon be followed by an event
that would render her fond remembrance of Lord Mortimer improper. Many
of the families about the castle were already gone to town for the
winter. Those who remained in the country till after Christmas, among
whom were the Kilcorbans, had so entirely neglected Amanda, from the
time the marchioness arrived in the neighborhood, that they could not
think of renewing their visits, confident as they were, from the proper
dignity of her and Fitzalan's manner, that they would be unwelcome.

The weather was now often too severe to permit Amanda to take her usual
rambles; and the solitude of the castle was heightened by her own
melancholy ideas, as well as by the dreariness of the season. No more
the magic hand of hope sketched scenes of flattering brightness, to
dissipate the gloominess of the present ones. The prospects of Amanda's
heart were as dreary, as desolate, as those she viewed from the windows
of the castle. Her usual avocations no longer yielded delight. Every
idea, every occupation, was embittered by the reflection of being
lessened in the estimation of Lord Mortimer. Her health declined with
her peace, and again Fitzalan had the anguish of seeing sorrow nipping
his lovely blossom. The rose forsook her cheek, and her form assumed a
fragile delicacy, which threatened the demolition of his earthly
happiness. He was not ignorant of the cause of her dejection, but he
would not shock her feelings by hinting it. Every effort which
tenderness could suggest, he essayed to cheer her, but without any
durable effect; for though she smiled when he expressed a wish to see
her cheerful, it was a smile transient as the gleamings of a wintry sun,
and which only rendered the succeeding gloom more conspicuous.

At this period of distress, Lady Greystock, who continued her visits at
the castle, made a proposal, which Fitzalan eagerly embraced. This was
to take Amanda with her to London, whither she was obliged to go
directly, about a lawsuit carrying on between her and the nephew of her
late husband.

Change of scene, Fitzalan trusted, would remove from Amanda's mind the
dejection which oppressed it, and consequently aid the restoration of
her health. Of Lord Mortimer's renewing his addresses, he had not the
slightest apprehension, as he neglected the opportunities he might have
had in the country for such a purpose. Fitzalan, it may be remembered
knew not that his lordship had ever deviated from his indifference, and
he believed it occasioned by a transfer of his affections to Lady
Euphrasia. He was also ignorant of the great intimacy between the Roslin
family and Lady Greystock, and consequently of the probability there
was, from such an intimacy, of Amanda's being often in the way of Lord
Mortimer. If she met him, he was confident it would be as the husband or
favored lover of Lady Euphrasia; and, in either of these characters, he
was certain, from the rectitude and purity of her principles, she would
be more than ever impressed with the necessity of conquering her
attachment; whilst the pain attending such a conviction would be
lessened, and probably soon removed by surrounding objects, and the gay
scenes she must engage in from being the companion of Lady Greystock,
who had a numerous and elegant acquaintance in London.

Her ladyship appeared to him, as she did to many others, a pleasing,
rational woman--one to whose care his heart's best treasure might safely
be consigned. He was induced to accept her protection for his Amanda,
not only on account of her present but future welfare. His own health
was extremely delicate. He deemed his life very precarious, and
flattered himself Lady Greystock, by having his beloved girl under her
care, would grow so attached to her, as to prove a friend if he should
be snatched away ere his newly-obtained independence enabled him to make
a provision for her. In indulging this hope, his heart could not
reproach him for anything mean or selfish. Her ladyship had frequently
assured him all her relations were very distant ones, and in affluent
circumstances, so that if his Amanda received any proof of kindness from
her, she could neither injure nor encroach on the rights of others.

This, however, was not the case, though carefully concealed from him, as
well as many others, by her ladyship. Her education had either given
birth to, or strengthened, the artful propensities of her disposition.
She had been one of the numerous offspring of a gentleman in the
southern part of Ireland, whose wife, a complete housewife, knowing his
inability of giving his daughters fortunes, determined to bring them up
so as to save one for their future husbands.

At the age of nineteen, Miss Bridget, by her reputation for domestic
cleverness, attracted the notice of a man of easy independence in the
neighborhood, who, being a perfect Nimrod, wanted somebody to manage
those concerns at home, which he neglected for the field and kennel; and
in obtaining Miss Bridget, he procured this valuable acquisition. His
love of sport, with his life, was fatally terminated the second year of
his marriage, by his attempting to leap a five-bar gate. A good jointure
devolved to his widow, and the office of consoling her to the rector of
the parish, a little fat elderly man, who might have sat very well for
the picture of Boniface. So successful were his arguments, that he not
only expelled sorrow from her heart, but introduced himself into it, and
had the felicity of receiving her hand as soon as her weeds were laid
aside. Four years they lived in uninterrupted peace, but too free an
enjoyment of the good things of this life undermined the constitution of
the rector. He was ordered to Bath, where his mortal career was shortly
terminated, and his whole fortune was left to his wife.

In the house where she lodged was an ancient baronet, who had never been
married. His fortune was considerable, but his manner so strange and
whimsical, that he appeared incapable of enjoying the advantages it
would have afforded to others. Notwithstanding his oddities, he was
compassionate; and as the fair relict was unaccompanied by a friend, he
waited on her for the purpose of offering consolation, and any service
in his power. This attention instantly inspired her with an idea of
trying to make him feel tenderer sentiments than those of pity for her.
His title and fortune were so attractive, that neither his capricious
disposition, nor the disparity of their ages, he being sixty, and she
only eight-and-twenty, could prevent her ardently desiring a connection
between them. Her efforts to effect this were long unsuccessful; but
perseverance will almost work miracles. Her constant good-humor, and
unremitted solicitude about him, who was in general an invalid, at last
made an impression on his flinty heart, and in a fit of sudden gratitude
he offered her his hand, which was eagerly accepted.

The presumptive heir to the baronet's large possessions was the son and
only child of a deceased sister. At the period this unexpected alliance
took place, he was about twenty, pleasing in his person, and engaging in
his manner, and tenderly beloved by his uncle. This love, Lady Greystock
saw, if it continued, would frustrate her wish of possessing the
baronet's whole property. Various schemes fluctuated in her mind
relative to the manner in which she should lay the foundation for
Rushbrook's ruin. Ere she could determine on one, chance discovered a
secret which completely aided her intentions.

In the neighborhood of the baronet's country residence, Rushbrook had
formed an attachment for the daughter of a man against whom his uncle
entertained the most inveterate enmity. A union with this girl, she was
well convinced, would ruin him. She therefore gave him to understand she
knew of his attachment, and sincerely pitied his situation, encouraging
his love by the most flattering eulogiums on his adored Emily; declared
her regret that hearts so congenial should be separated; and at last
intimated that if they wished to unite, she was convinced she would soon
be able to obtain Sir Geoffry's forgiveness for such a step. Her artful
insinuations hurried the unsuspicious pair into the snare she had spread
for them. The consequence of this was what she expected.

Sir Geoffry's rage was unappeasable, and he solemnly vowed never more to
behold his nephew. Lady Greystock wished to preserve, if possible,
appearances to the world, and prevailed on him to give her five hundred
pounds for Rushbrook, to which she added five of her own, and presented
the notes to him, with an assurance of pleading his cause whenever she
found a favorable opportunity for doing so.

He purchased an ensigncy in a regiment on the point of embarking for
America, where he felt he would rather encounter distress than among
those who had known him in affluence.

Her ladyship now redoubled her attention to Sir Geoffry, and at last
prepossessed him so strongly with the idea of her affection for him,
that he made a will, bequeathing her his whole fortune, which she
flattered herself with soon enjoying. But the constitution of Sir
Geoffry was stronger than she imagined, and policy obliged her to adhere
to a conduct which had gained his favor, as she knew the least
alteration of it would, to his capricious temper, be sufficient to make
him crush all her hopes.

Fifteen years passed in this manner, when a friend of Rushbrook's
advised him no longer to be deluded by the promises Lady Greystock still
continued to make, of interceding in his favor, but to write himself to
his uncle for forgiveness, which the duty he owed his family, and the
distress of his situation, should prompt him to immediately. Rushbrook
accordingly wrote a most pathetic letter, and his friend, as he had
promised, delivered it himself to the baronet. The contents of the
letter, and the remonstrance of his visitor, produced a great change in
the sentiments of the baronet. Tenderness for a nephew he had adopted as
his heir from his infancy began to revive, and he seriously reflected,
that by leaving his fortune to Lady Greystock, he should enrich a family
unconnected with him, whilst the last branch of his own was left to
obscurity and wretchedness. Pride recoiled from such an idea, and he
told the gentleman he would consider about a reconciliation with his
nephew.

The conversation between them, which Lady Greystock had contrived to
overhear, filled her with dismay; but this was increased almost to
distraction, when an attorney being sent for, she repaired again to her
hiding-place, and heard a new will dictated entirely in Rushbrook's
favor.

Sir Geoffry was soon prevailed on to see his nephew, but Mrs. Rushbrook
and the children were not suffered to appear before him. They were,
however, supplied with everything requisite for making a genteel
appearance, and accompanying the regiment (again ordered abroad) with
comfort.

Soon after their departure, Sir Geoffry sunk into a sudden state of
insensibility, from which no hopes of his ever recovering could be
entertained. The situation was propitious to the designs of Lady
Greystock; none but creatures of her own were admitted to his chamber.
An attorney was sent for, who had often transacted business for her,
relative to her affairs in Ireland; and a good bribe easily prevailed on
him to draw up a will she dictated, similar to that before made in her
favor. The baronet was raised in her arms, whilst the attorney guided
his almost lifeless hand in signing it; and two clerks set their names
as witnesses. Sir Geoffry expired almost immediately after this scheme
was executed.

Rushbrook's friend, who had been appointed to act for him, if this event
took place whilst he was abroad, now appeared. A will found in Sir
Geoffry's cabinet was read, by which it appeared Mr. Rushbrook was his
sole heir. The exultation of the peruser, however, was of short
continuance; her ladyship's attorney appeared, and declared the will was
rendered null by one of later date, which he had drawn up in Sir
Geoffry's last moments, by his express desire. Consternation and
surprise pervaded the mind of Rushbrook's friend; he saw the will was
too well attested for him to dispute it, yet he suspected foul play,
and lost no time in communicating his suspicion to Rushbrook.

Her ladyship settled her affairs most expeditiously and returned with
delight to her native country, after a very long absence from it. Most
of her near relations were dead, but she had many distant ones, who,
prompted by the knowledge of her large fortune, eagerly reminded her of
their affinity, and vied with each other in paying her attention. This
was extremely pleasing to her ladyship, who was fond of pleasure at
other people's expense. For herself she had laid down rules of the most
rigid economy, which she strictly adhered to. From the many invitations
she received she was seldom a resident in her own house; she judged of
others by herself, and ascribed the attentions she received to their
real source, self-interest, which she laughed secretly to think she
should disappoint.

She was remarkable (as Miss Kilcorban informed Amanda) for asking young
people to do little matters for her, such as making her millinery,
working ruffles, aprons, and handkerchiefs.

The tranquillity she enjoyed for two years after Sir Geoffry's death was
a little interrupted by his nephew's arrival from America, and
commencing a suit directly against her by the advice of his friends and
some eminent lawyers, on the supposition that the will by which she
inherited had been made when his uncle was in a state of imbecility.

Lady Greystock, however, received but a trifling shock from this; she
knew he had no money to carry on such an affair, and that his advocates
would lose their zeal in his cause, when convinced of the state of his
finances. On being obliged to go to London to attend the suit, it
immediately occurred that Amanda would be a most pleasing companion to
take along with her, as she would not only enliven the hours she must
sometimes pass at home, but do a number of little things in the way of
dress, which would save a great deal of expense.

Amanda, on the first proposal of accompanying her, warmly opposed it;
she felt unutterable reluctance to leave her father, and assured him she
would, by exerting herself, prove that a change of scene was not
requisite for restoring her cheerfulness. Fitzalan knew her sincerity in
making this promise, but he also knew her inability of performing it;
his happiness, he declared, depended on her complying with this request:
he even said his own health would probably be established by it, as
during her absence he would partake of the amusements of the country,
which he had hitherto declined on her account. This assertion prevailed
on her to consent, and immediate preparations were made for her journey,
as the invitation had not been given till within a few days of her
ladyship's intended departure. As she went by Holyhead, Fitzalan
determined on sending Ellen to her parents till Amanda returned from
England, which determination pleased Ellen exceedingly, as she longed to
see her family, and tell them particulars of Chip. As the hour
approached for quitting her father, the regret and reluctance of Amanda
increased; nor were his feelings less oppressive, though better
concealed: but when the moment of parting came, they could no longer be
suppressed; he held her with a trembling grasp to his heart, as if life
would forsake it. On her departure, the gloom on his mind seemed like a
presentiment of evil; he repented forcing her from him, and scarcely
could he refrain from saying they must not part.

Lady Greystock, who in every scene and every situation preserved her
composure, hinted to him the injury he was doing his daughter by such
emotions; and mentioned how short their separation would be, and what
benefit would accrue to Amanda from it.

This last consideration recalled to his mind instantly composed him, and
he handed them to her ladyship's chariot, which was followed by a hired
chaise containing her woman and Ellen; he then sighed her a last adieu,
returned to his solitary habitation to pray, and in spite of all his
efforts, weep for his darling child.

Amanda's tears streamed down her pale cheek, and never did she
experience a pang of such sorrow as that she felt, when, the chaise
descending a hill, she caught the last glimpse of Castle Carberry.

She perceived, however, that her ladyship had no relish for a gloomy
companion, and therefore endeavored to recover her spirits, and enter
into conversation.

Lady Greystock had a number of friends in that part of Ireland, and
therefore never stopped at an inn.

"I always, my dear," said she to Amanda, "make use of the friendship
professed for me, and thus endeavor to render the great road of life
delightful."

They arrived the third day in Sackville Street, where her ladyship had a
house, and two days after embarked for England. They slept the first
night they landed at Holyhead, and the next morning pursued their
journey.



CHAPTER XXIV.

  "A song, a flower, a name, at once restore
   Those long-connected scenes when first they moved
   The attention----."--AKENSIDE.


The dejection of Amanda gradually declined, as the idea of seeing Lord
Mortimer again revived. It revived not, however, without hopes, fears,
and agitations. Sometimes she imagined she should find him devoted to
Lady Euphrasia; then again believed his honor and sincerity would not
allow him to give her up so suddenly, and that this apparent
indifference proceeded from resentment, which would vanish if an
opportunity once offered (and she trusted there would) for explaining
her conduct. She endeavored to calm the emotions these ideas gave rise
to, by reflecting that a short time now would most probably terminate
her suspense.

They stopped for the night, about five o'clock, at an inn about a mile
from Tudor Hall. After dinner, Amanda informed Lady Greystock she wished
to accompany Ellen to her parents. To this her ladyship made no
objection, on finding she did not want the carriage. She charged her,
however, not to forget the hour of tea, by which time she would be
refreshed by a nap, and ready to engage her at a game of picquet.

They set out unattended, as Ellen refused the ostler's offer of carrying
her portmanteau, saying she would send for it the next day. This she did
by Amanda's desire, who wished, unobserved, to pursue a walk, in which
she promised herself a melancholy indulgence, from reviewing the
well-known scenes endeared by tender recollections.

A mournful, yet not undelightful, sensation attends the contemplation of
scenes where we once enjoyed felicity--departed joys are ever remembered
with an enthusiasm of tenderness which soothes the sorrow we experience
for their loss.

Such were the present feelings of Amanda; while Ellen, undisturbed by
regrets for the past, pointed out, with pleasure, the dwellings of her
intimates and friends. Yet when she came to Chip's deserted cottage, she
stopped, and a tear stole from her eye, accompanied at the same time by
a smile, which seemed to say, "though thou art now lonely and cheerless,
the period is approaching when comfort and gayety shall resume their
stations within thee; when the blaze of thy fire and thy taper shall
not only diffuse cheerfulness within, but without, and give a ray to the
desolate or benighted traveller, to guide him to thy hospitable
shelter!"

Amanda, leaning on Ellen's arm, proceeded slowly in her walk. The
evening was delightful. The blue vault of heaven was spangled with
stars, and the air, without being severely cold, was clear and
refreshing. Their road, on one side, was skirted with the high woods of
Tudor Hall. Amanda gazed on them with emotion; but when she came to the
gate which Lord Mortimer had opened for her departure at their first
interview, the softness of her heart, could no longer be resisted: she
stopped, leaned pensively upon it, and wept. The evergreens, with which
the woods abounded, prevented their wearing a desolate appearance. She
wished to have pierced into their most sequestered gloom, but she had no
time to indulge this wish; nor did she, indeed believe her companion,
who was tinctured with superstitious fears, would have accompanied her.
"When the glow of vegetation again revives," said she to herself; "when
the blossoms and the flowers again spread their spangled foliage to the
sun, and every shade resounds with harmony, where, alas! will Amanda
be?--far distant, in all probability, from these delightful scenes,
perhaps neglected and forgotten by their master!"

The awful murmurs of the wind rustling through the trees, joined to the
solemn sound of a neighboring waterfall, began to excite fears in
Ellen's breast. She laid her trembling hand on Amanda, and besought her,
for the love of Cot, to hasten to the cottage. The road still wound
round the wood; and lights from a small village, which lay on its
borders, cast various shadows upon the trees; whilst the hum of distant
voices floated upon the gale, and fancy pictured joyous groups of
rustics assembling round their fires, to enjoy refreshment after the
labors of the day.

"Peaceful people," said Amanda, "when the wants of nature are satisfied,
no care or trouble obtrudes upon your minds. Tired, but not exhausted
with the toils of the day, with preparing the bosom of the earth for the
ethereal mildness of the spring, you seek and enjoy a calm repose."

In the lane which led to her nurse's cottage, Amanda paused for a
moment. Down this lane Lord Mortimer had once pursued her. She looked
towards the mansion of Tudor Hall. She endeavored to discern the
library, but all was dark and dismal, except the wing, which Ellen
informed her was occupied by the domestics. Through the window of
Edwin's cottage, they saw all the family seated round a blazing fire,
chatting and laughing. The transport of Ellen's heart overcame every
idea of caution. She hastily unlatched the door, and flung herself into
her parents' arms. Their surprise and joy was unbounded, and Amanda was
received and welcomed with as much tenderness as their child, without
ever asking the reason of her sudden appearance. The first question was,
"Would she not stay with them?" and her answer filled them with regret
and disappointment. Perceiving them about procuring her refreshments,
"she declared she had not a minute to stay. The time allotted for her
walk was already exceeded, and she feared Lady Greystock would be
offended at being left so long at an inn by herself." She therefore
hastily presented some little presents she had brought for the family,
and was bidding them farewell, when poor Ellen, who, from so long
residing with her young lady, almost adored her, suddenly flung herself
into her arms, and clinging round her neck, as if to prevent a
separation, which, till the moment of its arrival, she thought she could
have supported, exclaimed:--

"Oh, my tear young laty, we are going to part, and my heart sinks within
me at the idea. Even Chip himself, if he was here, could not console me.
I know you are not happy, and that increases my sorrow. Your sweet cheek
is pale, and I have often seen you cry when you thought no poty was
minding you. If you who are so goot are not happy, how can a peing like
me hope to be so? Oh, may I soon pe plest with seeing you return the
mistress of Tudor Hall, married to the sweetest, handsomest of noblemen,
who, I know, in my soul, loves you, as well inteed he may, for where
would he see the fellow of my young laty? Then Chip and I will be so
happy, for I am sure you and my lort will shelter our humble cottage."

Amanda pressed the affectionate girl to her breast, and mingled tears
with hers, while she softly whispered to her not to hint at such an
event; "but be assured, my dearest Ellen," continued she, "that I shall
ever rejoice at your felicity, which, to the utmost of my power, I would
promote, and hope soon to hear of your union with Chip."

"Alack-a-tay!" said her nurse; "are you going away, when I thought you
come to stay among us? and then, perhaps, my lort would have come, and
then there would have peen such a happy meeting. Why, I verily thought
he would have gone distracted when he found you, as one may say, run
away; and to pe sure I did pity him, and should have made no scruple to
tell him where you were, had I known it myself, which he suspected, for
he offered me a sight of money if I would discover. Then there is Parson
Howel; why he has peen like unto nothing put a ghost since you went
away; and he does so sigh, and he comes almost every tay to ask me apout
you, and whether I think or know Lord Mortimer is with you. He will pe
in such grief to think you were here without his seeing you."

"Well," said Amanda, endeavoring to appear cheerful, "we may all yet
have a happy meeting."

She then repeated her farewell, and, leaning on the arm of old Edwin,
returned to the inn, where she again bid him adieu; and hastening to her
ladyship, found her just awaking from a comfortable slumber. They drank
tea, and, after playing for about an hour at picquet, retired to rest.
Amanda, who enjoyed but little repose, rose early in the morning, and,
finding her ladyship not quite ready, went down to the court to walk
about till she was; where, to her great surprise, the first object she
perceived was Howel, leaning pensively against a gate opposite the
house. He flew over, and, catching her hand, exclaimed, "You are
surprised, but, I trust, not displeased. I could not resist such an
opportunity of seeing you once more, after all I have suffered from your
precipitate journey, and the probability of never more beholding you. I
have been watching here, in expectation of this happiness, since the
first dawn of day."

"I am sorry," said Amanda, gravely, "your time was so ill employed."

"How coldly you speak," cried he. "Ah! could you read my heart, you
would see so little presumption in it, that you would, I am confident,
pity, though you could not relieve, its feelings. Every spot you loved
to frequent, I have haunted since your departure. Your mother's grave
has often been the scene of pensive meditation. Nor has it wanted its
vernal offering; the loveliest flowers of my garden I have wove into
wreaths, and hung them over it, in fond remembrance of her angel
daughter."

The plaintive sound of Howel's voice, the dejection of his countenance,
excited the softest feelings of sensibility in Amanda's bosom. But she
grew confused by the tenderness of his expression, and, saying she was
happy to see him, tried to disengage her hand, that she might retire.

"Surely," exclaimed he, still detaining it a few moments, "you might
grant me without reluctance--you, who are going to enjoy every
happiness and pleasure, going to meet the favored----"

Amanda anticipated the name he was about uttering, and her confusion
redoubled. She attempted again, yet in vain, to withdraw her hand, and
turned to see whether any one was observing them. How great was her
mortification, on perceiving Lady Greystock leaning from a window,
exactly over their heads! She smiled significantly at Amanda, on being
seen; and, the carriage being ready, said, "She would attend her below
stairs." Howel now relinquished Amanda's hand. He saw she looked
displeased; and expressed such sorrow, accompanied with such submissive
apologies for offending her, that she could not avoid according him her
pardon. He handed both her and Lady Greystock into the carriage, and
looked a melancholy adieu as it drove off.

"Upon my word, a pretty smart young fellow!" said Lady Greystock.
"Though impatient this long time to set out, I could not think of
interrupting the interesting _tete-à-tete_ I saw between you and him. I
suppose you have been a resident in this part of the country before,
from your seeming to know this tender swain so well."

Amanda wished to avoid acknowledging this. If known, she feared it would
lead to a discovery, or at least excite a suspicion of her intimacy with
Lord Mortimer, which she was desirous of concealing, while in this
uncertainty concerning him.

"Your ladyship has heard, I believe," replied she, "that Ellen's mother
nursed me?" "Yes, my dear," answered her ladyship, with some smartness;
"but if your acquaintance even commenced with this youth in infancy, I
fancy it has been renewed since that period."

Amanda blushed deeply, and, to hide her confusion, pretended to be
looking at the prospect from the window. Lady Greystock's eyes pursued
hers. Tudor Hall was conspicuous from the road, and Amanda involuntarily
sighed as she viewed it.

"That is a fine domain," said Lady Greystock; "I presume you have
visited it, and know its owner?"

Amanda could not assert a falsehood, neither could she evade the
inquiries of Lady Greystock; and therefore not only confessed its being
the estate of Lord Mortimer, but her own residence near it the preceding
summer. Her ladyship immediately conjectured it was then the attachment
between her and Lord Mortimer had commenced; and the blushes, the
hesitation, and the unwillingness of Amanda, in owning her visit to
Wales, all confirmed this conjecture. She tried, however, to insinuate
herself into her full confidence, by warm expressions of esteem, and by
hinting, that from the disposition of Lord Mortimer, she could not
believe he ever did, or ever would, think seriously of Lady Euphrasia;
this, she hoped, would either induce or betray Amanda to open her whole
heart; but she was disappointed. She flattered herself, however, with
thinking she had discovered enough to satisfy the marchioness, if she,
as Lady Greystock feared she would, expressed any disapprobation at
seeing Amanda her companion. She intended saying, that Fitzalan had
absolutely forced her under her protection.

They arrived late in the evening of the third day at Pall Mall, where
her ladyship's agent had previously taken lodgings for them.

Lady Greystock, though immersed in business against the approaching
trial, neglected no means of amusement; and, the day after her arrival,
sent a card of inquiry to the Roslin family, as the most eligible mode
of informing them of it. The next morning, as she expected, she received
a visit from them. Amanda was sitting in the window when the carriage
drove up to the door. She instantly arose, and left the room, determined
neither to expose herself to their impertinence, or appear solicitous
for their notice, by staying in their company uninvited. Lady Greystock
soon informed them of Amanda's having accompanied her to London; and
they, as she expected, expressed both surprise and displeasure at it. As
she had settled in her own mind, she, therefore, told them, "that
Fitzalan had urged her to take his daughter under her care, with
entreaties she could not resist. Entreaties," she added, with a
significant look, "she believed he had good reason for making." She then
related all she suspected, or rather had discovered, relative to the
attachment between Lord Mortimer and Amanda having commenced the
preceding summer in Wales.

The marchioness and Lady Euphrasia instantly concluded she was sent to
London for the purpose of having it completed by a marriage. This,
however, they determined to prevent. The marchioness felt the most
inveterate hatred against her; and also, that, to prevent her being
advantageously settled, even if that settlement threatened not to
interfere with the one she had projected for her daughter, she could
undertake almost any project. Though she abhorred the idea of noticing
her, yet she was tempted now to do so, from the idea that it would
better enable her to watch her actions. This idea she communicated in a
hasty whisper to Lady Euphrasia, who, approving it, she told Lady
Greystock, "as Miss Fitzalan was her guest, she would, on that account,
permit her to be introduced to them." Amanda was accordingly sent for.
On entering the room, Lady Greystock took her hand, and presented her to
the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia. The former, half rising, with a
coldness she could not conquer, said, "Whenever Lady Greystock honored
her with a visit, she should be happy to see Miss Fitzalan along with
her." The latter only noticed her by a slight bow; and when Amanda drew
a chair near the sofa on which she sat, or rather reclined, she
continued staring in her face, and alternately humming an Italian air,
and caressing a little dog she had brought with her. The unembarrassed
elegance of Amanda's air and manner surprised and mortified them, as
they expected to have seen her covered with confusion, at an
introduction so unexpected. To their haughty souls, nothing was more
delightful than the awe and deference which vulgar and illiberal minds
are so apt to pay to rank and fortune. They were provoked to see, in
Amanda, conscious dignity, instead of trembling diffidence. As she sat
by Lady Euphrasia, the marchioness could not help secretly confessing
she was a dangerous rival to her daughter; for never did her lovely
features and ingenuous countenance appear to such advantage, as when
contrasted to Lady Euphrasia's. The Marchioness withdrew soon after her
entrance, unable longer to restrain the malignant passions which envy
had excited.

Both she and Lady Euphrasia were convinced that to communicate their
suspicions at present to Lord Cherbury about her and his son, would not
answer the end proposed, for it could be of little consequence, they
reflected, to withdraw the esteem of the father, if that of the son
continued, who, independent in his notions, and certain of the fortunes
of his ancestors, might not hesitate to gratify himself. The point,
therefore, was, by some deep-laid scheme, to ruin Amanda in the
estimation of Lord Mortimer; and if in the power of mortals to contrive
and execute such a scheme, they gave themselves credit for being able to
effect it.

The blow at her fond hopes, they resolved, should be followed by one
against the peace of Fitzalan, on whom they knew, whenever they pleased,
they could draw the resentment of Lord Cherbury. Thus should they
completely triumph over the lovely Amanda--plunge two beings they
detested into poverty and wretchedness--destroy expectations which
interfered with their own, and secure an alliance with a man they had
long wished united to their family.

From the unaltered indifference of Lord Mortimer to Lady Euphrasia, they
were convinced of his predilection for another, flattering themselves
that nothing but a prior attachment could have rendered him insensible
to the attractions of her ladyship. To render the object of this
attachment contemptible in his sight, they believed would produce the
transfer of affections they so long desired. The haughty soul of Lady
Euphrasia would never have permitted her to think of accepting Lord
Mortimer after his neglect of her, but by the opportunity she should
have by such an acceptance of triumphing over Amanda. From this idea,
she entered warmly into all her mother's plans.

Lord Cherbury had never yet spoken explicitly to his son concerning the
union he had projected for him. He often, indeed, dropped hints about
it, which he always found either neglected, or purposely misunderstood;
and from these circumstances was pretty sensible of the disinclination
Lord Mortimer felt to his wishes. He knew he entertained high notions of
the independence which a rational mind has a right to maintain, and that
in an affair of such consequence, as Mortimer frequently said he
considered a matrimonial connection to be, he would neither be
controlled by the opinion of others or merely allured by the advantages
of fortune.

To avoid a disagreeable argument with a son he not only loved, but
respected, he sought rather, by indirect means, to involve him in an
entanglement with the Roslin family, than come to an open explanation
with him. For this purpose he contrived parties as often as possible
with them in public; where, by Lord Mortimer's being seen with Lady
Euphrasia, reports might be raised of an intended alliance between
them--reports which he himself propagated among some particular friends,
with a desire of having them circulated, but an injunction of secrecy as
to their author. These reports would, he trusted, on reaching Lord
Mortimer, lead to a discussion of the affair; and then, he meant to say,
as Lord Mortimer had partly contributed to raise them himself by his
attendance on Lady Euphrasia, he could not possibly, with honor, recede
from realizing them; yet often did his lordship fear his scheme would
prove abortive--for he well knew the cool judgment and keen penetration
of his son. This fear always inspired him with horror, for he had a
motive for desiring the union which he durst not avow.

Lord Mortimer quickly indeed discerned what his father's views were in
promoting his attendance on Lady Euphrasia. He therefore avoided her
society whenever it was possible to do so without absolute rudeness, and
contradicted the reports he almost continually heard of an intended
alliance between them in the most solemn manner. He had always disliked
her, but latterly that dislike was converted into hatred, from the
malevolence of her conduct towards Amanda; and he felt that, even were
his heart free, he never could devote it to her--or give his hand where
it must be unaccompanied with esteem. He wished to avoid a disagreeable
conversation with Lord Cherbury, and flattered himself his unaltered
indifference to her ladyship would at length convince his lordship of
the impossibility of accomplishing his projected scheme; and that
consequently it would be dropped ere openly avowed, and he saved the
painful necessity of absolutely rejecting a proposal of his father's.

In the evening Lady Greystock and Amanda received cards for dinner the
next day at the Marquis of Roslin's. Amanda made no objection to this
invitation. Her father had often declared, if the marchioness made an
overture for an intimacy with his children, he would not reject it, as
he always deemed family quarrels highly prejudicial to both parties,
with regard to the opinion of the world. Besides, had she objected to
it, she should either have been a restraint on Lady Greystock, or left
to total solitude; and the idea also stole upon her mind that she should
lose a chance of seeing Lord Mortimer, whom she supposed a frequent
guest of the marquis's. Her heart fluttered at the idea of soon
beholding him, and the bright glow of animation which overspread her
countenance in consequence of this idea attracted the observation of
Lady Greystock, who congratulated her on the alteration that was already
visible in her looks; and inferred from thence that she was so well
recovered of her fatigue as to be able to contrive a little trimming for
her against the next day. This Amanda cheerfully undertook, and having a
quick execution as well as an elegant taste, soon made progress in it
which delighted her ladyship, who, to divert her while she worked,
related some of the many entertaining anecdotes with which her memory
was stored.

Though Amanda submitted her beautiful hair to the hands of a friseur,
she departed not from the elegant simplicity always conspicuous in her
dress. Her little ornaments were all arranged with taste, and an anxious
wish of appearing to advantage. So lovely, indeed, did she appear to
Lady Greystock, that her ladyship began seriously to fear she should
not be forgiven by the marchioness or Lady Euphrasia, for having
introduced such an object to their parties.

About six they reached Portman Square, and found a large party assembled
in the drawing-room. After the first compliments were over and Amanda
introduced to the marquis--not, indeed, as a near relation, but an utter
stranger--a gentleman stepped up to the marchioness, and addressing her
in a low voice, was immediately presented by her to Amanda, as the Earl
of Cherbury.

"My dear young lady," said he, "allow me to express the pleasure I feel
at seeing the daughter of my worthy friend, Mr. Fitzalan. Allow me also
to increase that pleasure," continued he, taking her hand, and leading
her to a very lovely girl who sat at some distance, "by presenting Miss
Fitzalan to Lady Araminta Dormer, and desiring their friendship for each
other."

Surprised, confused, yet delighted by notice so little expected, the
heart of Amanda heaved with emotion; her cheeks mantled with blushes,
and the tear of sensibility trembled in her eye. She was not, however,
so embarrassed as to be incapable of expressing her acknowledgments to
his lordship for his attention, and also to assure him she had early
been taught, and sensibly felt, the claims he had upon her gratitude and
respect. He bowed, as if to prevent a further mention of obligations,
and left her seated by his daughter, who had expressed her pleasure at
being introduced to her, not in the supercilious style of Lady
Euphrasia, but in the sweet accents of affability and tenderness.

The conduct of Lord Cherbury had drawn all eyes upon Amanda; and the
marchioness and Lady Euphrasia regarded her with peculiar malignancy.
The idea, however, that they could, whenever they pleased, deprive her
of his notice, a little lessened the jealousy and mortification it had
excited.

"Pray, who is this little creature," exclaimed Miss Malcolm (who was a
relation of the Marquis's, and, from being extremely ugly, extremely
rich, and extremely ill-natured, was an immense favorite of Lady
Euphrasia's), "that puts one in mind of a country miss, on her first
appearance at a country assembly, blushing and trembling at every eye
she meets?"

"Some kind of a far-off relation of my mother's," replied Lady
Euphrasia, "whom that old dowager, Lady Greystock, picked up in the
wilds of Ireland, and has absolutely forced upon our notice; though I
assure you, from compassion, we should have taken the poor creature long
ago under our protection, but for the shocking conduct of her family to
the marchioness, and the symptoms she has already betrayed of following
their example. It is really ridiculous sending her to London. I dare say
her silly old father has exhausted all his ways and means in trying to
render her decent, comforting himself, no doubt, with the hope of her
entrapping some young fool of quality, who may supply his wants as well
as hers."

"Ay, I suppose all the stock in the farm was sold to dress her out,"
cried young Freelove, a little, trifling fop, who leaned on the back of
her ladyship's chair. He was a ward of Lord Cherbury, and his fortune
considerable; but nature had not been quite as bounteous to him as the
blind goddess. Both his mind and person were effeminate to a degree of
insignificance. All he aimed at was--being a man of fashion. His
manners, like his dress, were therefore regulated by it, and he never
attempted to approve of anything, or any creature, till assured they
were quite the ton. He had danced attendance for some time on Lady
Euphrasia, and she encouraged his assiduities in hopes of effecting a
change in Lord Mortimer's manner. But had his lordship even been a
passionate lover, poor Freelove was not calculated to inspire him with
jealousy. "I declare," continued he, surveying Amanda through an
opera-glass which dangled from his button-hole, "if her father has
nothing to support him but the hope of her making a conquest of
importance, he will be in a sad way, for, 'pon my soul, I can see
nothing the girl has to recommend her, except novelty; and that, you
know, is a charm which will lessen every day. All she can possibly
expect, is an establishment for a few months with some tasteless being
who may like the simplicity of her country look."

"And more than she merits," exclaimed Miss Malcolm; "I have no patience
with such creatures forcing themselves into society quite above them."

"I assure you," said Lady Euphrasia, "you would be astonished at her
vanity and conceit, if you knew her. She considers herself a first-rate
beauty, though positively any one may see she is quite the reverse, and
pretends to the greatest gentleness and simplicity. Then she has made
some strange kind of people (to be sure they must be) believe she is
accomplished; though, I dare say, if she can read tolerably, and scrawl
out a decent letter, 'tis the utmost she can do."

"We will quiz her after dinner about her accomplishments," said
Freelove, "and have a little fun with her."

"Ay, do," cried Miss Malcolm. "We will ask her to play and sing," said
her ladyship; "for I assure you she pretends to excel in both; though,
from her father's poverty, I am certain she can know little of either. I
shall enjoy her confusion of all things, when her ignorance is
detected."

Whilst this conversation was passing, Amanda, in conversing with Lady
Araminta, experienced the purest pleasure. Her ladyship was the
"softened image" of Lord Mortimer. Her voice was modulated to the same
harmony as his, and Amanda gazed and listened with rapture. On her
confusion abating, her eye had wandered round the room in quest of his
lordship, but he was not in it. At every stir, near the door, her heart
fluttered at the idea of seeing him; nor was this idea relinquished till
summoned to dinner. She fortunately procured a seat next Lady Araminta,
which prevented her thinking the time spent at dinner tedious. In the
evening the rooms were crowded with company, but Lord Mortimer appeared
not among the brilliant assembly. Yet the pang of disappointment was
softened to Amanda by his absence, intimating that he was not anxious
for the society of Lady Euphrasia. True, business, or a prior
engagement, might have prevented his coming; but she, as is natural,
fixed on the idea most flattering to herself.

Lady Euphrasia, in pursuance of the plan laid against Amanda, led the
way to the music-room, attended by a large party; as Freelove had
intimated to some of the beaux and belles, her ladyship and he were
going to quiz an ignorant Irish country girl. Lady Euphrasia sat down to
the harpsichord, that she might have a better pretext for asking Amanda
to play. Freelove seated himself by the latter, and began a conversation
which, he thought, would effectually embarrass her; but it had quite a
contrary effect, rendering him so extremely ridiculous as to excite a
universal laugh at his expense.

Amanda soon perceived his intention in addressing her; and, also, that
Lady Euphrasia and Miss Malcolm were privy to it, having caught the
significant looks which passed among them. Though tremblingly alive to
every feeling of modesty, she had too much sense, and real nobleness of
soul, to allow the illiberal sallies of impertinence to divest her of
composure.

"Have you seen any of the curiosities of London, my dear?" exclaimed
Freelove, lolling back in his chair, and contemplating the lustre of his
buckles, unconscious of the ridicule he excited.

"I think I have," said Amanda, somewhat archly, and glancing at him,
"quite an original in its kind." Her look, as well as the emphasis on
her words, excited another laugh at his expense, which threw him into a
momentary confusion.

"I think," said he, as he recovered from it, "the Monument and the
Tower would be prodigious fine sights to you, and I make it a particular
request that I may be included in your party whenever you visit them,
particularly the last place."

"And why," replied Amanda, "should I take the trouble of visiting wild
beasts, when every day I may see animals equally strange, and not half
so mischievous?"

Freelove, insensible as he was, could not mistake the meaning of
Amanda's words, and he left her with a mortified air, being, to use his
own phrase, "completely done up."

Lady Euphrasia, now rising from the harpsichord, requested Amanda to
take her place at it, saying, with an ironical air, "her performance
(which indeed was shocking) would make hers appear to amazing
advantage."

Diffident of her own abilities, Amanda begged to be excused. But when
Miss Malcolm, with an earnestness even oppressive, joined her entreaties
to Lady Euphrasia's she could no longer refuse.

"I suppose," said her ladyship, following her to the instrument, "these
songs," presenting her some trifling ones, "will answer you better than
the Italian music before you?"

Amanda made no reply, but turned over the leaves of the book to a lesson
much more difficult than that Lady Euphrasia had played. Her touch at
first was tremulous and weak, but she was too susceptible of the powers
of harmony not soon to be inspired by it; and gradually her style became
so masterly and elegant, as to excite universal admiration, except in
the bosoms of those who had hoped to place her in a ludicrous situation.
Their invidious scheme, instead of depressing, had only served to render
excellence conspicuous; and that mortification they destined for
another, fell upon themselves. When the lesson was concluded, some
gentlemen who either were, or pretended to be, musical connoisseurs,
entreated her to sing. She chose a plaintive Italian air, and the
exquisite taste and sweetness with which she sung, equally astonished
and delighted. Nor was admiration confined to the accomplishments she
displayed. The soft expression of her countenance, which seemed
accordant to the harmonious sounds that issued from her lips, was viewed
with pleasure, and praised with energy; and she rose from the
harpsichord covered with blushes from the applause which stole around
her. The gentlemen gathered around Lady Euphrasia, to inquire who the
beautiful stranger was, and she gave them pretty much the same account
she had already done to Miss Malcolm.

The rage and disappointment of that young lady, and her ladyship, could
scarcely be concealed. "I declare, I never knew anything so monstrously
absurd," exclaimed Lady Euphrasia, "as to let a girl in her situation
learn such things, except, indeed, it was to qualify her for a
governess, or an opera singer."

"Ay, I suppose," said Miss Malcolm, "we shall soon hear her quavering
away at one of the theatres; for no person of fashion would really
intrust her children to so confident a creature."

The fair object of their disquietude gladly accompanied Lady Araminta
into another room. Several gentlemen followed, and crowded about her
chair, offering that adulation which they were accustomed to find
acceptable at the shrine of beauty. To Amanda, however, it was irksome,
not only from its absurd extravagance, but as it interrupted her
conversation with Lady Araminta. The marchioness, however, who
critically watched her motions, soon relieved her from the troublesome
assiduities of the beaux, by placing them at card-tables. Not, indeed,
from any good-natured motive, but she could not bear that Amanda should
have so much attention paid her, and flattered herself she would be
vexed by losing it.

In the course of conversation, Lady Araminta mentioned Ireland. She had
a faint remembrance of Castle Carberry, she said, and had been half
tempted to accompany the marquis and his family in their late excursion.
Her brother, she added, had almost made her promise to visit the castle
with him the ensuing summer. "You have seen Lord Mortimer, to be sure?"
continued her ladyship.

"Yes, madam," faltered Amanda, while her face was overspread with a
crimson hue. Her ladyship was too penetrating not to perceive her
confusion, and it gave rise to a conjecture of something more than a
slight acquaintance being between his lordship and Amanda. The
melancholy he had betrayed on his return from Ireland had excited the
raillery of her ladyship, till convinced, by the discomposure he showed
whenever she attempted to inquire into the occasion of it, that it
proceeded from a source truly interesting to his feelings. She knew of
the alliance her father had projected for him with the Roslin family--a
project she never approved of, for Lady Euphrasia was truly disagreeable
to her; and a soul like Mortimer's, tender, liberal, and sincere, she
knew could never experience the smallest degree of happiness with a
being so uncongenial in every respect as was Lady Euphrasia to him. She
loved her brother with the truest tenderness, and secretly believed he
was attached in Ireland. She wished to gain his confidence, yet would
not solicit it, because she knew she had it not in her power
essentially to serve him. Her arguments, she was convinced, would have
little weight with Lord Cherbury, who had often expressed to her his
anxiety for a connection with the Roslin family. With the loveliness of
Amanda's person, with the elegance of her manner, she was immediately
charmed. As she conversed with her, esteem was added to admiration, and
she believed that Mortimer would not have omitted mentioning to her the
beautiful daughter of his father's agent, had he not feared betraying
too much emotion at her name. She appeared to Lady Araminta just the
kind of woman he would adore; just the being that would answer all the
ideas of perfection (romantic ideas she had called them) which he had
declared necessary to captivate his heart. Lady Araminta already felt
for her unspeakable tenderness. In the softness of her looks, in the
sweetness of her voice, there were resistless charms; and she felt, that
if oppressed by sorrow, Amanda Fitzalan, above all other beings, was the
one she would select to give her consolation. The confusion she betrayed
at the mention of Mortimer, made her ladyship suspect she was the cause
of his dejection. She involuntarily fastened her eyes upon her face, as
if to penetrate the recesses of her heart, yet with a tenderness which
seemed to say she would pity the secret she might then discover.

Lord Cherbury, at this moment of embarrassment to Amanda, approached. He
said, "He had just been making a request, and an apology to Lady
Greystock, and was now come to repeat them to her. The former was, to
meet the marquis's family at his house the next day at dinner; and the
latter was, to excuse so unceremonious an invitation, which he had been
induced to make on Lady Araminta's account, who was obliged to leave
town the day after the next, and had, therefore, no time for the usual
etiquette of visiting."

Amanda bowed. This invitation was more pleasing than one of more form
would have been. It seemed to indicate friendship, and a desire to have
the intimacy between her and his daughter cultivated. It gave her also a
hope of seeing Lord Mortimer. All these suggestions inspired her with
uncommon animation, and she entered into a lively conversation with Lord
Cherbury, who had infinite vivacity in his look and manner. Lady
Araminta observed the attention he paid her with pleasure. A
prepossession in her favor, she trusted, might produce pleasing
consequences.

Lady Greystock at length rose to depart. Amanda received an affectionate
adieu from Lady Araminta; and Lord Cherbury attended the ladies to their
carriage. On driving off, Lady Greystock observed, what a charming
polite man his lordship was; and, in short, threw out such hints, and
entered into such a warm eulogium on his merits, that Amanda began to
think he would not find it very difficult to prevail on her ladyship to
enter once more the temple of Hymen.

Amanda retired to her chamber in a state of greater happiness than for a
long period before she had experienced; but it was a happiness which
rather agitated than soothed the feelings, particularly hers, which were
so susceptible of every impression, that

  "They turned at the touch of joy or woe,
   And turning trembled too."

Her present happiness was the offspring of hope, and therefore
peculiarly liable to disappointment; a hope derived from the attention
of Lord Cherbury, and the tenderness of Lady Araminta, that the fond
wishes of her heart might yet be realized; wishes, again believed from
hearing of Lord Mortimer's dejection, which his sister had touched upon,
and from his absenting himself from the marquis's, which were not
uncongenial to those he himself entertained. She sat down to acquaint
her father with the particulars of the day she had passed: for her chief
consolation in her absence from him, was, in the idea of writing and
hearing constantly. Her writing finished, she sat by the fire,
meditating on the interview she expected would take place on the ensuing
day, till the hoarse voice of the watchmen, proclaiming past three
o'clock, roused her from her reverie. She smiled at the abstraction of
her thoughts, and retired to bed to dream of felicity.

So calm were her slumbers--so delightful her dreams--that Sol had long
shot his timorous ray into her chamber ere she awoke. Her spirits still
continued serene and animated. On descending to the drawing-room, she
found Lady Greystock just entering it. After breakfast, they went out in
her ladyship's carriage to different parts of the town. All was new to
Amanda, who, during her former residence in it, had been entirely
confined to lodgings in a retired street. She wondered at, and was
amused by, the crowds continually passing and repassing. About four they
returned to dress. Amanda began the labors of the toilet with a beating
heart; nor were its quick pulsations decreased on entering Lady
Greystock's carriage, which in a few minutes conveyed her to Lord
Cherbury's house in St. James's Square. She followed her ladyship with
tottering steps; and the first object she saw on entering the
drawing-room was Mortimer standing near the door.



CHAPTER XXV.

  "Begone my cares; I give you to the winds."--ROWE.


In the drawing-room were already assembled the marquis, marchioness,
Lady Euphrasia, Miss Malcolm, and Freelove. Lady Araminta perceived in
the hesitating voice of Amanda the emotions which agitated her, and
which were not diminished when Lord Cherbury, taking her trembling hand,
said--

"Mortimer, I presume you have already seen Miss Fitzalan in Ireland?"

"I have, my lord," replied Mortimer, bowing, and at the same time
approaching to pay his compliments.

Every eye in the room, except Lord Cherbury's and Freelove's, was now
turned upon his lordship and Amanda, and thought, in the expressive
countenances of both, enough could be read to confirm their suspicions
of a mutual attachment subsisting between them.

Amanda, when seated, endeavored to recover from her confusion. Miss
Malcolm, to prevent Lord Mortimer's taking a seat by her, which she
thought she perceived him inclined to do, beckoned him to her, and
contrived to engage him in trifling chat, till they were summoned to
dinner. On receiving his hand, which he could not avoid offering, to
lead her to the parlor, she cast a look of exultation at Amanda. Lady
Araminta, perceiving all the gentlemen engaged, good-humoredly put her
arm within Amanda's, and said she would be her chaperon on the present
occasion. Lord Mortimer quitted Miss Malcolm the moment he had procured
her a seat, though she desired him to take one between her and Lady
Euphrasia, and, passing to the other side, placed himself by Amanda.
This action pleased her as much as it mortified them. It embarrassed
her, however, a little; but perceiving the scrutinizing earnestness with
which the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia regarded her, she exerted her
spirits, and was soon able to join in the general conversation which
Lord Mortimer promoted.

The unexpected arrival of Amanda in London astonished, and,
notwithstanding his resentment, delighted him. His sister, when they
were alone in the morning, had mentioned her with all the fervency of
praise. Her plaudits gave to him a sensation of satisfied pride, which
convinced him he was not less than ever interested about Amanda. Since
his return from Ireland, he had been distracted by incertitude and
anxiety about her. The innocence, the purity, the tenderness she had
displayed, were perpetually recurring to his memory. It was impossible,
he thought, they could be feigned, and he began to think the apparent
mystery of her conduct she could have satisfactorily explained--that
designedly she had not avoided him--and that, but for the impetuosity of
his own passions, which had induced his precipitate departure, he might,
ere this, have had all his doubts removed. Tortured with incessant
regret for this departure, he would have returned immediately to
Ireland, but at this period found it impossible to do so, without
exciting inquiries from Lord Cherbury, which, at present, he did not
choose to answer. He had planned an excursion thither the ensuing summer
with Lady Araminta, determined no longer to endure his suspense. He now
almost believed the peculiar interposition of Providence had brought
Amanda to town, thus affording him another opportunity of having his
anxiety relieved, and the chief obstacle, perhaps to his, and he
flattered himself also, to her happiness, removed; for, if assured her
precipitate journey from Wales was occasioned by no motive she need
blush to avow, he felt he should be better enabled to combat the
difficulties he was convinced his father would throw in the way of their
union. Notwithstanding Lady Araminta's endeavors to gain his implicit
confidence, he resolved to withhold it from her, lest she should incur
even the temporary displeasure of Lord Cherbury, by the warm interest he
knew she would take in his affairs, if once informed of them.

Amanda looked thinner and paler than when he had seen her in
Ireland--yet, if possible, more interesting from these circumstances;
and, from the soft glance she had involuntarily directed towards him at
her entrance, he was tempted to think he had, in some degree,
contributed to rob her lovely cheek of its bloom; and this idea rendered
her dearer than ever to him. Scarcely could he restrain the rapture he
felt on seeing her within the necessary bounds; scarcely could he
believe the scene which had given rise to his happiness real. His heart,
at the moment melting with tenderness, sighed for the period of
explanation, which he trusted, which he hoped, would also be the period
of reconciliation.

The gentlemen joined the ladies about teatime, and as no additional
company was expected, Lady Euphrasia proposed a party to the Pantheon.
This was at once agreed to. Amanda was delighted at the proposal, as it
not only promised to gratify her curiosity, but to give Lord Mortimer an
opportunity of addressing her, as she saw he wished, but vainly
attempted, at home. The marquis and Lord Cherbury declined going. Lady
Greystock, who had not ordered her carriage till a much later hour,
accepted a place in the marchioness's.

Neither Lady Euphrasia nor Miss Malcolm could bear the idea of Lord
Mortimer and Amanda going in the same carriage, as the presence of Lady
Araminta, they were convinced, would not prevent their using an
opportunity so propitious for conversing as they wished. Lady Euphrasia,
therefore, with sudden eagerness, declared she and Miss Malcolm would
resign their seats in the marchioness's carriage to Miss Fitzalan and
Freelove for the pleasure of accompanying Lady Araminta in hers. The
marchioness, who conjectured her daughter's motive for this new
arrangement, seconded it, to the secret regret of Amanda, and the
visible chagrin of Lord Mortimer. Amanda, however, consoled herself for
this disappointment, by reflecting on the pleasure she should enjoy in a
few minutes, when freed from the disagreeable observation of the
marchioness and Lady Euphrasia; her reflections were not in the least
interrupted by any conversation being addressed to her. The marchioness
and Lady Greystock chatted together, and Freelove amused himself humming
a song, as if for the purpose of mortifying Amanda by his inattention.
When the carriage stopped, he assisted the former ladies out; but as if
forgetting such a being existed as Amanda, he went on with them. She was
descending the steps when Lord Mortimer pressed forward, and snatching
her hand, softly exclaimed: "We have met again, and neither envy nor
malice shall again separate us." A beautiful glow overspread the
countenance of Amanda: her hand trembled in his, and she felt, in that
moment, recompensed for her former disappointment, and elevated above
the little insolence of Freelove. Lord Mortimer handed her to his
sister, who was waiting to receive her, and they proceeded to the room.
Lady Euphrasia entered it with a temper unfitted for enjoyment. She was
convinced the whole soul of Mortimer was devoted to Amanda, and she
trembled from the violent and malignant feelings that conviction
excited. From the moment he entered the carriage till he quitted it he
had remained silent, notwithstanding all her efforts and Miss Malcolm's
to force him into conversation. He left them as soon as they reached the
Pantheon to watch the marchioness's carriage, which followed theirs, and
on rejoining Amanda he attached himself entirely to her, without any
longer appearing anxious to conceal his predilection for her. He had,
indeed, forgotten the necessity there was for concealing it; all his
feelings, all his ideas, were engrossed by ecstasy and tenderness. The
novelty, the brilliancy of the scene, excited surprise and pleasure in
Amanda, and he was delighted with the animated description she gave of
the effect it produced upon her mind. In her he found united, exalted
sense, lively fancy, and an uncorrupted taste: he forgot that the eyes
of jealousy and malevolence were on them; he forgot every object but
herself.

But, alas! poor Amanda was doomed to disappointment this evening. Lady
Greystock, according to a hint she had received, after a few rounds,
stepped up to her, and declared she must accompany her to a seat, as she
was convinced her health was yet too weak to bear much fatigue. Amanda
assured her she was not in the least fatigued, and that she would prefer
walking; besides, she had half-promised Lord Mortimer to dance with him.
This Lady Greystock absolutely declared she would not consent to, though
Lady Araminta, on whose arm Amanda leaned, pleaded for her friend,
assuring her ladyship "she would take care Miss Fitzalan should not
injure herself."

"Ah, you young people," said Lady Greystock, "are so carried away with
spirits, you never reflect on consequences; but I declare, as she is
intrusted to my care, I could not answer it to my conscience to let her
run into any kind of danger."

Lady Araminta remonstrated with her ladyship, and Amanda would have
joined, but that she feared her real motive for doing so would have been
discovered. She perceived the party were detained from proceeding on her
account, and immediately offered her arm to Lady Greystock, and
accompanied her and the marchioness to a seat. Lady Euphrasia, catching
hold of Lady Araminta's arm, hurried her, at the same instant, into the
crowd; and Miss Malcolm, as if by chance, laid her hand on Lord
Mortimer, and thus compelled him to attend her party. She saw him,
however, in the course of the round, prepared to fly off; but when they
had completed it, to her inexpressible joy, the situation of Amanda made
him relinquish his intention, as to converse with her was utterly
impossible; for the marchioness had placed her between Lady Greystock
and herself, and, under the pretence of frequently addressing her
ladyship, was continually leaning across Amanda, so as to exclude her
almost from observation, thus rendering her situation, exclusive of the
regret at being separated from Lord Mortimer and Lady Araminta, highly
disagreeable. The marchioness enjoyed a malicious joy in the uneasiness
she saw she gave Amanda. She deemed it but a slight retaliation for the
uneasiness she had given Lady Euphrasia--a trifling punishment for the
admiration she had excited.

Amanda, indeed, whilst surveying the scene around her with wonder and
delight, had herself been an object of critical attention and inquiry.
She was followed, universally admired, and allowed to be the finest girl
that had appeared for a long season.

Relieved of her presence, Lady Euphrasia's spirits began to revive, and
her good-humor to return. She laughed maliciously with Miss Malcolm at
the disappointment of Lord Mortimer and Amanda. After a few rounds, Sir
Charles Bingley, in company with another gentleman, passed them. He was,
to use Miss Malcolm's own phrase, "an immense favorite with her," and
she had long meditated and attempted the conquest of his heart. The
attention which politeness obliged him to show, and the compliments she
sometimes compelled him to pay, she flattered herself, were intimations
of the success of her scheme. Lady Euphrasia, notwithstanding her
intentions relative to Lord Mortimer, and her professed friendship for
Miss Malcolm, felt an ardent desire to have Sir Charles enrolled in the
list of her admirers, and both ladies determined he should not again
pass without noticing them. They accordingly watched his approach, and
when they again met addressed him in a manner that, to a man at all
interested about either, would have been truly flattering. As this,
however, was not the young baronet's case, after paying his compliments
in a general way to the whole party, he was making his parting bow, when
his companion, pulling him by the sleeve, bid him observe a beautiful
girl sitting opposite to them. They had stopped near the marchioness's
seat, and it was to Amanda Sir Charles's eyes were directed.

"Gracious heaven!" cried he, starting, while his cheek was suffused with
a glow of pleasure; "can this be possible? Can this in reality,"
advancing to her seat, "be Miss Fitzalan? This surely," continued he,
"is a meeting as fortunate as unexpected. But for it, I should have been
posting back to Ireland in a day or two."

Amanda blushed deeply at his thus publicly declaring her power of
regulating his actions. Her confusion restored that recollection his
joyful surprise had deprived him of, and he addressed the marchioness
and Lady Greystock. The former haughtily bowed, without speaking; and
the latter, laughing significantly, said, "she really imagined ecstasy
on Miss Fitzalan's account had made him forget any one else was
present." The situation of Amanda was tantalizing in an extreme degree
to Sir Charles. It precluded all conversation, and frequently hid her
from his view, as the marchioness and Lady Greystock still continued
their pretended whispers. Sir Charles had some knowledge of the
marchioness's disposition, and quickly perceived the motive of her
present conduct.

"Your ladyship is kind," said he, "in trying to hide Miss Fitzalan, as
no doubt you are conscious 'tis not a slight heartache she would give to
some of the belles present this evening. But why," continued he, turning
to Amanda, "do you prefer sitting to walking?"

Amanda made no answer; but a glance from her expressive eyes to the
ladies informed him of the reason.

Lady Euphrasia and Miss Malcolm, provoked at the abrupt departure of Sir
Charles, had hurried on; but scarcely had they proceeded a few yards ere
envy and curiosity induced them to turn back. Lady Araminta perceived
their chagrin, and secretly enjoyed it. Sir Charles, who had been
looking impatiently for their approach, the moment he perceived them,
entreated Amanda to join them.

"Let me," cried he, presenting his hand, "be your knight on the present
occasion, and deliver you from what may be called absolute captivity."

She hesitated not to accept his offer. The continual buzz in the room,
with the passing and repassing of the company, had made her head giddy.
She deemed no apology requisite to her companions; and, quitting her
seat, hastened forward to Lady Araminta, who had stopped for her. A
crowd at that moment, intervening between them, retarded her progress.
Sir Charles, pressing her hand with fervor, availed himself of this
opportunity to express his pleasure at their unexpected meeting.

"Ah! how little," cried he, "did I imagine there was such happiness in
store for me this evening."

"Sir Charles," said Amanda, endeavoring, though in vain, to withdraw her
hand, "you have learned the art of flattering since your return to
England."

"I wish," cried he, "I had learned the art of expressing, as I wish, the
sentiments I feel."

Lord Mortimer, who had made way through the crowd for the ladies, at
this instant appeared. He seemed to recoil at the situation of Amanda,
whose hand was yet detained in Sir Charles's, while the soft glow and
confusion of her face gave at least a suspicion of the language she was
listening to.

On rejoining the party she hoped again to have been joined by Lord
Mortimer; but, even if inclined for this, Sir Charles totally prevented
him. His lordship deserted them, yet almost continually contrived to
intercept the party, and his eyes were always turned on Amanda and Sir
Charles. He was really displeased with her. He thought she might as well
have left her seat before as after Sir Charles's appearance, and he
resolved to watch her closely. She was asked to dance by Sir Charles,
and several other gentlemen, but refused, and Lady Araminta, on her
account, followed her example. Lady Euphrasia and Miss Malcolm either
were too much discomposed, or not asked by gentlemen they liked, to join
the festive group.

Amanda, from being disappointed, soon grew languid, and endeavored to
check, with more than usual seriousness, the ardent expressions of Sir
Charles, who repeatedly declared, "he had hurried over the affairs which
brought him to England entirely on her account, as he thought every day
an age until they again met."

She was rejoiced when Lady Araminta proposed returning home. Lady
Euphrasia and Miss Malcolm had no longer a desire to accompany her
ladyship, as they believed Lord Mortimer already gone, and she and
Amanda therefore returned alone. Sir Charles was invited to supper, an
invitation he joyfully accepted, and promised to follow her ladyship as
soon as he had apprised the party he came with of his intention.

Lady Araminta and Amanda arrived some time before the rest of the party.
Her ladyship said, "that her leaving town was to attend the nuptials of
a particular friend," and was expressing her hopes, that on her return,
she should often be favored with the company of Amanda, when the door
suddenly opened and Lord Mortimer entered. He looked pleased and
surprised, and taking a seat on the sofa between them, exclaimed, as he
regarded them with unutterable tenderness, "surely one moment like this
is worth whole hours such as we have lately spent. May I," looking at
Amanda, "say that chance is now as propitious to me as it was some time
ago to Sir Charles Bingley? Tell me," continued he, "were you not
agreeably surprised to-night?"

"By the Pantheon, undoubtedly, my lord."

"And by Sir Charles Bingley?"

"No. He is too slight an acquaintance either to give pleasure by his
presence or pain by his absence."

This was just what Lord Mortimer wanted to hear. The looks of Amanda,
and, above all, the manner in which she had received the attentions of
Sir Charles, evinced her sincerity. The shadow of jealousy removed, Lord
Mortimer recovered all his animation. Never does the mind feel so light,
so truly happy, as when a painful doubt is banished from it.

"Miss Fitzalan," said Lady Araminta, recurring to what Amanda had just
said, "can see few beings, like herself, capable of exciting immediate
esteem. For my own part, I cannot persuade myself that she is an
acquaintance of but two days, I feel such an interest in her welfare,
such a sisterly regard." She paused, and looked expressively on her
brother and Amanda. His fine eyes beamed the liveliest pleasure.

"Oh, my sister," cried he, "encourage that sisterly affection. Who so
worthy of possessing it as Miss Fitzalan? and who but Amanda," continued
he, passing his arm round her waist, and softly whispering to her,
"shall have a right to claim it?"

The stopping of the carriages now announced the return of the party, and
terminated a scene, which, if much longer protracted, might, by
increasing their agitation, have produced a full discovery of their
feelings. The ladies were attended by Sir Charles and Freelove. The
marquis and Lord Cherbury had been out, but returned about this time;
and soon after supper the company departed--Lady Araminta tenderly
bidding Amanda farewell.

The cares which had so long pressed upon the heart of Amanda, and
disturbed its peace, were now vanished. The whisper of Lord Mortimer had
assured her that she was not only the object of his tenderest affection,
but most serious attention. The regard of Lady Araminta flattered her
pride, as it implied a tacit approbation of her brother's choice.

The next morning, immediately after breakfast, Lady Greystock went out
to her lawyer, and Amanda was sitting at work in the dressing-room, when
Sir Charles Bingley was announced. He now expressed, if possible, more
pleasure at seeing her than he had done the preceding night;
congratulated himself at finding her alone, and repeatedly declared,
from their first interview, her image had never been absent from his
mind. The particularity and ardor of his expressions Amanda wished, and
endeavored, to repress. She had not the ridiculous and unfeeling vanity
to be delighted with an attachment she could not return; besides his
attentions were unpleasing, as she believed they gave uneasiness to
Lord Mortimer. She therefore answered him with cold and studied caution,
which, to his impetuous feelings, was insupportable. Half resenting,
half rallying it, he snatched her hand, in spite of her efforts to
prevent him, and was declaring he could not bear it, when the door
opened and Lord Mortimer appeared. Had Amanda been encouraging the
regard of Sir Charles, she could not have betrayed more confusion. Lord
Mortimer retreated a few steps, in evident embarrassment; then bowing
coolly, again advanced and took a seat. Sir Charles started up, with a
look which seemed to say he had been most unpleasantly interrupted, and
walked about the room. Amanda was the first who broke silence. She
asked, in a hesitating voice, "Whether Lady Araminta was yet gone?"
"No," his lordship gravely replied; "but in a few minutes she proposed
setting out, and he meant to accompany her part of the way." "So, till
her ladyship was ready," cried Sir Charles, with quickness, "that no
time might be lost, you come to Miss Fitzalan?"

Lord Mortimer made no reply. He frowned, and rising directly, slightly
saluted Amanda, and retired.

Convinced, as she was, that Lord Mortimer had made the visit for the
purpose of speaking more explicitly than he had yet done, she could not
entirely conceal her chagrin, or regard Sir Charles without some
displeasure. It had not, however, the effect of making him shorten his
visit. He continued with her till Lady Greystock's return, to whom he
proposed a party that evening for the opera, and obtained permission to
wait upon her ladyship at tea, with tickets, notwithstanding Amanda
declared her disinclination to going. She wished to avoid the public, as
well as private, attentions of Sir Charles; but both she found
impossible to do. The impression which the charms of her mind and form
had made on him was of too ardent, too permanent a nature, to be erased
by her coldness. Generous and exalted in his notions, affluent and
independent in his fortune, he neither required any addition of wealth,
nor was under any control which could prevent his following his
inclinations. His heart was bent on a union with Amanda. Though hurt by
her indifference, he would not allow himself to be discouraged by it.
Time and perseverance, he trusted and believed, would conquer it.
Unaccustomed to disappointment, he could not, in an affair which so
materially concerned his happiness, bear the idea of proving
unsuccessful. Had Amanda's heart been disengaged, he would probably have
succeeded as he wished; for he was calculated to please, to inspire
admiration and esteem; and Amanda felt a real friendship for him, and
sincerely grieved that his ardent regard could not be reduced to as
temperate a medium as hers.

Lady Greystock had a numerous and brilliant acquaintance in London,
amongst whom she was continually engaged. Sir Charles was well known to
them, and therefore almost constantly attended Amanda wherever she went.
His unremitted and particular attention excited universal observation;
and he was publicly declared the professed admirer of Lady Greystock's
beautiful companion. The appellation was generally bestowed on her by
the gentlemen; as many of Lady Greystock's female intimates declared,
from the appearance of the girl, as well as her distressed situation,
they wondered Sir Charles Bingley could ever think about her, for her
ladyship had represented her as a person in the most indigent
circumstances, on which account she had taken her under her protection.
All that envy, hatred, and malice could suggest against her, Miss
Malcolm said. The marchioness and Lady Euphrasia, judging of her by
themselves, supposed that as she was not sure of Lord Mortimer she would
accept of Sir Charles; and though this measure would remove all
apprehensions relative to Lord Mortimer, yet the idea of the wealth and
consequence she would derive from it, almost distracted them. Thus does
envy sting the bosoms which harbor it.

Lord Mortimer again resumed his reserve. He was frequently in company
with Amanda, but never even attempted to pay her any attention; yet his
eyes, which she often caught riveted on her, though the moment she
perceived them they were withdrawn, seemed to say that the alteration in
his manner was not produced by any diminution of tenderness. He was,
indeed, determined to regulate his conduct by hers to Sir Charles.
Though pained and irritated by his assiduities, he had too much pride to
declare a prior claim to her regard--a woman who could waver between two
objects, he deemed unworthy of either. He therefore resolved to leave
Amanda free to act, and put her constancy to a kind of test. Yet,
notwithstanding all his pride, we believe, if not pretty well convinced
that this test would have proved a source of triumph to himself, he
never would have submitted to it. The period for Lady Araminta's return
was now arrived, and Amanda was anxiously expecting her, when she heard
from Lady Euphrasia that her ladyship had been ill in the country, and
would not therefore leave it for some time. This was a severe
disappointment to Amanda, who had hoped, by her ladyship's means, to
have seen less of Sir Charles and more of Lord Mortimer.



CHAPTER XXVI.

  "And why should such, within herself, she cried,
   Lock the lost wealth, a thousand want beside."--PARNELL.


Amanda was sitting alone in the drawing-room one morning, when a
gentleman was shown into it, to wait for Lady Greystock. The stranger
was about the middle period of life; his dress announced him a military
man, and his threadbare coat seemed to declare that whatever laurels he
had gathered, they were barren ones. His form and face were interesting;
infirmity appeared to press upon one, and sorrow had deeply marked the
other, yet without despoiling it of a certain expression which indicated
the hilarity nature had once stamped upon it. His temples were sunk, and
his cheek faded to a sickly hue. Amanda felt immediate respect and
sensibility for the interesting figure before her. The feelings of her
soul, the early lessons of her youth, had taught her to reverence
distress; and never, perhaps, did she think it so peculiarly affecting,
as when in a military garb.

The day was uncommonly severe, and the stranger shivered with the cold.

"I declare, young lady," cried he, as he took the chair which Amanda had
placed for him by the fire, "I think I should not tremble more before an
enemy, than I do before this day. I don't know but what it is as
essential for a subaltern officer to stand cold as well as fire."

Amanda smiled, and resumed her work. She was busily employed making a
trimming of artificial flowers for Lady Greystock, to present to a young
lady, from whose family she had received some obligations. This was a
cheap mode of returning them, as Amanda's materials were used.

"Your employment is an entertaining one," said the stranger, "and your
roses literally without thorns; such, no doubt, as you expect to gather
in your path through life."

"No," replied Amanda, "I have no such expectation."

"And yet," said he, "how few at your time of life, particularly if
possessed of your advantages, could make such a declaration."

"Whoever had reflection undoubtedly would," replied Amanda.

"That I allow," cried he; "but how few do we find with reflection?--from
the young it is banished, as the rigid tyrant that would forbid the
enjoyment of the pleasures they pant after;--and from the old it is too
often expelled, as an enemy to that forgetfulness which can alone insure
their tranquillity."

"But in both, I trust," said Amanda, "you will allow there are
exceptions."

"Perhaps there are; yet often, when conscience has no reason to dread,
sensibility has cause to fear reflection, which not only revives the
recollection of happy hours, but inspires such a regret for their loss,
as almost unfits the soul for any exertions; 'tis indeed beautifully
described in these lines--

  "Still importunate and vain,
   To former joys recurring ever
   And turning all the past to pain."

Amanda attentively watched him, and thought what he said appeared
particularly applicable to himself, as his countenance assumed a more
dejected expression. He revived, however, in a few moments.

"I have, my dear young lady," continued he, smiling, "beguiled you most
soberly, as Lady Grace says, into conversation. I have, however, given
you an opportunity of amusing your fancy by drawing a comparison between
an old veteran and a young soldier; but though you may allow him more
animation, I trust you will not do me so much injustice as to allow him
more taste: while he merely extolled the lustre of your eyes, I should
admire the mildness which tempered that lustre; while he praised the
glow of your cheek, I should adore that sensibility which had power, in
a moment, to augment or diminish it."

At this instant Lady Greystock entered the room--she entered it with the
swell of importance, and a haughty expression of contempt in her
features.

The stranger rose from his chair, and his paleness increased.

"So, Mr. Rushbrook," at last drawled out her ladyship. "So, sir: but
pray be seated," waving her hand at the same time.

Amanda now retired: she had lingered a few moments in the room, under
the pretence of putting her work out of her ladyship's way, to discover
who the stranger was.

Rushbrook had been represented to her as artful, treacherous, and
contemptible. His appearance was almost a sufficient refutation of those
charges, and she began to think they never would have been laid against
him by any other being than Lady Greystock, from a desire of
depreciating her adversary. In her ladyship she had seen much to dislike
since she resided with her; she saw that the temper, like the person, is
often allowed to be in dishabille at home.

She felt even warmly interested about Rushbrook; she had heard of his
large family; and, from his appearance, she conjectured they must be in
distress. There was a kind of humorous sadness in his manner which
affected her even more than a settled melancholy perhaps would have
done, as it implied the efforts of a noble heart to repel sorrow; and if
there cannot be a more noble, neither, surely, can there be a more
affecting sight, than that of a good and brave man struggling with
adversity.

As she leaned pensively against the window, reflecting on the various
inequalities of fortune, yet still believing they were designed by a
wise Providence, like hill and valley, mutually to benefit each other,
she saw Rushbrook cross the street; his walk was the slow and lingering
walk of dejection and disappointment. He raised his hand to his eyes,
Amanda supposed to wipe away his tears, and her own fell at the
supposition. The severity of the day had increased; a heavy shower of
snow was falling, against which poor Rushbrook had no shelter but his
threadbare coat. Amanda was unutterably affected; and when he
disappeared from her sight, she fell into a sentimental soliloquy,
something in the style of Yorick.

"Was I mistress," exclaimed she, as she beheld the splendid carriages
passing and repassing,----"was I mistress of one of those carriages, an
old soldier like Rushbrook should not be exposed to the inclemency of a
wintry sky; neither should his coat be threadbare, or his heart
oppressed with anguish! If I saw a tear upon his cheek I would say it
had no business there, for comfort was about revisiting him." As she
spoke, the idea of Lord Mortimer occurred. Her tears were suspended, and
her cheek began to glow.

"Yes, poor Rushbrook!" she exclaimed, "perhaps the period is not far
distant when a bounteous Providence, through the hands of Amanda, may
relieve thy wants; when Mortimer himself may be her assistant in the
office of benevolence!"

Lady Greystock's woman now appeared, to desire she would come down to
her lady. She immediately obeyed the summons, with a secret hope of
hearing something of the conference. Her ladyship received her with an
exulting laugh.

"I have good news to tell you, my dear," exclaimed she; "that poor
wretch, Rushbrook, has lost the friend who was to have supported him in
the lawsuit; and the lawyers, finding the sheet-anchor gone, have
steered off, and left him to shift for himself. The miserable creature
and his family must certainly starve. Only think of his assurance. He
came to say, indeed, he would now be satisfied with a compromise."
"Well, madam?" said Amanda.

"Well, madam," repeated her ladyship, mimicking her manner; "I told him
I must be a fool indeed, if ever I consented to such a thing, after his
effrontery in attempting to litigate the will of his much-abused uncle,
my dear, good Sir Geoffry. No, no; I bid him proceed in the suit, as all
my lawyers were prepared; and, after so much trouble on both sides, it
would be a pity the thing came to nothing." "As your ladyship, however,
knows his extreme distress, no doubt you will relieve it." "Why, pray,"
said her ladyship, smartly, "do you think he has any claim upon me?"
"Yes," replied Amanda, "if not upon your justice, at least upon your
humanity." "So you would advise me to fling away my money upon him?"
"Yes," replied Amanda, smiling, "I would. And, as your ladyship likes
the expression, have you fling it away profusely." "Well, well,"
answered she, "when you arrive at my age, you will know the real value
of wealth." "I trust madam," said Amanda, with spirit, "I know its real
value already. We only estimate it differently."

"And pray," asked her ladyship, with a sneer, "how may you estimate it?"

"As the means, madam, of dispensing happiness around us. Of giving
shelter to the houseless child of want, and joy to the afflicted heart;
as a sacred deposit intrusted to us by an Almighty Power for those
purposes, which, if so applied, will nourish placid and delightful
reflections, that, like soothing friends, will crowd around us in the
bed of sickness or death, alleviating the pains of one, and the terrors
of the other."

"Upon my word," exclaimed Lady Greystock, "a fine flowery speech, and
well calculated for a sentimental novel or a moral treatise for the
improvement of youth. But I advise you, my dear, in future, to keep your
queer and romantic notions to yourself, or else it will be suspected you
have made romances your study; for you have just spoken as one of their
heroines would have done."

Amanda made no reply; yet as she beheld her ladyship seated in an
easy-chair, by a blazing fire, with a large bowl of rich soup before
her, which she took every morning, she could not forbear secretly
exclaiming: "Hard-hearted woman! engrossed by your own gratifications,
no ray of compassion can soften your nature for the misfortunes of
others. Sheltered yourself from the tempests, you see it falling,
without pity, on the head of wretchedness; and while you feast on
luxuries, think without emotion of those who want even common
necessaries."

In the evening they went to a large party at the marchioness's, but
though the scene was gay and brilliant, it could not remove the
pensiveness of Amanda's spirits. The emaciated form of Rushbrook,
returning to his desolate family, dwelt upon her mind. A little, she
thought, as she surveyed the magnificence of the apartments, and the
splendor of the company which crowded them, a little from this parade of
vanity and wealth, would give relief to many a child of indigence. Never
had the truth of the following lines so forcibly struck her
imagination:--

  "Ah, little think the gay, licentious crowd
   Whom pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
   They who their thoughtless hours in giddy mirth
   And wanton, often cruel, riot waste;
   Ah, little think they, while they dance along,
   How many feel, this very moment, death,
   And all the sad variety of pain.
                 How many drink the cup
   Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
   Of misery, sore pierced by wintry winds?
   How many shrink into the sordid hut
   Of cheerless poverty?"

From such reflections as these she was disturbed by the entrance of Sir
Charles Bingley. As usual, he took his station by her, and in a few
minutes after him Lord Mortimer appeared. A party for vingt-un was
formed, in which Amanda joined, from a wish of avoiding the assiduities
of Sir Charles; but he took care to secure a seat next hers, and Lord
Mortimer sat opposite to them.

"Bingley," said a gentleman, after they had been some time at the table,
"you are certainly the most changeable fellow in the world. About three
weeks ago you were hurrying everything for a journey to Ireland, as if
life and death depended on your expedition, and here I still find you
loitering about the town."

"I deny the imputation of changeableness," replied the baronet; "all my
actions are regulated," and he glanced at Amanda, "by one source, one
object."

Amanda blushed, and caught, at that moment, a penetrating look from Lord
Mortimer. Her situation was extremely disagreeable. She dreaded his
attentions would be imputed to encouragement from her; she had often
tried to suppress them, and she resolved her next efforts should be more
resolute.

Sir Charles reached Pall Mall the next morning just as Lady Greystock
was stepping into her chariot, to acquaint her lawyer of Rushbrook's
visit. She informed him that Miss Fitzalan was in the drawing-room, and
he flew up to her.

"You find," said he, "by what you heard last night, that my conduct has
excited some surprise. I assure you my friends think I must absolutely
be deranged, to relinquish so suddenly a journey I appeared so anxious
to take. Suffer me," continued he, taking her hand, "to assign the true
reason for this apparent change." "Sir Charles," replied Amanda, "'tis
time to terminate this trifling."

"Oh, let it then be terminated," said he, with eagerness, "by your
consenting to my happiness, by your accepting a hand, tendered to you
with the most ardent affections of my heart."

With equal delicacy and tenderness, he then urged her acceptance of
proposals which were as disinterested as the most romantic generosity
could desire them to be.

Amanda felt really concerned that he had made them; the grateful
sensibility of her nature was hurt at the idea of giving him pain.
"Believe me, Sir Charles," said she, "I am truly sensible of the honor
of your addresses; but I should deem myself unworthy of the favorable
opinion which excited them, if I delayed a moment assuring you that
friendship was the only return in my power to make for them."

The impetuous passions of Sir Charles were now all in commotion. He
started from his chair and traversed the apartment in breathless
agitation. "I will not, Miss Fitzalan," said he, resuming his seat
again, "believe you inflexible. I will not believe that you can think I
shall so easily resign an idea which I have so long cherished with
rapture."

"Surely, Sir Charles," somewhat alarmed, "you cannot accuse me of having
encouraged that idea?"

"Oh, no," sighed he passionately, "to me you were always uniformly
cold." "And from whence then proceeded such an idea?"

"From the natural propensity we all have to deceive ourselves, and to
believe that whatever we wish will be accomplished. Ah! Miss Fitzalan,
deprive me not of so sweet a belief. I will not at present urge you to
any material step to which you are averse; I will only entreat for
permission to hope that time, perseverance, unremitted attention, may
make some impression on you, and at last produce a change in my favor."

"Never, Sir Charles, will I give rise to a hope which I think cannot be
realized. A little reflection will convince you you should not be
displeased at my being so explicit. We are, at this moment, both
perhaps, too much discomposed to render a longer conference desirable.
Pardon me, therefore, if I now terminate it, and, be assured, I shall
never lose a grateful remembrance of the honor you intended me, or
forget the friendship I professed for Sir Charles Bingley."

She then withdrew, without any obstruction from him. Regret and
disappointment seemed to have suspended his faculties; but it was a
momentary suspension, and on recovering them he quitted the house.

His pride, at first, urged him to give up Amanda forever; but his
tenderness soon opposed this resolution. He had, as he himself
acknowledged, a propensity to believe, that whatever he wished was easy
to accomplish; this propensity proceeded from the easiness with which
his inclinations had hitherto been gratified. Flattering himself that
the coldness of Amanda proceeded more from natural reserve than
particular indifference to him, he still hoped she might be induced to
favor him. She was so superior, in his opinion, to every woman he had
seen, so truly calculated to render him happy, that, as the violence of
offended pride abated, he resolved, without another effort, not to give
her up. Without knowing it, he had rambled to St. James's Square, and
having heard of the friendship subsisting between Lord Cherbury and
Fitzalan, he deemed his lordship a proper person to apply to on the
present occasion, thinking, that if he interested himself in his favor,
he might yet be successful. He accordingly repaired to his house, and
was shown into an apartment where the earl and Lord Mortimer were
sitting together. After paying the usual compliments, "I am come, my
lord," said he, somewhat abruptly, "to entreat your interest in an
affair which materially concerns my happiness, and trust your lordship
will excuse my entreaty, when I inform you it relates to Miss Fitzalan."

The earl, with much politeness, assured him, "He should feel happy in an
opportunity of serving him," and said, "he did him but justice in
supposing him particularly interested about Miss Fitzalan, not only as
the daughter of his old friend, but from her own great merit."

Sir Charles then acquainted him with the proposals he had just made
her, and her absolute rejection of them; and expressed his hope that
Lord Cherbury would try to influence her in his favor.

"'Tis very extraordinary, indeed," cried his lordship, "that Miss
Fitzalan should decline such an honorable, such an advantageous
proposal. Are you sure, Sir Charles, there is no prior attachment in the
case?"

"I never heard of one, my lord, and I believe none exists." Lord
Mortimer's countenance lowered at this, but, happily, its gloom was
unperceived.

"I will write to-day," said the earl, "to Mr. Fitzalan, and mention your
proposal to him in the terms it deserves. Except authorized by him, you
must, Sir Charles, excuse my personal interference in the affair. I have
no doubt, indeed, but he will approve of your addresses, and you may
then depend on my seconding them with all my interest."

This promise satisfied Sir Charles, and he soon after withdrew. Lord
Mortimer was now pretty well convinced of the state of Amanda's heart.
Under this conviction, he delayed not many minutes, after Sir Charles's
departure, going to Pall Mall; and having particularly inquired whether
Lady Greystock was out, and being answered in the affirmative, he
ascended to the drawing-room, to which Amanda had again returned.



CHAPTER XXVII.

  "Go bid the needle its dear north forsake,
     To which with trembling reverence it does bend:
   Go bid the stones a journey upward make:
     Go bid the ambitious flame no more ascend;
   And when these false to their old motions prove,
     Then will I cease thee, thee alone to love."--COWLEY.


In an emotion of surprise at so unexpected a visit, the book she was
reading dropped from Amanda, and she arose in visible agitation.

"I fear," said his lordship, "I have intruded somewhat abruptly upon
you; but my apology for doing so must be my ardent wish of using an
opportunity so propitious for a mutual eclaircissement--an opportunity I
might, perhaps, vainly seek again."

He took her trembling hand, led her to the sofa, and placed himself by
her. As a means of leading to the desired eclaircissement, he related
the agonies he had suffered at returning to Tudor Hall, and finding her
gone--gone in a manner so inexplicable, that the more he reflected on it
the more wretched he grew. He described the hopes and fears which
alternately fluctuated in his mind during his continuance in Ireland,
and which often drove him into a state nearly bordering on distraction.
He mentioned the resolution, though painful in the extreme, which he had
adopted on the first appearance of Sir Charles Bingley's particularity;
and finally concluded by assuring her, notwithstanding all his
incertitude and anxiety, his tenderness had never known diminution.

Encouraged by this assurance, Amanda, with restored composure, informed
him of the reason of her precipitate journey from Wales, and the
incidents which prevented her meeting him in Ireland, as he had
expected. Though delicacy forbade her dwelling, like Lord Mortimer, on
the wretchedness occasioned by their separation, and mutual
misapprehensions of each other, she could not avoid touching upon it
sufficiently, indeed, to convince him she had been a sympathizing
participator in all the uneasiness he had suffered.

Restored to the confidence of Mortimer, Amanda appeared dearer to his
soul than ever. Pleasure beamed from his eyes as he pressed her to his
bosom, and exclaimed, "I may again call you my own Amanda; again sketch
scenes of felicity, and call upon you to realize them." Yet, in the
midst of this transport, a sudden gloom clouded his countenance; and
after gazing on her some minutes, with pensive tenderness, he fervently
exclaimed, "Would to Heaven, in this hour of perfect reconciliation, I
could say that all obstacles to our future happiness were removed."
Amanda involuntarily shuddered, and continued silent.

"That my father will throw difficulties in the way of our union, I
cannot deny my apprehension of," said Lord Mortimer; "though truly noble
and generous in his nature, he is sometimes, like the rest of mankind,
influenced by interested motives. He has long, from such motives, set
his heart on a connection with the Marquis of Roslin's family. Though
fully determined in my intentions, I have hitherto forborne an explicit
declaration of them to him, trusting that some propitious chance would
yet second my wishes, and save me the painful necessity of disturbing
the harmony which has ever subsisted between us."

"Oh! my lord!" said Amanda, turning pale, and shrinking from him, "let
me not be the unfortunate cause of disturbing that harmony. Comply with
the wishes of Lord Cherbury, marry Lady Euphrasia, and let me be
forgotten."

"Amanda," cried his lordship, "accuse not yourself of being the cause of
any disagreement between us. Had I never seen you, with respect to Lady
Euphrasia, I should have felt the same inability to comply with his
wishes. To me her person is not more unpleasing than her mind. I have
long been convinced that wealth alone was insufficient to bestow
felicity, and have ever considered the man who could sacrifice his
feelings at the shrine of interest or ambition, degraded below the
standard of humanity; that to marry, merely from selfish considerations,
was one of the most culpable, most contemptible actions which could be
committed. To enter into such a union, I want the propensities which can
alone ever occasion it, namely, a violent passion for the enjoyments
only attainable through the medium of wealth. Left at an early age
uncontrolled master of my own actions, I drank freely of the cup of
pleasure, but found it soon pall upon my taste. It was, indeed, unmixed
with any of those refined ingredients which can only please the
intellectual appetite, and might properly be termed the cup of false
instead of real pleasure. Thinking, therefore, as I do, that a union
without love is abhorrent to probity and sensibility, and that the
dissipated pleasures of life are not only prejudicial but tiresome, I
naturally wish to secure to myself domestic happiness; but never could
it be experienced except united to a woman whom my reason thoroughly
approved, who should at once possess my unbounded confidence and
tenderest affection. Who should be, not only the promoter of my joys,
but the assuager of my cares. In you I have found such a woman, such a
being, as I candidly confess, some time ago, I thought it impossible to
meet with. To you I am bound by a sentiment even stronger than love--by
honor--and with real gratitude acknowledge my obligations in being
permitted to atone, in some degree, for my errors relative to you. But I
will not allow my Amanda to suppose these errors proceeded from any
settled depravity of soul. Allowed to be, as I have before said, my own
master at an early period, from the natural thoughtlessness of youth, I
was led into scenes which the judgment of riper years has since severely
condemned. Here, too, often I met with women whose manners, instead of
checking, gave a latitude to freedom; women, too, who, from their
situations in life, had every advantage that could be requisite for
improving and refining their minds. From conversing with them I
gradually imbibed a prejudice against the whole sex, and under that
prejudice first beheld you, and feared either to doubt or to believe the
reality of the innocence you appeared to possess.

"Convinced at length, most fully, most happily convinced of its reality,
my prejudices no longer remained; they vanished like mists before the
sun--or rather like the illusions of falsehood before the influence of
truth. Were those, my dear Amanda, of your sex, who, like you, had the
resistless power of pleasing, to use the faculties assigned them by a
bounteous Providence in the cause of virtue, they would soon check the
dissipation of the times.

"'Tis impossible to express the power a beautiful form has over the
human mind; that power might be exerted for nobler purposes. Purity
speaking from love-inspiring lips would, like the voice of Adam's
heavenly guest, so sweetly breathe upon the ear as insensibly to
influence the heart; the libertine it corrected would, if not utterly
hardened, reform; no longer would he glory in his vices, but touched and
abashed, instead of destroying, worship female virtue.

"But I wander from the purpose of my soul. Convinced as I am of the
dissimilarity between my father's inclinations and mine, I think it
better to give no intimation of my present intentions, which, if
permitted by you, I am unalterably determined on fulfilling, as I should
consider it as highly insulting to him to incur his prohibition, and
then act in defiance of it, though my heart would glory in avowing its
choice. The peculiar circumstances I have just mentioned will, I trust,
induce my Amanda to excuse a temporary concealment of it, till beyond
the power of mortals to separate us--a private and immediate union, the
exigency of situation, and the security of felicity demands. I shall
feel a trembling apprehension till I call you mine; life is too short to
permit the waste of time in idle scruples and unmeaning ceremonies. The
eye of suspicion has long rested upon us, and would, I am convinced,
effect a premature discovery, if we took not some measure to prevent it.

"Deem me not too precipitate, my Amanda," passing his arm gently round
her waist, "if I ask you to-morrow night, for the last sweet proof of
confidence you can give me, by putting yourself under my protection. A
journey to Scotland is unavoidable--in the arrangements I shall make for
it, all that is due to delicacy I shall consider."

"Mention it no more, my lord," said Amanda, in a faltering accent; "no
longer delude your imagination or mine with the hopes of being united."

Hitherto she had believed the approbation of Lord Cherbury to the
wishes of his son would be obtained, the moment he was convinced how
essential their gratification was to his felicity. She judged of him by
her father, who, she was convinced, if situations were reversed, would
bestow her on Mortimer without hesitation. These ideas so nourished her
attachment, that, like the vital parts of existence, it at length became
painfully, almost fatally, susceptible of every shock. Her dream of
happiness was over the moment she heard Lord Cherbury's consent was not
to be asked, from a fear of its being refused. 'Twas misery to be
separated from Lord Mortimer, but it was guilt and misery to marry him
clandestinely, after the solemn injunction her father had given her
against such a step. The shock of disappointment could not be borne with
composure; it pressed like a cold dead weight upon her heart. She
trembled, and, unable to support herself, sunk against the shoulder of
Lord Mortimer, while a shower of tears proclaimed her agony. Alarmed by
her emotion, Lord Mortimer hastily demanded its source, and the reason
of the words which had just escaped her.

"Because, my lord," replied she, "I cannot consent to a clandestine
measure, nor bear you should incur the displeasure of Lord Cherbury on
my account. Though Lady Euphrasia Sutherland is not agreeable, there are
many women who, with equal rank and fortune, possess the perfections
suited to your taste. Seek for one of these--choose from among them a
happy daughter of prosperity, and let Amanda, untitled, unportioned, and
unpleasing to your father, return to an obscurity which owes its comfort
to his fostering bounty." "Does this advice," asked Lord Mortimer,
"proceed from Amanda's heart?" "No," replied she, hesitatingly, and
smiling through her tears, "not from her heart, but from a better
counsellor, her reason."

"And shall I not obey the dictates of reason," replied he, "in uniting
my destiny to yours? Reason directs us to seek happiness through
virtuous means; and what means are so adapted for that purpose, as a
union with a beloved and amiable woman? No, Amanda; no titled daughter
of prosperity, to use your own words, shall ever attract my affections
from you. 'Imagination cannot form a shape, besides your own, to like
of;' a shape which even if despoiled of its graces, would enshrine a
mind so transcendently lovely, as to secure my admiration. In choosing
you as the partner of my future days, I do not infringe the moral
obligation which exists between father and son; for as, on one hand, it
does not require weak indulgence; so, on the other, it does not demand
implicit obedience, if reason and happiness must be sacrificed by it.
Nothing would have tempted me to propose a private union but the hope of
escaping many disagreeable circumstances by it. If you persist, however,
in rejecting it, I shall openly avow my intentions, for a long
continuance of anxiety and suspense I cannot support."

"Do you think, then," said Amanda, "I would enter your family amidst
confusion and altercation? No, my lord, rashly or clandestinely I never
will consent to enter it."

"Is this the happiness I promised myself would crown our
reconciliation?" exclaimed Lord Mortimer, rising hastily and traversing
the apartment. "Is an obstinate adherence to rigid punctilio the only
proof of regard I shall receive from Amanda? Will she make no trifling
sacrifice to the man who adores her, and whom she professes to esteem?"

"Any sacrifice, my lord, compatible with virtue and filial duty, most
willingly would I make; but beyond these limits I must not, cannot, will
not step. Cold, joyless, and unworthy of your acceptance would be the
hand you would receive if given against my conviction of what was right.
Oh, never may the hour arrive in which I should blush to see my father;
in which I should be accused of injuring the honor intrusted to my
charge, and feel oppressed with the consciousness of having planted
thorns in the breast that depended on me for happiness."

"Do not be too inflexible, my Amanda," cried Lord Mortimer, resuming his
seat, "nor suffer too great a degree of refinement to involve you in
wretchedness; felicity is seldom attained without some pain; a little
resolution on your side would overcome any difficulties that lay between
us and it; when the act was past, my father would naturally lose his
resentment, from perceiving its inefficacy, and family concord would
speedily be restored. Araminta adores you; with rapture would she
receive her dear and lovely sister to her bosom; your father, happy in
your happiness, would be convinced his notions heretofore were too
scrupulous, and that in complying with my wishes you had neither
violated your own delicacy nor tarnished his honor."

"Ah, my lord, your arguments have not the effect you desire. I cannot be
deluded by them, to view things in the light you wish. To unite myself
clandestinely to you would be to fly in the face of parental authority;
to be proposed to Lord Cherbury, when almost certain of a refusal, would
not only subject me to insult, but dissolve the friendship which has
hitherto subsisted between his lordship and my father. Situated as we
are, our only expedient is to separate; 'tis absurd to think longer of a
connection against which there are such obstacles; the task of trying to
forget will be easier to you, my lord, than you now perhaps imagine; the
scenes you must be engaged in are well calculated to expunge painful
remembrances; in the retirement my destiny has doomed me to my efforts
will not be wanting to render me equally successful."

The tears trickled down Amanda's pale cheeks as she spoke; she believed
that they must part, and the belief was attended with a pang of
unutterable anguish: pleased and pained by her sensibility, Lord
Mortimer bent forward and looked into her face.

"Are these tears," said he, "to enforce me to the only expedient you say
remains? Ah, my Amanda," clasping her to his breast, "the task of
forgetting you could never be accomplished--could never be attempted;
life would be tasteless if not spent with you; never will I relinquish
the delightful hope of a union yet taking place. A sudden thought,"
resumed he, after pausing a few minutes, "has just occurred. I have an
aunt, the only remaining sister of Lord Cherbury, a generous, tender,
exalted woman; I have ever been her particular favorite; my Amanda, I
know, is the very kind of being she would select, if the choice devolved
on her, for my wife: she is now in the country; I will write
immediately, inform her of our situation, and entreat her to come up to
town to use her influence with my father in our favor. Her fortune is
large, from the bequest of a rich relation; and from the generosity of
her disposition I have no doubt she would render the loss of Lady
Euphrasia's fortune very immaterial to her brother. This is the only
scheme I can possibly devise for the completion of our happiness,
according to your notions, and I hope it meets your approbation."

It appeared indeed, a feasible one to Amanda; and as it could not
possibly excite any ideas unfavorable to her father's integrity, she
gave her consent to its being tried.

Her heart felt relieved of an oppressive load, as the hope revived that
it might be accomplished. Lord Mortimer wiped away her tears; and the
cloud which hung over them both being dispersed, they talked with
pleasure of future days. Lord Mortimer described the various schemes he
had planned for their mode of life. Amanda smiled at the easiness with
which he contrived them, and secretly wished he might find it as easy to
realize as to project.

"Though the retired path of life," said he, "might be more agreeable to
us than the frequented and public one, we must make some little
sacrifice of inclination to the community to which we belong. On an
elevated station and affluent fortune there are claims from subordinate
ranks which cannot be avoided without injuring them. Neither should I
wish to hide the beautiful gem I shall possess in obscurity; but, after
a winter of what I call moderate dissipation, we will hasten to the
sequestered shades of Tudor Hall." He dwelt with pleasure on the calm
and rational joys they should experience there; nor could forbear
hinting at the period when new tendernesses, new sympathies, would be
awakened in their souls; when little prattling beings should frolic
before them, and literally strew roses in their paths. He expressed his
wish of having Fitzalan a constant resident with them: and was
proceeding to mention some alterations he intended at Tudor Hall, when
the return of Lady Greystock's carriage effectually disturbed him. Lord
Mortimer, however, had time to assure Amanda, ere she entered the room,
that he had no doubt but everything would be soon settled according to
their wishes, and that he would take every opportunity her ladyship's
absence gave him of visiting her.

"So, so," said Lady Greystock, coming into the room, "this has been Miss
Fitzalan's levee-day. Why, I declare, my dear, now that I know of the
agreeable _tete-à-tetes_ you can enjoy, I shall feel no uneasiness at
leaving you to yourself."

Amanda blushed deeply; and Lord Mortimer thought in this speech he
perceived a degree of irony which seemed to say all was not right in the
speaker's heart towards Amanda, and on this account felt more anxious
than ever to have her under his own protection. Animated by the idea
that this would soon be the case, he told her ladyship, smiling, "she
should be obliged to him or any other person who could relieve her mind
from uneasiness," and departed. This had been a busy and interesting day
to Amanda, and the variety of emotions it had given rise to produced a
languor in her mind and frame she could not shake off.

Her expectations were not as sanguine as Lord Mortimer's. Once severely
disappointed, she dreaded again to give too great a latitude to hope.
Happiness was in view, but she doubted much whether it would ever be
within her reach; yet the pain of suspense she endeavored to alleviate
by reflecting that every event was under the direction of a superior
Being, who knew best what would constitute the felicity of His
creatures.

Lady Greystock learned from her maid the length of Lord Mortimer's
visit, and she was convinced from that circumstance as well as from the
look and absent manner of Amanda, that something material had happened
in the course of it. In the evening they were engaged to a party, and
ere they separated after dinner to dress for it, a plain-looking woman
was shown into the room, whom Amanda instantly recollected to be the
person at whose house she and her father had lodged on quitting
Devonshire to secrete themselves from Colonel Belgrave. This woman had
been bribed to serve him, and had forced several letters upon Amanda,
who, therefore, naturally abhorred the sight of a person that had joined
in so infamous a plot against her; and to her exclamation of surprise
and pleasure only returned a cool bow, and directly left the room. She
was vexed at seeing this woman. The conduct of Colonel Belgrave had
hitherto been concealed, from motives of pride and delicacy; and to Lady
Greystock, of all other beings, she wished it not revealed. Her only
hope of its not being so was that this woman, on her own account, would
not mention it, as she must be conscious that her efforts to serve him
were not undiscovered.

Mrs. Jennings had been housekeeper to Lady Greystock during her
residence in England, and so successfully ingratiated herself into her
favor that, though dismissed from her service, she yet retained it. Lady
Greystock was surprised to see she and Amanda knew each other, and
inquired minutely how the acquaintance had commenced. The manner in
which she mentioned Amanda convinced Mrs. Jennings she was not high in
her estimation, and from this conviction she thought she might safely
assert any falsehood she pleased against her. As she knew enough of her
lady's disposition to be assured she never would contradict an assertion
to the prejudice of a person she disliked by what she designed saying,
she trusted anything Amanda might say against her would appear
malicious, and that she should also be revenged for the disdainful air
with which she had regarded her.

She told her ladyship, "that near a year back Miss Fitzalan had been a
lodger of hers, as also an old officer, she called her father; but had
she known what kind of people they were, she never would have admitted
them into her house. Miss was followed by such a set of gallants, she
really thought the reputation of her house would have been ruined. Among
them was a Colonel Belgrave, a sad rake, who, she believed, was the
favorite. She was determined on making them decamp, when suddenly Miss
went off, nobody knew where, but it might easily be guessed. She did not
travel alone, for the colonel disappeared at the same time."

The character of Fitzalan, and the uniform propriety of Amanda's
conduct, forbade Lady Greystock's giving implicit credit to what Mrs.
Jennings said. She perceived in it the exaggerations of malice and
falsehood, occasioned, she supposed by disappointed avarice, or offended
pride. She resolved, however, to relate all she heard to the
marchioness, without betraying the smallest doubt of its veracity.

It may appear strange that Lady Greystock, after taking Amanda,
unsolicited, under her protection, should, without any cause for enmity,
seek to injure her--but Lady Greystock was a woman devoid of principle.
From selfish motives she had taken Amanda, and from selfish motives she
was ready to sacrifice her. Her ladyship had enjoyed so much happiness
in her matrimonial connections, that she had no objection again to enter
the lists of Hymen, and Lord Cherbury was the object at which her
present wishes pointed. The marchioness had hinted, in pretty plain
terms, that if she counteracted Lord Mortimer's intentions respecting
Amanda, she would forward hers relative to Lord Cherbury.

She thought what Mrs. Jennings had alleged would effectually forward
their plans, as she knew, if called upon, she would support it. The next
morning she went to Portman Square, to communicate her important
intelligence to the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia.

Joy and exultation sat upon their features at receiving this interesting
communication, which opened so charming a prospect of separating Lord
Mortimer from Amanda, by giving them the power of injuring her
character. This joy and exultation they deemed requisite for some time
to conceal. They considered their measures would be more successful for
being gradually brought about, and, therefore, resolved rather to
undermine, than directly strike at the peace of Amanda.

Like Lady Greystock, they disbelieved Mrs. Jenning's tale; but, like her
ladyship, confined this disbelief to their own bosoms. In the manner,
the appearance of Amanda, there was an innocence, a mildness, that
denoted something holy dwelt within her breast, and forbade the entrance
of any impure or wayward passion; besides, from a gentleman who had
resided in Devonshire, they learned the distress Fitzalan was reduced
to, by Belgrave's revenge for the virtue of his daughter. This gentleman
was now, however, on the continent, and they had no fear of their
allegations against Amanda being contradicted, or their schemes against
her being overthrown.

After some consultation, it was agreed, as a means of expediting their
plot, that Lady Greystock and Amanda should immediately remove to the
marchioness's house. By this change of abode, too, Lord Mortimer would
be prevented taking any material step relative to Amanda, till the
period arrived, when his own inclination would, most probably, render
any further trouble on that account unnecessary.

Lady Greystock, on her return to Pall Mall, after a warm eulogium on the
friendship of the marchioness, mentioned the invitation she had given
them to her house, which she declared she could not refuse, as it was
made with an ardent desire of enjoying more of their society than she
had hitherto done, during their short stay in London. She also told
Amanda, that both the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia had expressed a
tender regard for her, and a wish of proving to the world, that any
coolness which existed between their families was removed, by her
becoming their guest.

This projected removal was extremely disagreeable to Amanda, as it not
only terminated the morning interviews which were to take place between
her and Lord Mortimer, during the absence of Lady Greystock with her
lawyers, but threatened to impose a restraint upon her looks, as well as
actions, being confident, from the views and suspicions of Lady
Euphrasia, she should be continually watched with the closest
circumspection. Her part, however, was acquiescence. The lodgings were
discharged, and the next morning they took up their residence under the
Marquis of Roslin's roof, to the infinite surprise and mortification of
Lord Mortimer, who, like Amanda, anticipated the disagreeable
consequences which would result from it.

The altered manners of the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia surprised
Amanda. They received her not merely with politeness, but affection;
recapitulated all Lady Greystock had already said concerning their
regard; bade her consider herself entirely at home in their house, and
appointed a maid solely to attend her.

Notwithstanding their former cool, even contemptuous conduct, Amanda,
the child of innocence and simplicity, could not believe the alteration
in their manners feigned; she rather believed that her own patience and
humility had at length conciliated their regard. The idea pleased her,
and like every other, which she supposed could give her father
satisfaction, it was instantly communicated to him.

She found herself most agreeably mistaken relative to the restraint she
had feared. She was perfect mistress of her own time and actions; and
when she saw Lord Mortimer no lowering looks nor studied interference,
as heretofore, from the marchioness or Lady Euphrasia, prevented their
frequently conversing together. The marchioness made her several elegant
presents, and Lady Euphrasia frequently dropped the formal appellation
of Miss Fitzalan for the more familiar one of Amanda.

Sir Charles Bingley, agreeable to his resolution of not relinquishing
Amanda without another effort for her favor, still persisted in his
attentions, and visited constantly at the marquis's.

Amanda had been about a fortnight in Portman Square, when she went one
night with the marchioness, Lady Euphrasia, Miss Malcolm, and Lady
Greystock to the Pantheon. Lord Mortimer had told her, that if he could
possibly leave a particular party he was engaged to, he would be there.
She, therefore, on that account, wished to keep herself disengaged; but
immediately on her entrance she was joined by Sir Charles Bingley, and
she found she must either dance with him as he requested, or consent to
listen to his usual conversation; and she chose the first, as being
least particular. The dancing over, Sir Charles was conducting her to
get some refreshments, when a gentleman, hastily stepping forward,
saluted him by his name. Amanda started at the sound of his voice; she
raised her eyes, and with equal horror and surprise beheld Colonel
Belgrave.

She turned pale, trembled, and involuntarily exclaimed, "Gracious
Heaven!" Her soul recoiled at his sight, as if an evil genius had
suddenly darted into her path to blast her hopes of happiness. Sickening
with emotion, her head grew giddy, and she caught Sir Charles's arm to
prevent her falling.

Alarmed by her paleness and agitation, he hastily demanded the cause of
her disorder, willing to believe, notwithstanding what he had seen, that
it did not proceed from the sight of Colonel Belgrave. "O take me, take
me from this room!" was all, in faltering accents, Amanda could
pronounce, still leaning on him for support. Colonel Belgrave inquired
tenderly what he could do to serve her, and at the same time attempted
to take her hand. She shrunk from his touch with a look expressive of
horror, and again besought Sir Charles to take her from the room, and
procure her a conveyance home. Her agitation now became contagious. It
was visible to Sir Charles that it proceeded from seeing Colonel
Belgrave, and he trembled as he supported her.

Belgrave offered his services in assisting to support her from the room,
but she motioned with her hand to repulse him.

At the door they met Lord Mortimer entering. Terrified by the situation
of Amanda, all caution, all reserve forsook him, and his rapid and
impassioned inquiries betrayed the tender interest she had in his heart.
Unable to answer them herself, Sir Charles replied for her, saying, "She
had been taken extremely ill after dancing," and added, "he would resign
her to his lordship's protection while he went to procure her a chair."

Lord Mortimer received the lovely trembler in his arms. He softly called
her his Amanda, the beloved of his soul, and she began to revive. His
presence was at once a relief and comfort to her, and his language
soothed the perturbations of her mind; but as she raised her head from
his shoulder, she beheld Colonel Belgrave standing near them. His
invidious eyes fastened on her. She averted her head, and, saying the
air would do her good, Lord Mortimer led her forward, and took this
opportunity of expressing his wishes for the period when he should be at
liberty to watch over her with guardian care, soothe every weakness and
soften every care.

In a few minutes Sir Charles returned, and told her he had procured a
chair. She thanked him with grateful sweetness for his attention, and
requested Lord Mortimer to acquaint the ladies with the reason of her
abrupt departure. His lordship wished himself to have attended her to
Portman Square, but she thought it would appear too particular, and
would not suffer him. She retired to her room immediately on her return,
and endeavored, though unsuccessfully, to compose her spirits.

The distress she suffered from Belgrave's conduct had left an impression
on her mind which could not be erased. The terror his presence inspired
was too powerful for reason to conquer, and raised the most gloomy
presages in her mind. She believed him capable of any villany. His looks
had declared a continuance of illicit love. She trembled at the idea of
his stratagems being renewed. Her apprehensions were doubly painful from
the necessity of concealment, lest those dearer to her than existence
should be involved in danger on her account. To Heaven she looked up for
protection, and the terrors of her heart were somewhat lessened,
conscious that Heaven could render the aims of Belgrave against her
peace as abortive as those against her innocence had been.

Sir Charles Bingley parted from Lord Mortimer immediately after Amanda's
departure, and returned arm in arm with Belgrave to the room.
"Belgrave," said he abruptly, after musing some minutes, "you know Miss
Fitzalan?"

Belgrave answered not hastily. He appeared as if deliberating on the
reply he should give. At last, "I do know Miss Fitzalan," cried he; "her
father was my tenant in Devonshire; she is one of the loveliest girls I
ever knew." "Lovely, indeed," said Sir Charles, with a deep and
involuntary sigh; "but it is somewhat extraordinary to me that, instead
of noticing you as a friend or acquaintance, she should look alarmed and
agitated, as if she had seen an enemy." "My dear Bingley," exclaimed
Belgrave, "surely at this time of day you cannot be a stranger to the
unaccountable caprices of the female mind." "'Tis very extraordinary to
me, I own," resumed Sir Charles, "that Miss Fitzalan should behave as
she did to you. Were you and her family ever very intimate?"

An invidious smile lurked on Belgrave's countenance at this question.

"Belgrave," exclaimed Sir Charles, passionately, "your manner appears so
mysterious that it distracts me. If friendship will not induce you to
account for it, my intentions relative to Miss Fitzalan will compel me
to insist on your doing so." "Come, come, Bingley," replied the colonel,
"this is not a country for extorting confession. However, seriously, you
might depend on my honor, exclusive of my friendship, to conceal nothing
from you in which you were materially interested." So saying, he
snatched away his arm, rushed into the crowd, and instantly disappeared.

This assurance, however, could not calm the disquietude of Sir Charles.
His soul was tortured with impatience and anxiety for an explanation of
the mystery, which the agitation of Amanda, and the evasive answers of
Belgrave had betrayed. He sought the latter through the room till
convinced of his departure, and resolved the next morning to entreat him
to deal candidly with him.

Agreeably to this resolution, he was preparing, after breakfast, for his
visit, when a letter was brought him which contained the following
lines:--

    "If Sir Charles Bingley has the least regard for his honor or
    tranquillity, he will immediately relinquish his intentions
    relative to Miss Fitzalan. This caution comes from a sincere
    friend--from a person whom delicacy, not want of veracity, urges
    to this secret mode of giving it."

Sir Charles perused and re-perused the letter, as if doubting the
evidence of his eyes. He at last flung it from him, and clasping his
hands together exclaimed: "This is indeed a horrible explanation." He
took up the detested paper. Again he examined the characters, and
recognized the writing of Colonel Belgrave. He hastily snatched up his
hat, and with the paper in his hand, flew directly to his house. The
colonel was alone.

"Belgrave," said Sir Charles, in almost breathless agitation, "are you
the author of this letter?" presenting it to him.

Belgrave took it, read it, but continued silent.

"Oh! Belgrave!" exclaimed Sir Charles, in a voice trembling with agony,
"pity and relieve my suspense." "I am the author of it," replied
Belgrave, with solemnity; "Miss Fitzalan and I were once tenderly
attached. I trust I am no deliberate libertine; but, when a lovely,
seducing girl was thrown purposely in my way----" "Oh, stop," said Sir
Charles, "to me any extenuation of your conduct is unnecessary; 'tis
sufficient to know that Miss Fitzalan and I are forever separated." His
emotion overpowered him. He leaned on a table, and covered his face with
a handkerchief.

"The shock I have received," said he, "almost unmans me. Amanda was,
alas! I must say is, dear, inexpressibly dear to my soul. I thought her
the most lovely, the most estimable of women; and the anguish I now
feel, is more on her account than my own. I cannot bear the idea of the
contempt which may fall upon her. Oh, Belgrave, 'tis melancholy to
behold a human being, so endowed by nature as she is, insensible or
unworthy of her blessings. Amanda," he continued, after a pause, "never
encouraged me; I therefore cannot accuse her of intending deceit."

"She never encouraged you," replied Belgrave, "because she was ambitious
of a higher title. Amanda, beneath a specious appearance of innocence,
conceals a light disposition and a designing heart. She aspires to
Mortimer's hand, and may probably succeed, for his language and
attentions to her last night were those of a tender lover."

"I shall return immediately to Ireland," said Sir Charles, "and endeavor
to forget I have ever seen her. She has made me indeed experience all
the fervency of love, and bitterness of disappointment. What I felt for
her, I think I shall never again feel for any woman.

  "----I'll lock up all the gates of love,
   And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang,
   To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm,
   And never more shall it be gracious."

Sir Charles Bingley and Colonel Belgrave, in early life, had contracted
a friendship for each other which time had strengthened in one, but
reduced to a mere shadow in the other. On meeting the colonel
unexpectedly in town, Sir Charles had informed him of his intentions
relative to Amanda. His heart throbbed at the mention of her name. He
had long endeavored to discover her. Pride, love, and revenge, were all
concerned in the accomplishment of his designs, which disappointment had
only stimulated. He was one of those determined characters which never
relinquish a purpose, "though heaven and earth that purpose crossed."
The confidence Sir Charles reposed in him, joined to his warm and
unsuspicious temper, convinced him he would be credulous enough to
believe any imputation he should cast on Amanda. He therefore lost no
time in contriving this execrable scheme, without the smallest
compunction, for destroying the reputation of an innocent girl, or
injuring the happiness of an amiable man.

Removed from the protection of her father, he believed his destined
victim could not escape the snare he should spread for her; and as a
means of expediting his success, under the appearance of feeling, urged
Sir Charles's return to Ireland.

The easy credit which Sir Charles gave to the vile allegations of
Belgrave, cannot be wondered at, when his long intimacy and total
ignorance of his real character are considered. He knew Belgrave to be a
gay man, but he never imagined him to be a hardened libertine. Besides,
he never could have supposed any man would have been so audacious, or
sufficiently base, as to make such an assertion as Belgrave had done
against Amanda, without truth for his support.

The errors of his friend, though the source of unspeakable anguish to
him, were more pitied than condemned, as he rather believed they
proceeded from the impetuosity of passion, than the deliberation of
design, and that they were long since sincerely repented of.

Amanda could not be forgotten; the hold she had on his heart could not
easily be shaken off; and like the recording angel, he was often tempted
to drop a tear over her faults, and obliterate them forever from his
memory. This, however, was considered the mere suggestion of weakness,
and he ordered immediate preparations to be made for his return to
Ireland.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

  "Oh how this tyrant doubt torments my breast!
   My thoughts, like birds, who frighted from their rest,
   Around the place where all was hushed before,
   Flutter, and hardly settle any more."--OTWAY.


Lord Mortimer, distressed by the indisposition of Amanda, hastened, at
an earlier hour than usual (for his morning visits), to Portman Square,
and was ushered into Lady Euphrasia's dressing-room, where she and Miss
Malcolm, who had continued with her the preceding night, were sitting
_tete-à-tete_ at breakfast. His lordship was a welcome visitor, but it
was soon obvious on whose account he had made his appearance, for
scarcely were the usual compliments over, ere he inquired about Miss
Fitzalan.

Lady Euphrasia said she was still unwell, and had not yet left her
apartment. "She has not recovered her surprise of last night," exclaimed
Miss Malcolm, with a malicious smile. "What surprise?" asked his
lordship. "Dear me," replied Miss Malcolm, "was not your lordship
present at the time she met Colonel Belgrave?" "No," said Lord Mortimer,
changing color, "I was not present. But what has Colonel Belgrave to say
to Miss Fitzalan?" asked he, in an agitated voice. "That is a question
your lordship must put to the young lady herself," answered Miss
Malcolm. "Now, I declare," cried Lady Euphrasia, addressing her friend,
"'tis very probable her illness did not proceed from seeing Colonel
Belgrave--you know she never mentioned being acquainted with him, though
her father was his tenant in Devonshire."

Lord Mortimer grew more disturbed, and rose abruptly.

Lady Euphrasia mentioned their intention of going that evening to the
play, and invited him to be of the party. He accepted her invitation,
and retired.

His visible distress was a source of infinite mirth to the young ladies,
which they indulged the moment he quitted the room. The circumstance
relative to Belgrave, the marchioness had informed them of, as she and
Lady Greystock were near Amanda when she met him.

Lord Mortimer was unhappy. The mind which has once harbored suspicion
will, from the most trivial circumstance, be tempted again to give
admission to the unpleasing guest--nor was it a trivial circumstance
which discomposed the too susceptible heart of Mortimer. The sudden
illness of Amanda, her extraordinary agitation, her eagerness to quit
the room, the close, though silent attendance of Belgrave--all these, I
say, when recalled to recollection, gave an air of probability to Miss
Malcolm's insinuation, that her disorder was occasioned by seeing him.
From residing more constantly in England than Sir Charles Bingley had
done, he had had more opportunities of learning Belgrave's real
character, which he knew to be that of a professed libertine. It was
strange, he thought, that when Amanda informed him she once resided in
Devonshire, she should conceal her father being the colonel's tenant. He
began to think her reluctance to a clandestine and immediate marriage
might have proceeded from some secret attachment, and not from the
strict adherence to filial duty, which had exalted her so much in his
opinion.

Yet the idea was scarcely formed, ere he endeavored to suppress it. He
started, as if from an uneasy dream, and wondered how he could have
conceived this, or any other idea, injurious to Amanda. He felt a degree
of remorse at having allowed her, for a moment, to be lessened in his
opinion--her tenderness, her purity, he said to himself, could not be
feigned; no, she was a treasure greater than he deserved to possess; nor
would he, like a wayward son of error, fling away the happiness he had
so long desired to obtain.

The calm this resolution produced was but transient. Doubts had been
raised, and doubt could not be banished; he was inclined to think them
unjust, yet had not power to dispel them. Vainly he applied to the ideas
which had heretofore been such consolatory resources of comfort to
him--namely, that his father would consent to his union with Amanda,
through the interference of his aunt, and the felicity he should enjoy
in that union. An unusual heaviness clung to his heart, which, like a
gloomy sky, cast a shade of sadness over every prospect. Thoughtful and
pensive he reached home, just as Sir Charles Bingley was entering the
door, who informed him he had just received a note from Lord Cherbury,
desiring his immediate presence.

Lord Mortimer attended him to the earl, who acquainted him, that he had
received a letter from Mr. Fitzalan, in which he expressed a warm sense
of the honor Sir Charles did his family, by addressing Miss Fitzalan;
and that to have her united to a character so truly estimable, would
give him the truest happiness, from the conviction that hers would be
secured by such a union. "He has written to his daughter expressing his
sentiments," continued Lord Cherbury. "I have therefore no doubt, Sir
Charles, but that everything will succeed as you wish." "I am sorry, my
lord," cried Sir Charles, with an agitated voice, and a cheek flushed
with emotion, "that I ever troubled your lordship in this affair, as I
have now, and forever, relinquished all ideas of a union with Miss
Fitzalan." "The resolution is really somewhat extraordinary and sudden,"
replied the earl, "after the conversation which so lately passed between
us." "Adopted, however, my lord, from a thorough conviction that
happiness could never be attained in a union with that young lady." Sir
Charles's tenderness for Amanda was still undiminished; he wished to
preserve her from censure, and thus proceeded: "Your lordship must allow
I could have little chance of happiness in allying myself to a woman who
has resolutely and uniformly treated me with indifference. Passion
blinded my reason when I addressed your lordship relative to Miss
Fitzalan; but its mists are now dispersed, and sober reflection obliges
me to relinquish a scheme, whose accomplishment could not possibly give
me satisfaction." "You are certainly the best judge of your own actions,
Sir Charles," replied the earl. "My acting in the affair proceeded from
a wish to serve you, as well as from my friendship for Captain Fitzalan.
I must suppose your conduct will never disparage your own honor, or cast
a slight upon Miss Fitzalan." "That, my lord, you may be assured of,"
said Sir Charles, with some warmth; "my actions and their motives have
hitherto, and will ever, I trust, bear the strictest investigation. I
cannot retire without thanking your lordship for the interest you took
in my favor. Had things succeeded as I then hoped and expected, I cannot
deny but I should have been much happier than I am at present." He then
bowed and retired.

Lord Mortimer had listened with astonishment to Sir Charles's
relinquishment of Amanda. Like his father, he thought it a sudden and
extraordinary resolution. He was before jealous of Amanda's love; he was
now jealous of her honor. The agitation of Sir Charles seemed to imply
even a cause more powerful than her coldness for resigning her. He
recollected that the baronet and the colonel were intimate friends.
Distracted by apprehensions, he rushed out of the house, and overtook
Sir Charles ere he had quitted the square.

"Why, Bingley," cried he, with affected gayety, "I thought you too
valiant a knight to be easily overcome by despair; and that without
first trying every effort to win her favor, you never would give up a
fair lady you had set your heart on." "I leave such efforts for your
lordship," replied Sir Charles, "or those who have equal patience." "But
seriously, Bingley, I think this sudden resignation of Miss Fitzalan
somewhat strange. Why, last night I could have sworn you were as much
attached to her as ever. From Lord Cherbury's friendship for Captain
Fitzalan, I think her, in some degree, under his protection and mine.
And as the particularity of your attention attracted observation, I
think your abruptly withdrawing them requires explanation." "As Lord
Cherbury was the person I applied to relative to Miss Fitzalan,"
exclaimed Sir Charles, "and as he was satisfied with the motive I
assigned for my conduct, be assured, my lord, I shall never give another
to you." "Your words," retorted Lord Mortimer, with warmth, "imply that
there was another motive for your conduct than the one you avowed. What
horrid inference may not be drawn from such an insinuation? Oh! Sir
Charles! reputation is a fragile flower, which the slightest breath may
injure." "My lord, if Miss Fitzalan's reputation is never injured but by
my means, it will ever continue unsullied."

"I cannot, indeed," resumed Lord Mortimer, "style myself her guardian,
but I consider myself her friend: and from the feelings of friendship,
shall ever evince my interest in her welfare, and resent any conduct
which can possibly render her an object of censure to any being." "Allow
me to ask your lordship one question," cried Sir Charles, "and promise,
on your honor, to answer it." "I do promise," said Lord Mortimer. "Then,
my lord, did you ever really wish I should succeeded with Miss
Fitzalan?"

Lord Mortimer colored. "You expect, Sir Charles, I shall answer you on
my honor? Then, really, I never did." "Your passions and mine,"
continued Sir Charles, "are impetuous. We had better check them in time,
lest they lead us to lengths we may hereafter repent of. Of Miss
Fitzalan's fame, be assured, no man can be more tenacious than I should.
I love her with the truest ardor. Her acceptance of my proposals would
have given me felicity. My suddenly withdrawing them can never injure
her, when I declare my motive for so doing was her indifference. Lord
Cherbury is satisfied with the reason I have assigned for resigning her.
He is conscious that no man of sensibility could experience happiness
with a woman in whose heart he had no interest. This, I suppose, your
lordship will also allow." "Certainly," replied Lord Mortimer. "Then,
it strikes me, my lord, that it is your conduct, not mine, which has a
tendency to injure Miss Fitzalan. That it is your words, not mine, which
convey an insinuation against her. You really appear as if conscious
some other cause existed, which would have made me relinquish her,
without the one I have already assigned for doing so."

Lord Mortimer was instantly convicted of the justice of what Sir Charles
said. He began to fear his warmth would really prove prejudicial to
Amanda, betray the doubts that had obtruded on his mind, and communicate
them to those who might not be equally influenced by tenderness and
delicacy to conceal them.

"You are right, Sir Charles," said he, "in what you have said; passion,
like a bad advocate, hurts the cause in which it is engaged. From my
knowledge of your character, I should have been convinced your honor
would have prevented any improper conduct. You are going to Ireland.
Permit me, Sir Charles, to offer you my best wishes for your future
happiness."

Sir Charles took Lord Mortimer's extended hand. He respected and
esteemed his lordship, and a mutual interchange of good wishes took
place between them, as this was the last interview they expected for a
long time.

The indisposition of Amanda was more of the mental than the bodily kind,
and on the first intimation of a party to the play she agreed to join
it, in hopes the amusement would remove her dejection. Her father's
letter, relative to Sir Charles Bingley, had given her some uneasiness;
but as he left her free to act, she contented herself with using the
negative he allowed her, by a solemn resolution of never acting contrary
to his inclinations, and answered his letter to this purpose.

Lord Mortimer and Freelove attended the ladies in the evening to the
play. His lordship found an opportunity of tenderly inquiring after
Amanda's health. When they were seated in the house he perceived a lady
in another box to whom he wished to speak, and accordingly left his
party. This lady offered him a seat by herself, which he accepted. She
was a stranger to Amanda, young and extremely beautiful. Amanda,
however, had none of that foolish weakness which could make her dread a
rival in every new face, or feel uneasiness at Lord Mortimer's attention
to any woman but herself. Assured that his affections for her were
founded on the basis of esteem, and that she should retain them while
worthy of esteem, she could, without being discomposed by the agreeable
conversation he appeared to be enjoying, fix her attention on the stage;
so entirely, indeed, that she observed not from time to time, the
glances Lord Mortimer directed towards her. Not so his fair companion.
She noticed the wanderings of his eyes, and her own involuntarily
pursued their course. She was speaking at the moment, but suddenly
stopped, and Lord Mortimer saw her change color. He turned pale himself,
and in a faltering voice, asked her, "if she knew the lady she had been
long looking at?" "Know her?" replied she; "oh, heavens! but too well."

Lord Mortimer trembled universally, and was compelled to have recourse
to his handkerchief to hide his emotion.

It was by Adela, the lovely and neglected wife of Belgrave, he was
sitting. She had been a short time in London, and her acquaintance with
Lord Mortimer commenced at a ball, where she had danced with him. He was
not one of those kind of men who, when in love, had neither eyes nor
ears but for the object of that love. He could see perfections in other
women besides his Amanda, and was particularly pleased with Mrs.
Belgrave. He instantly perceived that she knew Amanda; also, that that
knowledge was attended with pain. The well-known profligacy of her
husband intruded on his memory, and he shuddered at the dreadful
thoughts which arose in his mind.

Curiosity had directed the eyes of Adela to Amanda, but admiration, and
an idea of having somewhere seen her face, riveted them upon her; at
last the picture Oscar Fitzalan had shown occurred to her recollection,
and she was immediately convinced it was no other than the original of
that picture she now saw. Shocked at the sight of a person who, as she
thought had stepped (though innocently) between her and felicity, and
distressed by the emotions which past scenes, thus recalled, gave rise
to, she entreated Lord Mortimer to conduct her from the box, that she
might return home.

He complied with her request, but stopped in the lobby, and entreated
her to tell him "where she had known the lady she had so attentively
regarded." Adela blushed, and would, if possible, have evaded the
question; but the earnestness of his lordship's manner compelled her to
answer it. She said "she had no personal knowledge of the lady, but
recollected her face, from having seen her picture with a gentleman."
"And who was the gentleman?" asked Lord Mortimer, with a forced smile
and a faltering voice. "That," replied Adela, with involuntary
quickness, "I will not tell." "I should apologize, indeed," cried Lord
Mortimer, recollecting himself, "for a curiosity which may appear
impertinent." He led her to a chair, and deliberated whether he should
not follow her example in quitting the house.

Miss Malcolm had first made him uneasy: uneasiness introduced doubts
which Sir Charles Bingley had increased, and Mrs. Belgrave almost
confirmed. He dreaded a horrid confirmation of his fears; the picture,
like Othello's handkerchief, was a source of unspeakable anguish. The
agitation that Mrs. Belgrave had betrayed on mentioning it, joined to
her concealment of the gentleman she had seen it with, tempted him to
believe he was no other than her husband.

Yet, that he might not be accused of yielding rashly to jealousy, he
resolved to confine his suspicions, like his pangs, to his own bosom,
except assured they were well founded. A little time he supposed, would
determine the opinion he should form of Amanda. If he found she
encouraged Belgrave, he resolved to leave her without any explanation;
if, on the contrary, he saw that she avoided him, he meant to mention
the circumstance of the picture to her, yet so as not to hurt her
feelings, and be regulated by her answer relative to his future conduct.
He returned, at last, to the box, and procured a seat behind her. He had
not occupied it long ere Colonel Belgrave (who, from a retired part of
the house where he sat with some female friends, had observed Amanda)
entered the next box, and made his way to the pillar against which she
leaned. He endeavored to catch her eyes, but the noise he made on
entering put her on her guard, and she instantly averted her face. Her
embarrassment was visible to her party, and they all, Lord Mortimer
excepted, enjoyed it. Scarcely could he refrain from chastising the
audacity of Belgrave's looks, who continued to gaze on Amanda, though he
could not see her face. Nothing but the discovery which such a step
would produce could have prevented his lordship, in his irritable state
of mind, from chastising what he deemed the height of insolence.

At last the hour came for relieving Amanda from a situation extremely
painful to her. As Lord Mortimer sat next the marchioness, he was
compelled to offer her his hand. Freelove led Lady Euphrasia; Lady
Greystock and Miss Malcolm followed her, and Amanda was the last who
quitted the box. A crowd in the lobby impeded their progress. Amanda was
close behind the marchioness, when Belgrave forced his way to her, and
attempted to take her hand at the very moment Lord Mortimer turned to
look at her, who heard him say, "Dear, though unkind, Amanda, why this
cruel change in your conduct?"

The eyes of Mortimer flashed fire. "Miss Fitzalan," said he, in a voice
trembling through passion, "if you will accept my arm, I will make way
for you, or at least secure you from impertinence." Amanda, though
trembling and confounded by his looks, hesitated not to accept his
offer. Belgrave knew his words alluded to him. At present, however, he
resolved not to resent them, convinced, that if he did, his views on
Amanda would be defeated. From that moment her beauty was not more
powerful in stimulating his designs than his desire of revenge on Lord
Mortimer. He saw he was fondly attached to Amanda, and he believed his
proud heart would feel no event so afflictive as that which should
deprive him of her.

Lord Mortimer handed Amanda in silence to the carriage; he was pressed
to return to supper, but refused. The ladies found the marquis and Lord
Cherbury together. Amanda retired to her chamber immediately after
supper; the presence of Belgrave had increased the dejection which she
hoped the amusements of the theatre would have dissipated; she now
indeed longed for the period when she should be entitled to the
protection of Lord Mortimer; when she should no longer dread the
audacity or stratagems of Belgrave. Lord Cherbury, on her retiring,
expressed his regret at her coldness to Sir Charles Bingley, by which
she had lost a most honorable and advantageous attachment.

This was an opportunity not to be neglected by the marchioness, for
commencing her operations against Fitzalan. A glance to Lady Greystock
was the signal to begin.

"To those," said Lady Greystock, "who are ignorant of Miss Fitzalan's
real motives for refusing Sir Charles, it must appear, no doubt,
extraordinary; but ambitious people are not easily satisfied; indeed, I
cannot blame her so much for entertaining aspiring notions as those who
instilled them into her mind."

Lord Cherbury stared, and requested an explanation of her words.

"Why, I declare, my lord," cried she, "I do not know but that it will be
more friendly to explain than conceal my meaning. When once informed of
the young lady's views, your lordship may be able to convince her of
that fallacy, and prevail on her not to lose another good opportunity of
settling herself in consequence of them; in short, my lord, Miss
Fitzalan, prompted by her father, has cast her eyes on Lord Mortimer.
Presuming on your friendship, he thought a union between them might
easily be accomplished. I do not believe Lord Mortimer, at first, gave
any encouragement to their designs; but when the girl was continually
thrown in his way, it was impossible not to notice her at last. I really
expressed a thorough disapprobation to her coming to London, knowing
their motives for desiring the excursion, but her father never ceased
persecuting me till I consented to take her under my protection." "Upon
my word," cried the marquis, who was not of the ladies' privy council,
though if he had it is probable he would not have objected to their
schemes, "Captain Fitzalan must have had some such motive as this Lady
Greystock has mentioned for sending his daughter to London, or else he
would not have been so ridiculous as to put himself at the expense of
fitting her out for company she has no right to enter." "I never
thought," exclaimed Lord Cherbury, whose mind was irritated to the most
violent degree of resentment against his injured friend, "that Captain
Fitzalan could have acted with such duplicity. He knew the views I
entertained for my son, and there is a mean treachery in his attempting
to counteract them." "Nay, my lord," said Lady Greystock, "you are a
father yourself, and must make allowances for the anxiety of a parent to
establish a child." "No, madam," he replied; "I can make no allowance
for a deviation from integrity, or for a sacrifice of honor and
gratitude at the shrine of interest. The subject has discomposed me, and
I must beg to be excused for abruptly retiring; nothing, indeed, I
believe, can wound one so severely as deceit, where one reposed implicit
confidence."

The ladies were enraptured at the success of their scheme. The passion
of Lord Cherbury could scarcely be smothered in their presence. On the
head of Fitzalan they knew it would burst with full violence. They did
not mention Belgrave; relative to him they resolved to affect profound
ignorance.

The passions of Lord Cherbury were impetuous. He had, as I have already
hinted, secret motives for desiring a connection between his family and
the marquis's; and the idea of that desire being defeated drove him
almost to distraction. He knew his son's passions, though not so easily
irritated as his own were, when once irritated, equally violent. To
remonstrate with him concerning Miss Fitzalan, he believed, would be
unavailing; he therefore resolved, if possible, to have her removed out
of his way ere he apprised him of the discovery he had made of his
attachment. He entertained not a doubt of Lady Greystock's veracity;
from his general knowledge of mankind, he believed self the predominant
consideration in every breast. His feelings were too violent not to seek
an immediate vent, and ere he went to bed, he wrote a bitter and
reproachful letter to Fitzalan, which concluded with an entreaty, or
rather a command, to send without delay for his daughter. A dreadful
stroke this for poor Fitzalan.

  "After all his wanderings round this world of care
   And all his griefs,"

He hoped he had at last found a spot where his latter days might close
in tranquillity.

The innocent Amanda was received the next morning with smiles by those
who were preparing a plot for her destruction.

Whilst at breakfast, a servant informed Lady Greystock a young woman
wanted to speak to her. "Who is she?" asked her ladyship; "did she not
send up her name?" "No, my lady; but she said she had particular
business with your ladyship."

The marchioness directed she might be shown up; and a girl about
seventeen was accordingly ushered into the room. Her figure was
delicate, and her face interesting not only from its innocence, but the
strong expression of melancholy diffused over it. She appeared trembling
with confusion and timidity, and the poverty of her apparel implied the
source of her dejection.

"So, child," said Lady Greystock, after surveying her from head to foot,
"I am told you have business with me." "Yes, madam," replied she, in an
accent so low as scarcely to be heard; "my father, Captain Rushbrook,
desired me to deliver a letter to your ladyship."

She presented it, and endeavored to screen herself from the scrutinizing
and contemptuous glances of Lady Euphrasia by pulling her hat over her
face.

"I wonder, child," said Lady Greystock, as she opened the letter, "what
your father can write to me about. I don't suppose it can be about the
affair he mentioned the other day. Why, really," continued she, after
she had perused it, "I believe he takes me for a fool. I am astonished,
after his insolent conduct, how he can possibly have the assurance to
make application to me for relief. No, no, child, he neglected the
opportunity he had of securing me his friend. 'Twould really be a sin to
give him the power of bringing up his family in idleness. No, no,
child, he must learn you and the other little dainty misses he has, to
do something for yourselves."

The poor girl blushed; a tear trembled in her eye; she tried to suppress
it, but it forced its way, and dropped into her bosom. Amanda,
inexpressibly shocked, could support the scene no longer. She retired
precipitately, and descended to the parlor. Sympathy, as well as
compassion, made her feel for this daughter of affliction, for she
herself knew what it was to feel the "insolence of prosperity, the proud
man's scorn, and all those ills which patient merit of the unworthy
takes."

In a few minutes Miss Rushbrook quitted the drawing-room, and stopped in
the hall to wipe away her tears. Amanda had been watching for her, and
now appeared. She started, and was hurrying away, when Amanda caught her
hand, and leading her softly into the parlor, endeavored, with angelic
sweetness, to calm her emotion. Surprised at this unexpected attention,
and overcome by her feelings, the poor girl sunk on her chair, and
dropping her head on Amanda's bosom, wet it with a shower of tears, as
she exclaimed: "Alas! my unfortunate parents, how can I return to behold
your misery? The grave is the only refuge for you and your wretched
children!" "You must not encourage such desponding thoughts," said
Amanda. "Providence, all bounteous and all powerful, is able in a short
time to change the gloomiest scene into one of brightness. Tell me," she
continued, after a pause, "where do you reside?" "At Kensington."
"Kensington!" repeated Amanda. "Surely, in your present situation, you
are unable to take such a walk." "I must attempt it, however," replied
Miss Rushbrook.

Amanda walked from her to the window, revolving a scheme which had just
darted into her mind, "If you know any house," said she, "where you
could stay for a short time, I would call on you in a carriage, and
leave you at home."

This offer was truly pleasing to the poor weak trembling girl, but she
modestly declined it, from the fear of giving trouble. Amanda besought
her not to waste time in such unnecessary scruples, but to give her the
desired information. She accordingly informed her there was a
haberdasher's in Bond Street, mentioning the name, where she could stay
till called for.

This point settled, Amanda, fearful of being surprised, conducted her
softly to the hall-door, and immediately returned to the drawing-room,
where she found Lady Euphrasia just beginning Rushbrook's letter, for
her mother's amusement. Its style evidently denoted the painful
conflicts there were between pride and distress, ere the former could be
sufficiently subdued, to allow an application for relief to the person
who occasioned the latter. The sight of a tender and beloved wife,
languishing in the arms of sickness, and surrounded by a family, under
the pressure of the severest want, had forced him to a step, which, on
his own account, no necessity could have compelled him to take. He and
his family, he said, had drank of the cup of misery to the very dregs.
He waived the claims of justice; he only asserted those of humanity, in
his present application to her ladyship; and these, he flattered
himself, she would allow. He had sent a young petitioner in his behalf,
whose tearful eye, whose faded cheek, were sad evidences of the misery
he described.

The marchioness declared she was astonished at his insolence in making
such an application, and Lady Euphrasia protested the letter was the
most ridiculous stuff she had ever read.

Amanda, in this, as well as in many other instances, differed from her
ladyship; but her opinion, like a little project she had in view about
the Rushbrooks, was carefully concealed.

Out of the allowance her father made her for clothes and other expenses
about ten guineas remained, which she had intended laying out in the
purchase of some ornaments for her appearance at a ball, to be given in
the course of the ensuing week by the Duchess of B----, and, for which,
at the time of invitation, Lord Mortimer had engaged her for his
partner. To give up going to this ball, to consecrate to charity the
money devoted to vanity, was her project; and most fortunate did she
deem the application of Rushbrook, ere her purchase was made, and she
consequently prevented from giving her mite. Her soul revolted from the
inhumanity of the marchioness, her daughter, and Lady Greystock. Exempt
from the calamities of want themselves, they forgot the pity due to
those calamities in others. If this coldness, this obduracy, she cried,
within herself, is the effect of prosperity; if thus it closes the
avenues of benevolence and compassion, oh! never may the dangerous
visitor approach me--for ill should I think the glow of compassion and
sensibility exchanged for all its gaudy pleasures.

The ladies had mentioned their intention of going to an auction, where,
to use Lady Euphrasia's phrase, "they expected to see all the world."
Amanda excused herself from being of the party, saying, "she wanted to
make some purchases in the city." Her excuse was readily admitted, and
when they retired to their respective toilets, she sent for a coach, and
being prepared against it come, immediately stepped into it, and was
driven to Bond Street, where she found Miss Rushbrook, with trembling
anxiety, waiting her arrival.

On their way to Kensington, the tenderness of Amanda at once conciliated
the affection, and gained the entire confidence of her young companion.
She related the little history of her parents' sorrows. Her father, on
returning from America, with his wife and six children, had been advised
by Mr. Heathfield, the friend who had effected a reconciliation between
him and his uncle, to commence a suit against Lady Greystock, on the
presumption that the will, by which she enjoyed Sir Geoffry's fortune,
was illegally executed. He offered him his purse to carry on the suit,
and his house for an habitation. Rushbrook gratefully and gladly
accepted both offers, and having disposed of his commission, to
discharge some present demands against him, he and his family took up
their residence under Mr. Heathfield's hospitable roof. In the midst of
the felicity enjoyed beneath it, in the midst of the hopes their own
sanguine tempers, and the flattering suggestions of the lawyers had
excited, a violent fever carried off their benevolent friend, ere a will
was executed, in which he had promised largely to consider Rushbrook.
His heir, narrow and illiberal, had long feared that his interest would
be hurt by the affection he entertained for Rushbrook; and, as if in
revenge for the pain this fear had given, the moment he had the power he
showed his malignant disposition, sold all the furniture of the house at
Kensington, and as a great favor told Rushbrook, he might continue in it
till the expiration of the half year, when it was to be given up to the
landlord. The lawyers understanding the state of his finances, soon
informed him he could no longer expect their assistance. Thus, almost in
one moment, did all his pleasing prospects vanish, and,

  "Like the baseless fabric of a vision,
   Left not a rack behind."

As a duty he owed his family, he tried whether Lady Greystock would make
a compromise between justice and avarice, and afford him some means of
support. Her insolence and inhumanity shocked him to the soul; and as he
left her presence, he resolved never to enter it again, or to apply to
her. This last resolution, however, only continued till the distresses
of the family grew so great as to threaten their existence, particularly
that of his wife, who, overpowered by grief, had sunk into a languishing
illness, which every day increased for want of proper assistance.

In hopes of procuring her some, he was tempted again to apply to Lady
Greystock. The youth and innocence of his daughter would, he thought, if
anything could do it, soften her flinty heart. Besides, he believed that
pleasure, at finding his pretensions to the fortune entirely withdrawn,
would influence her to administer from it to his wants.

"We have," said Miss Rushbrook, as she concluded her simple narration,
"tried, and been disappointed in our last resource. What will become of
us, I know not; we have long been strangers to the comforts, but even
the necessaries of life we cannot now procure." "Comfort," cried Amanda,
"often arrives when least expected. To despair, is to doubt the goodness
of a Being who has promised to protect all his creatures."

The carriage had now reached Kensington, and within a few yards of
Rushbrook's habitation. Amanda stopped it. She took Miss Rushbrook's
hand, and as she slipped a ten-pound note into it, exclaimed: "I trust
the period is not far distant, when the friendship we have conceived for
each other may be cultivated under more fortunate auspices."

Miss Rushbrook opened the folded paper. She started, and "the hectic of
a moment flushed her cheek." "Oh! madam!" she cried, "your goodness--"
tears impeded her further utterance.

"Do not distress me," said Amanda, again taking her hand, "by mentioning
such a trifle; was my ability equal to my inclination, I should blush to
offer it to your acceptance. As it is, consider it as but the foretaste
of the bounty which heaven has, I doubt not, in store for you."

She then desired the door to be opened, and told her companion she would
no longer detain her. Miss Rushbrook affectionately kissed her hand, and
exclaimed, "You look like an angel, and your goodness is correspondent
to your looks. I will not, madam, refuse your bounty. I accept it with
gratitude, for those dearer to me than myself. But ah! may I not indulge
a hope of seeing you again. You are so kind, so gentle, madam, that
every care is lulled into forgetfulness whilst conversing with you."

"I shall certainly see you again as soon as possible," replied Amanda.

Miss Rushbrook then quitted the carriage, which Amanda ordered back to
town, and bid the coachman drive as fast as possible. They had not
proceeded far, when the traces suddenly gave way, and the man was
obliged to dismount, and procure assistance from a public-house on the
road, in repairing them. This occasioned a delay, which greatly
distressed Amanda. She wished to get home before the ladies, lest, if
this was not the case, her long absence should make Lady Greystock, who
was remarkably inquisitive, inquire the reason of it; and to tell her
she had a strong objection, convinced, as she was, that her ladyship's
knowing she relieved objects so extremely disagreeable to her, would
occasion a quarrel between them, which would either render a longer
residence together impossible or highly disagreeable. And to leave
London at the present crisis, when everything relative to Lord Mortimer
was drawing to a conclusion, was not to be thought of without the
greatest pain.

At length the coachman remounted his box, and the velocity with which he
drove, flattered her with the hope of reaching home as soon as she
wished. Tranquillized by this hope, she again indulged her imagination
with ideas of the comfort her little bounty had probably given Rushbrook
and his dejected family. So sweet to her soul was the secret approbation
which crowned her charity; so preferable to any pleasure she could have
experienced at a ball, that even the disappointment she believed Lord
Mortimer would feel from her declining it, was overlooked in the
satisfaction she felt from the action she had performed. She was
convinced he would inquire her reason for not going, which she
determined at present to conceal. It would appear like ostentation, she
thought, to say that the money requisite for her appearance at the ball
was expended in charity, and perhaps excite his generosity in a manner
which delicacy at present forbade her allowing.

She asked the footman who handed her from the carriage whether the
ladies were returned; and on being answered in the affirmative, inquired
the hour, and learned it was just dinner time. Flurried by this
intelligence she hastened to her chamber, followed by the maid appointed
to attend her, who said Lady Greystock had inquired for her as soon as
she came home. Amanda dressed herself with unusual expedition, and
repaired to the drawing-room, where, in addition to the family party,
she found Lord Mortimer, Freelove, Miss Malcolm, and some other ladies
and gentlemen assembled.

"Bless me, child," said Lady Greystock the moment she entered the room,
"where have you been the whole day?" "I declare, Miss Fitzalan,"
exclaimed Lady Euphrasia, "I believe you stole a march somewhere upon us
this morning." "Well," cried Miss Malcolm, laughing, "your ladyship
must know that people generally have some important reason for stolen
marches which they do not choose to divulge."

Amanda treated this malicious insinuation with the silent contempt it
merited; and on Lady Greystock's again asking her where she had been,
said, in a low hesitating voice, "in the city."

"In the city!" repeated Lord Mortimer.

This sudden exclamation startled her. She looked at him, and perceived
him regarding her with the most scrutinizing earnestness. She blushed
deeply, as if detected in a falsehood, and immediately bent her eyes to
the ground.

The conversation now changed, but it was sometime ere Amanda's confusion
subsided.

Lord Mortimer, indeed, had a reason for his exclamation she little
thought of. He had met the marchioness and her companions, by
appointment, at the auction, but soon grew weary of his situation, which
the presence of Amanda could alone have rendered tolerable. He pleaded
business as an excuse for withdrawing, and hurrying home, ordered his
phaeton, and proceeded towards Kensington. As he passed the coach in
which Amanda sat, at the time the traces were mending, he carelessly
looked into it, and directly recognized her. Lady Euphrasia had informed
him she excused herself from their party on account of some business in
the city. He never heard of her having any acquaintance in or about
Kensington, and was at once alarmed and surprised by discovering her. He
drove to some distance from the carriage, and as soon as it began to
move, pursued it with equal velocity till it reached town, and then
giving his phaeton in charge to the servant, followed it on foot, till
he saw Amanda alight from it at the Marquis of Roslin's. Amanda had
escaped seeing his lordship by a profound meditation in which she was
engaged at the moment, as she pensively leaned against the side of the
coach. Lord Mortimer walked back with increased disorder to meet his
phaeton. As he approached it, he saw Colonel Belgrave by it, on
horseback, admiring the horses, which were remarkably fine, and asking
to whom they belonged. His acquaintance with the colonel had hitherto
never exceeded more than a passing bow. Now prompted by an irresistible
impulse, he saluted him familiarly; inquired "whether he had had a
pleasant ride that morning, and how far he had been." "No farther than
Kensington," replied the colonel.

This answer was confirmation strong to all the fears of Lord Mortimer.
He turned pale, dropped the reins which he had taken, with an intention
of remounting, and, without even noticing the colonel, flew from the
place, and arrived at home almost in a state of distraction. He was
engaged to dine at the Marquis's, but in the first violence of his
feelings, resolved on sending an apology. Ere the servant, however,
summoned for that purpose had entered his apartment, he changed his
resolution. "I will go," said he: "though appearances are against her,
she may, perhaps," (and he tried to derive some comfort from the idea,)
"be able satisfactorily to account for her being at Kensington."

Tortured by conflicting passions, alternately hoping and doubting, he
arrived at Portman Square.

Lady Greystock and Lady Euphrasia dwelt with wonder on the length of
Amanda's morning excursion. When she entered the room, he thought she
appeared embarrassed; and that, on Lady Greystock's addressing her, this
embarrassment increased. But when she said she had been in the city, her
duplicity, as he termed it, appeared so monstrous to him, that he could
not forbear an involuntary repetition of her words. So great, indeed,
was the indignation it excited in his breast, that he could scarcely
forbear reproaching her as the destroyer of his and her own felicity.
Her blush appeared to him, not the ingenuous coloring of innocence, but
the glow of shame and guilt. It was evident to him that she had seen
Belgrave that morning; that he was the occasion of all the mystery which
had appeared in her conduct, and that it was the knowledge of the
improper influence he had over her heart which made Sir Charles Bingley
so suddenly resign her.

"Gracious Heaven!" said he to himself, "who, that looked upon Amanda,
could ever suppose duplicity harbored in her breast? Yet that too surely
it is, I have every reason to suppose. Yet a little longer I will bear a
torturing state of suspense, nor reveal my doubts till thoroughly
convinced they are well founded."

He sat opposite to her at dinner, and his eyes were directed towards her
with that tender sadness which we feel on viewing a beloved object we
know ourselves on the point of losing forever.

His melancholy was quickly perceived by the penetrating marchioness and
Lady Euphrasia. They saw, with delight, that the poison of suspicion,
infused into his mind, was already beginning to operate. They
anticipated the success of all their schemes. Their spirits grew
uncommonly elevated; and Lady Euphrasia determined, whenever she had the
power, to revenge, on the susceptible nature of Mortimer, all the
uneasiness he had made her suffer, and to add, as far as malice could
add to it, to the misery about to be the lot of Amanda.

The dejection of Lord Mortimer was also observed by Amanda. It excited
her fears and affected her sensibility. She dreaded that his aunt had
refused complying with his request relative to her interference with his
father, or that the earl had been urging him to an immediate union with
Lady Euphrasia. Perhaps he now wavered between love and duty. The
thought struck a cold damp upon her heart. Yet no, cried she, it cannot
be; if inclined to change, Lord Mortimer would at once have informed me.

In the evening there was a large addition to the party; but Lord
Mortimer sat pensively apart from the company. Amanda, by chance,
procured a seat next his. His paleness alarmed her, and she could not
forbear hinting her fears that he was ill.

"I am ill, indeed," sighed he, heavily. He looked at her as he spoke,
and beheld her regarding him with the most exquisite tenderness. But the
period was past for receiving delight from such an appearance of
affection: an affection, he had reason to believe was never more than
feigned for him; and, also, from his emotions when with her, that he
should never cease regretting the deception. His passions, exhausted by
their own violence, had sunk into a calm, and sadness was the
predominant feeling of his soul. Though he so bitterly lamented, he
could not, at the moment, have reproached her perfidy. He gazed on her
with mournful tenderness, and to the involuntary expression of regret,
which dropped from her on hearing he was ill, only replied, by saying,
"Ah! Amanda, the man that really excites your tenderness must be happy."

Amanda, unconscious that any sinister meaning lurked beneath these
words, considered them as an acknowledgment of the happiness he himself
experienced from being convinced of her regard, and her heart swelled
with pleasure at the idea.

Any further conversation between them was interrupted by Miss Malcolm,
who, in a laughing manner, seated herself by Lord Mortimer, to rally
him, as she said, into good spirits.



CHAPTER XXIX.

                 "But yet I say,
  If imputation and strong circumstances,
  Which lead directly to the door of truth,
  Will give you satisfaction, you may have it."--SHAKSPEARE.


From that evening, to the day destined for the ball, nothing material
happened. On the morning of that day, as Amanda was sitting in the
drawing-room with the ladies, Lord Mortimer entered. Lady Euphrasia
could talk of nothing else but the approaching entertainment, which, she
said, was expected to be the most brilliant thing that had been given
that winter.

"I hope your ladyship," said Amanda, who had not yet declared her
intention of staying at home, "will be able to-morrow to give me a good
description of it." "Why, I suppose," cried Lady Euphrasia, "you do not
intend going without being able to see and hear yourself?" "Certainly,"
replied Amanda, "I should not, but I do not intend going." "Not going to
the ball to-night?" exclaimed Lady Euphrasia. "Bless me child," said
Lady Greystock, "what whim has entered your head to prevent your going?"
"Dear Lady Greystock," said Lady Euphrasia, in a tone of unusual
good-humor, internally delighted at Amanda's resolution, "don't tease
Miss Fitzalan with questions." "And you really do not go?" exclaimed
Lord Mortimer, in an accent expressive of surprise and disappointment.
"I really do not, my lord." "I declare," said the marchioness, even more
delighted than her daughter at Amanda's resolution, as it favored a
scheme she had long been projecting, "I wish Euphrasia was as
indifferent about amusement as Miss Fitzalan: here she has been
complaining of indisposition the whole morning, yet I cannot prevail on
her to give up the ball."

Lady Euphrasia, who never felt in better health and spirits, would have
contradicted the marchioness, had not an expressive glance assured her
there was an important motive for this assertion.

"May we not hope, Miss Fitzalan," said Lord Mortimer, "that a resolution
so suddenly adopted as yours may be as suddenly changed?" "No, indeed,
my lord, nor is it so suddenly formed as you seem to suppose."

Lord Mortimer shuddered as he endeavored to account for it in his own
mind; his agony became almost insupportable; he arose and walked to the
window where she sat.

"Amanda," said he, in a low voice, "I fear you forget your engagement to
me."

Amanda, supposing this alluded to her engagement for the ball, replied,
"she had not forgotten it." "For your inability or disinclination to
fulfil it, then," said he, "will you not account?" "Most willingly, my
lord." "When?" asked Lord Mortimer, impatiently, for, unable longer to
support his torturing suspense, he determined, contrary to his first
intention, to come to an immediate explanation relative to Belgrave.
"To-morrow, my lord," replied Amanda, "since you desire it, I will
account for not keeping my engagement, and I trust," a modest blush
mantling her cheeks as she spoke, "that your lordship will not
disapprove of my reasons for declining it."

The peculiar earnestness of his words, Lord Mortimer imagined, had
conveyed their real meaning to Amanda.

"Till to-morrow, then," sighed he, heavily, "I must bear disquietude."

His regret, Amanda supposed, proceeded from disappointment at not having
her company at the ball: she was flattered by it, and pleased at the
idea of telling him her real motive for not going, certain it would meet
his approbation, and open another source of benevolence to poor
Rushbrook.

In the evening, at Lady Euphrasia's particular request, she attended at
her toilet, and assisted in ornamenting her ladyship. At ten she saw the
party depart, without the smallest regret for not accompanying them:
happy in self-approbation, a delightful calm was diffused over her mind:
a treacherous calm, indeed, which, lulling her senses into security,
made the approaching storm burst with redoubled violence on her head; it
was such a calm as Shakspeare beautifully describes:--

  "We often see against some storm
   A silence in the heavens; the rack stand still,
   The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
   As hush as death."

She continued in Lady Euphrasia's dressing-room, and took up the
beautiful and affecting story of Paul and Mary, to amuse herself. Her
whole attention was soon engrossed by it; and, with the unfortunate
Paul, she was shedding a deluge of tears over the fate of his lovely
Mary, when a sudden noise made her hastily turn her head, and with equal
horror and surprise, she beheld Colonel Belgrave coming forward. She
started up, and was springing to the door, when, rushing between her and
it, he caught her in his arms, and forcing her back to the sofa, rudely
stopped her mouth.

"Neither cries or struggles, Amanda," said he, "will be availing;
without the assistance of a friend, you may be convinced, I could not
have entered this house, and the same friend will, you may depend on it,
take care that our _tete-à-tete_ is not interrupted."

Amanda shuddered at the idea of treachery; and being convinced, from
what he said, she could not expect assistance, endeavored to recover her
fainting spirits, and exert all her resolution.

"Your scheme, Colonel Belgrave," said she, "is equally vile and futile.
Though treachery may have brought you hither, you must be convinced
that, under the Marquis of Roslin's roof, who, by relationship, as well
as hospitality, is bound to protect me, you dare not, with impunity,
offer me any insult. The marquis will be at home immediately; if,
therefore, you wish to preserve the semblance of honor, retire without
further delay." "Not to retire so easily," exclaimed Belgrave, "did I
take such pains, or watch so anxiously for this interview. Fear not any
insult; but, till I have revealed the purpose of my soul, I will not be
forced from you. My love, or rather adoration, has known no abatement by
your long concealment; and now that chance has so happily thrown you in
my way, I will not neglect using any opportunity it may offer."
"Gracious heaven!" said Amanda, while her eyes flashed with indignation,
"how can you have the effrontery to avow your insolent
intentions--intentions which long since you must have known would ever
prove abortive?" "And why, my Amanda," said he, again attempting to
strain her to his breast, while she shrunk from his grasp, "why should
they prove abortive? why should you be obstinate in refusing wealth,
happiness, the sincere, the ardent affection of a man, who, in promoting
your felicity, would constitute his own? My life, my fortune, would be
at your command; my eternal gratitude would be yours for any trifling
sacrifice the world might think you made me. Hesitate no longer about
raising yourself to affluence, which, to a benevolent spirit like yours,
must be so peculiarly pleasing. Hesitate not to secure independence to
your father, promotion to your brother; and, be assured, if the
connection I formed in an ill-fated hour, deceived by a specious
appearance of perfection, should ever be dissolved, my hand, like my
heart, shall be yours." "Monster!" exclaimed Amanda, beholding him with
horror, "your hand, was it at your disposal, like your other offers, I
should spurn with contempt. Cease to torment me," she continued, "lest,
in my own defence, I call upon those who have power, as well as
inclination, to chastise your insolence. Let this consideration, joined
to the certainty that your pursuit must ever prove unavailing, influence
your future actions; for, be assured, you are in every respect an object
of abhorrence to my soul."

As she spoke, exerting all her strength, she burst from him, and
attempted to gain the door. He flung himself between her and it, his
face inflamed with passion, and darting the most malignant glances at
her.

Terrified by his looks, Amanda tried to avoid him; and when he caught
her again in his arms, she screamed aloud. No one appeared; her terror
increased.

"Oh, Belgrave!" cried she, trembling, "if you have one principle of
honor, one feeling of humanity remaining, retire. I will pardon and
conceal what is past, if you comply with my request." "I distress you,
Amanda," said he, assuming a softened accent, "and it wounds me to the
soul to do so, though you, cruel and inexorable, care not what pain you
occasion me. Hear me calmly, and be assured I shall attempt no action
which can offend you."

He led her again to the sofa, and thus continued:--

"Misled by false views, you shun and detest the only man who has had
sufficient sincerity to declare openly his intentions; inexperience and
credulity have already made you a dupe to artifice. You imagined Sir
Charles Bingley was a fervent admirer of yours, when, be assured, in
following you he only obeyed the dictates of an egregious vanity, which
flattered him with the hope of gaining your regard, and being
distinguished by it. Nothing was farther from his thoughts, as he
himself confessed to me, than seriously paying his addresses to you; and
had you appeared willing, at last, to accept them, be assured he would
soon have contrived some scheme to disengage himself from you. The
attentions of Lord Mortimer are prompted by a motive much more dangerous
than that which instigated Sir Charles. He really admires you, and would
have you believe his views are honorable; but beware of his duplicity.
He seeks to take advantage of the too great confidence you repose in
him. His purpose once accomplished, he would sacrifice you to Lady
Euphrasia; and I know enough of her malevolent disposition to be
convinced she would enjoy her triumph over so lovely a victim. Ah, my
dear Amanda, even beauty and elegance like yours would not, on the
generality of mankind, have power to make them forego the advantages
annexed to wealth--on Lord Mortimer, particularly, they would fail of
that effect. His ambition and avarice are equal to his father's; and
though his heart and soul, I am confident, revolt from the mind and
person of Lady Euphrasia, he will unite himself to her, for the sake of
possessing her fortune, and thus increasing his own power of procuring
the gratifications he delights in. As my situation is known, I cannot be
accused of deception, and whatever I promise, will be strictly
fulfilled. Deliberate therefore no longer, my Amanda, on the course you
shall pursue." "No," cried she, "I shall, indeed, no longer deliberate
about it."

As she spoke she started from her seat. Belgrave again seized her hand.
At this moment a knocking was heard at the hall door, which echoed
through the house. Amanda trembled, and Belgrave paused in a speech he
had begun. She supposed the marquis had returned. It was improbable he
would come to that room; and even if he did, from his distrustful and
malignant temper, she knew not whether she should have reason to rejoice
at or regret his presence. But how great was her confusion when, instead
of his voice, she heard those of the marchioness and her party! In a
moment the dreadful consequences which might ensue from her present
situation rushed upon her mind. By the forced attentions of the
marchioness and Lady Euphrasia, she was not long deceived, and had
reason to believe, from the inveterate dislike they bore her, that they
would rejoice at an opportunity like the present for traducing her fame;
and with horror she saw that appearances, even in the eyes of candor,
would be against her. She had positively, and unexpectedly, refused
going to the ball. She had expressed delight at the idea of staying at
home. Alas! would not all these circumstances be dwelt upon? What ideas
might they not excite in Lord Mortimer, who already showed a tendency to
jealousy? Half wild at the idea, she clasped her hands together and
exclaimed, in a voice trembling with anguish, "Merciful heaven, I am
ruined forever!"

"No, no," cried Belgrave, flinging himself at her feet, "pardon me,
Amanda, and I never more will molest you. I see your principles are
invincible. I admire, I revere your purity, and never more will I
attempt to injure it. I was on the point of declaring so when that
cursed knock came to the door. Compose yourself, and consider what can
be done in the present emergency. You will be ruined if I am seen with
you. The malicious devils you live with would never believe our united
asseverations of your innocence. Conceal me, therefore, if possible,
till the family are settled; the person who let me in will then secure
my retreat, and I swear solemnly never more to trouble you."

Amanda hesitated between the confidence her innocence inspired, and the
dread of the unpleasant construction malice might put on her situation.
She heard the party ascending the stairs. Fear conquered her reluctance
to concealment, and she motioned to Belgrave to retire to a closet
adjoining the dressing-room. He obeyed the motion, and closed the door
softly after him.

Amanda, snatching up her book, endeavored to compose herself; but the
effort was ineffectual--she trembled universally--nor was her agitation
diminished when, from the outside of the door, Lady Euphrasia called to
her to open it. She tottered to it, and almost fainted on finding it
locked--with difficulty she opened it, and the whole party, followed by
the marquis, entered.

"Upon my word, Miss Fitzalan," said the marchioness, "you were
determined no one should disturb your meditations. I fear we have
surprised you; but poor Euphrasia was taken ill at the ball, and we were
obliged to return with her." "Miss Fitzalan has not been much better, I
believe," said Lady Euphrasia, regarding her attentively. "Good Lord,
child!" cried Lady Greystock, "what is the matter with you? why, you
look as pale as if you had seen a ghost." "Miss Fitzalan is fond of
solitude," exclaimed the marquis, preventing her replying to Lady
Greystock. "When I returned home about an hour ago, I sent to request
her company in the parlor, which honor, I assure you, I was refused."

The message, indeed, had been sent, but never delivered to Amanda.

"I assure you, my lord," said she, "I heard of no such request." "And
pray, child, how have you been employed all this time?" asked Lady
Greystock. "In reading, madam," faltered out Amanda, while her
death-like paleness was succeeded by a deep blush. "You are certainly
ill," said Lord Mortimer, who sat beside her, in a voice expressive of
regret at the conviction. "You have been indulging melancholy ideas, I
fear," continued he softly, and taking her hand, "for surely--surely
to-night you are uncommonly affected."

Amanda attempted to speak. The contending emotions of her mind prevented
her utterance, and the tears trickled silently down her cheeks. Lord
Mortimer saw she wished to avoid notice, yet scarcely could he forbear
requesting some assistance for her.

Lady Euphrasia now complained of a violent headache. The marchioness
wanted to ring for remedies. This Lady Euphrasia opposed; at last, as if
suddenly recollecting it, she said, "in the closet there was a bottle of
eau-de-luce, which she was certain would be of service to her."

At the mention of the closet, the blood ran cold through the veins of
Amanda; but when she saw Lady Euphrasia rise to enter it, had death, in
its most frightful form, stared her in the face, she could not have
betrayed more horror. She looked towards it with a countenance as
expressive of wild affright as Macbeth's, when viewing the chair on
which the spectre of the murdered Banquo sat. Lord Mortimer observing
the disorder of her looks, began to tremble. He grasped her hand with a
convulsive motion, and exclaimed:

"Amanda, what means this agitation?"

A loud scream from Lady Euphrasia broke upon their ears, and she rushed
from the closet, followed by Belgrave.

"Gracious Heaven!" exclaimed Lord Mortimer, dropping Amanda's hand, and
rising precipitately.

Amanda looked around--she beheld every eye fastened on her with
amazement and contempt. The shock was too much for her to support. A
confused idea started into her mind that a deep-laid plot had been
concerted to ruin her; she faintly exclaimed, "I am betrayed," and sunk
back upon the sofa.

Lord Mortimer started at her exclamation. "Oh Heavens!" cried he, as he
looked towards her; unable to support the scene that would ensue in
consequence of this discovery, he struck his forehead in agony, and
rushed out of the room. In the hall he was stopped by Mrs. Jane, the
maid appointed by the marchioness to attend Amanda.

"Alack-a-day, my lord," said she, in a whimpering voice, "something
dreadful, I am afraid, has happened above stairs. Oh dear! what people
suffer sometimes by their good nature. I am sure, if I thought any harm
would come of granting Miss Fitzalan's request, she might have begged
and prayed long enough, before I would have obliged her." "Did she
desire you to bring Colonel Belgrave to this house?" asked Lord
Mortimer. "Oh, to be sure she did, my lord, or how should I ever have
thought of such a thing? She has been begging and praying long enough
for me to contrive some way of bringing him here; and she told me a
piteous story, which would have softened a stone, of his being a
sweetheart of hers before he was married." "Merciful powers!" cried Lord
Mortimer, clasping his hands together, "how have I been deceived."

He was hurrying away, when Mrs. Jane caught his coat. "I shall lose my
place," said she, sobbing, "that I shall, most certainly; for my lord
and lady never will forgive my bringing any one in such a way into the
house. I am sure, I thought no great harm in it, and did it quite from
good nature; for, indeed, how could one resist the poor, dear young
lady; she cried, and said she only wanted to bid farewell to her dear
Belgrave."

Lord Mortimer could hear no more. He shook her from him, and hurried
from the house.

Amanda's faculties suffered but a momentary suspension; as she opened
her eyes, her composure and fortitude returned.

"I am convinced," said she, rising and advancing to the marquis, "it
will shock your lordship to hear, that it is the treachery of some
person under your roof has involved me in my present embarrassing
situation. For my own justification, 'tis necessary to acknowledge that
I have long been the object of a pursuit from Colonel Belgrave, as
degrading to his character as insulting to mine. When he broke so
unexpectedly upon me to-night, he declared, even with effrontery
declared, he had a friend in this house who gave him access to it. As
your guest, my lord, I may expect your lordship's protection; also that
an immediate inquiry be made for the abettor in this scheme against me,
and a full discovery of it extorted--that should the affair be
mentioned, it may be explained, and my fame cleared of every
imputation." "That, madam," said the marquis, with a malicious sneer,
"would not be quite so easy a matter as you may perhaps suppose. Neither
the world nor I am so credulous as you imagine. Your story, madam, by no
means hangs well together. There is no person in my house would have
dared to commit the act you accuse them of, as they must know the
consequence of it would be immediate dismission from my service. Had not
Colonel Belgrave been voluntarily admitted, he never would have been
concealed;--no, madam, you would have rejoiced at the opportunity our
presence gave you of punishing his temerity. Innocence is bold; 'tis
guilt alone is timorous."

The truth of part of his speech struck forcibly on Amanda; but how could
she explain her conduct?--how declare it was her dread of the
marchioness and Lady Euphrasia's malice which had made her consent to
conceal him.

"Oh, I see," said she, in the agony of her soul--"I see I am the dupe of
complicated artifice." "I never in my life," cried the marchioness, "met
with such assurance--to desire the marquis to be her champion." "As she
was intrusted to my care, however," exclaimed Lady Greystock, "I think
it necessary to inquire into the affair. Pray, sir," turning to the
colonel, "by what means did you come here?"

The colonel, with undiminished assurance, had hitherto stood near the
fatal closet leaning on a chair.

"That, madam," replied he, "I must be excused revealing. Let me,
however, assure your ladyship 'tis not on my own account I affect
concealment." Here he glanced at Amanda. "Those parts of my conduct,
however, which I choose to conceal, I shall always be ready to defend."
"Sir," cried the marquis haughtily, "no explanation or defence of your
conduct is here required; I have neither right nor inclination to
interfere in Miss Fitzalan's concerns."

The colonel bowed to the circle, and was retiring, when Amanda flew to
him and caught his arm. "Surely, surely," said she, almost gasping for
breath, "you cannot be so inhuman as to retire without explaining this
whole affair. Oh, Belgrave, leave me not a prey to slander. By all your
hopes of mercy and forgiveness hereafter, I conjure you to clear my
fame."

"My dear creature," said he, in a low voice, yet low enough to be heard
by the whole party, "anything I could say would be unavailing. You find
they are determined not to see things in the light we wish them viewed.
Compose yourself, I beseech you, and be assured, while I exist, you
never shall want comfort or affluence."

He gently disengaged himself as he spoke, and quitted the room, leaving
her riveted to the floor in amazement at his insolence and perfidy.

"I am sure," said Lady Greystock, "I shall regret all my life the hour
in which I took her under my protection; though, indeed, from what I
heard soon after my arrival in London, I should have dispatched her back
to her father, but I felt a foolish pity for her. I was in hopes,
indeed, the society I had introduced her to would have produced a
reformation, and that I might be the means of saving a young creature
from entire destruction." "From what I have already suffered by her
family, nothing should have tempted me to take her under my roof,"
exclaimed the marchioness. "Was she my relation," cried the marquis, "I
should long since have come to a determination about her; as yours,
madam," turning to the marchioness, "I shall not attempt forming one; I
deem it, however, absolutely necessary to remove Lady Euphrasia
Sutherland from the house till the young lady chooses to quit it. I
shall therefore order the carriage to be ready at an early hour for the
villa."

"I shall certainly accompany your lordship," cried the marchioness, "for
I cannot endure her sight; and though she deserves it, it shall not be
said that we turned her from the house." "The only measure she should
pursue," exclaimed Lady Greystock, "is to set off as soon as possible
for Ireland; when she returns to obscurity the affair may die away." "It
may, however," said Amanda, "be yet revived to cover with confusion its
contrivers. To Heaven I leave the vindication of my innocence. Its
justice is sure, though sometimes slow, and the hour of retribution
often arrives when least expected. Much as I have suffered--much as I
may still suffer, I think my own situation preferable to theirs who have
set their snares around me. The injurer must ever feel greater pangs
than the injured--the pangs of guilt and remorse. I shall return to my
obscurity, happy in the consciousness that it is not a shelter from
shame, but a refuge from cruelty I seek. But can I be surprised at
meeting cruelty from those who have long since waived the ties of
kindred?--from those," and she glanced at Lady Greystock, "who have set
aside the claims of justice and humanity?"

The marchioness trembled with rage at this speech, and as Amanda retired
from the room, exclaimed, "intolerable assurance."

Amanda repaired immediately to her chamber. She tottered as she walked,
and the housekeeper and Mrs. Jane, who, with some other servants, had
assembled out of curiosity near the door, followed her thither.

The emotions she had so painfully suppressed now burst forth with
violence. She fell into an agony of tears and sobs which impeded her
breathing. The housekeeper and Jane loosened her clothes and supported
her to the bed. In a short time she was sufficiently recovered to be
able to speak, and requested they would engage a carriage for her
against the next day, at an early hour, that she might commence her
journey to Ireland. This they promised, and at her desire retired.

Success, but not happiness, had crowned the marchioness's scheme. She
triumphed in the disgrace she had drawn upon Amanda, but feared that
disgrace was only temporary. She had entangled her in a snare, but she
dreaded not having secured her in it. She distrusted those who had
assisted her designs--for the guilty will ever suspect each other. They
might betray her, or Colonel Belgrave might repent; but such evils, if
they did ever arrive, were probably far distant. In the interim, all she
desired to accomplish might be effected. Long had she been meditating on
some plan which should ruin Amanda forever--not only in the opinion of
Lord Mortimer, but in the estimation of the world. With the profligacy
of Colonel Belgrave she was well acquainted, and inclined from it to
believe that he would readily join in any scheme which could give him a
chance of possessing Amanda. On discovering her residence, he had
ordered his valet, who was a trusty agent in all his villanies, to
endeavor to gain access to the house, that he might discover whether
there was a chance of introducing him there. The valet obeyed his
orders, and soon attached himself to Mrs. Jane, whom the marchioness had
placed about Amanda, from knowing she was capable of any deceitful part.
She was introduced to Belgrave, and a handsome present secured her in
his interest.

She communicated to the marchioness the particulars of their interview.
From that period they had been seeking to bring about such a scene as
was at last acted; for the conduct of Amanda had hitherto defeated their
intentions. Her staying from the ball at last gave the wished-for
opportunity.

Lady Euphrasia was apprised of the whole plot, and the hint of her
indisposition was given in the morning, that no suspicion might be
entertained in the evening, when mentioned as a plea for returning home
earlier than was intended.

Colonel Belgrave was introduced into the closet by Mrs. Jane, through a
door that opened from the lobby; and whilst Amanda sat pensively
reading, he stole out, and secured the other door, as already mentioned.

When Lady Euphrasia declared she was too ill to continue at the ball,
Lord Mortimer offered to attend her home. Had he not done so, the
marchioness intended to have asked him.

The marquis was persuaded that Amanda was an artful and dangerous rival
to his daughter, and he hated her from that consideration. The laws of
hospitality obliged him to treat her with politeness, but he gladly
seized the first opportunity that offered for expressing his dislike.

Lady Greystock saw through the plot, but she professed her belief of
Amanda's guilt, which was all the marchioness required.

The marquis left the ladies together, while he went to give orders about
his early journey. Soon after his departure a loud knocking was heard,
which announced a visitor; and from the lateness of the hour, they
conjectured, and were right in doing so, that it must be Lord Mortimer.

After traversing several streets, in an agony no language could
describe, he returned to Portman Square. His fancy presented Amanda to
his view, overwhelmed with shame, and sinking beneath the keen
reproaches levelled at her. In the idea of her sufferings, all
resentment for the supposed perfidy was forgotten. Human nature was
liable to err, and the noblest efforts that nature could make, was to
pardon such errors. To speak comfort to this fallen angel, he felt would
relieve the weight which pressed upon his own breast. Pale and
disordered he entered the room, and found the ladies apparently much
affected.

"My dear lord," said the marchioness, "I am glad you are come back. As a
friend of the family, you may perhaps honor us with your advice on the
present occasion." "Indeed," exclaimed Lady Greystock, "I suppose his
lordship is at as great a loss to know what can be done as we are. Was
the colonel in a situation to make any reparation--but a married man,
only think, how horrible!" "Execrable monster!" cried Lord Mortimer,
starting from his seat, and traversing the room, "it were a deed of
kindness to mankind to extirpate him from the earth: but say," continued
he, and his voice faltered as he spoke, "where is the unfortunate----,"
he could not pronounce the name of Amanda. "In her own room," replied
the marchioness. "I assure you, she behaved with not a little insolence,
on Lady Greystock advising her to return home. For my part, I shall let
her act as she pleases."

She then proceeded to mention the marquis's resolution of leaving the
house till she had quitted it, and that he insisted on their
accompanying him.

"To return to her father is certainly the only eligible plan she can
pursue," said Lord Mortimer; "but allow me," continued he, "to request
that your ladyship will not impute to insolence any expression which
dropped from her. Pity her wounded feelings, and soften her sorrows." "I
declare," cried Lady Euphrasia, "I thought I should have fainted from
the pity I felt for her." "You pitied her, then," said Lord Mortimer,
sitting down by her ladyship, "you pitied and soothed her afflictions?"
"Yes, indeed," replied she.

If ever Lady Euphrasia appeared pleasing in the eyes of Lord Mortimer,
it was at this moment, when he was credulous enough to believe she had
shed the tear of pity over his lost Amanda. He took her hand. "Ah! my
dear Lady Euphrasia," said he, in an accent of melting softness,
"perhaps even now she needs consolation. A gentle female friend would be
a comfort to her wounded heart."

Lady Euphrasia immediately took the hint, and said she would go to her.

He led her to the door. "You are going," cried he, "to perform the
office of an angel--to console the afflicted. Ah! well does it become
the young and gentle of your sex to pity such misfortunes."

Her ladyship retired, but not indeed to the chamber of the forlorn
Amanda. In her own she vented the rage of her soul in something little
short of execrations against Lord Mortimer, for the affection she saw he
still retained for Amanda.

On her ladyship's retiring, Lady Greystock mentioned every particular
she had heard from Mrs. Jennings, and bitterly lamented her having ever
taken Amanda under her protection. The subject was too painful to be
long endured by Lord Mortimer. He had heard of the early hour fixed for
their journey, and saying he would no longer keep the ladies from
repose, precipitately retired. He gave his man directions to watch their
motions, and inform him when they left town.

Exhausted by the violence of her emotions, a temporary forgetfulness
stole over the senses of Amanda, on her being left to solitude. In this
state she continued till roused by a bustle in the house. She started,
listened, and heard the sound of a carriage. Supposing it to be the one
she had ordered for her departure, she sprang from the bed, and, going
to the window, saw, instead of one for her, the marquis's, into which he
was handing the ladies. As soon as it drove from the door, she rang the
bell, and the housekeeper immediately appeared, as Mrs. Jane had
attended the marchioness to the villa. Amanda inquired "whether a
carriage, as she directed, had been engaged for her."

The housekeeper replied, "the hour in which she spoke was too late for
such a purpose, but she had now sent about one."

Amanda endeavored to exert herself, and was packing up her clothes, when
a maid entered the chamber, and said, "Lord Mortimer was below, and
wished to speak to her."

Tumultuous joy pervaded the mind of Amanda. She had believed it probable
she should not see him again before her departure for Ireland, from
whence she had determined writing to him the particulars of the affair.
His visit seemed to announce he thought not unfavorably of her. She
supposed he came to assure her that his opinion of her integrity was
unshaken--"and I shall yet triumph," cried she, in the transport of the
idea, "over malice and treachery."

She sprung past the maid; her feet scarce touched the ground, and in a
moment she found herself in the arms of Lord Mortimer, which
involuntarily opened to receive her, for, trembling weak, and
disordered, she would else, on seeing him, have sunk to the floor. He
supported her to a sofa. In a little time she raised her head from his
shoulder, and exclaimed, "Oh! you are come! I know you are come, to
comfort me." "Would to Heaven," he answered, "I were capable of either
giving or receiving comfort. The period, however, I trust, may yet
arrive when we shall both at least be more composed. To mitigate your
sorrows would lessen my own; for never, oh, never! can my heart forget
the love and esteem it once bore Amanda." "Once bore her!" repeated
Amanda. "Once bore her, Lord Mortimer! do you say? Then you wish to
imply they no longer exist?"

The tone of anguish in which she spoke, pierced the heart of Lord
Mortimer. Unable to speak, he arose, and walked to the window, to hide
his emotion. His words, his silence, all conveyed a fatal truth to
Amanda. She saw a dreadful and eternal separation effected between her
and Lord Mortimer. She beheld herself deprived of reputation, loaded
with calumny, and no longer an object of love, but of detestation and
contempt. Her anguish was almost too great to bear, yet the pride of
injured innocence made her wish to conceal it; and, as Lord Mortimer
stood at the window, she determined to try and leave the room without
his knowledge, but ere she gained the door her head grew giddy, her
strength failed, she staggered, faintly screamed on finding herself
falling, and sunk upon the floor.

Lord Mortimer wildly called for assistance. He raised and carried her
back to the sofa; he strained her to his bosom, kissed her pale lips,
and wept over her.

"I have wounded your gentle soul, my Amanda," cried he, "but I have
tortured my own by doing so. Ah! still dearest of women, did the world
compassionate your errors as I compassionate them, neither contempt nor
calumny would ever be your portion. How pale she looks!" said he,
raising his head to gaze upon her face; "how like a lovely flower
untimely faded! Yet were it happiness for her never to revive; a soul
like hers, originally noble, must be wretched under the pressure of
scorn. Execrable Belgrave! the fairest work of Heaven is destroyed by
you. Oh! my Amanda, my distress is surely severe--though anguish rives
my heart for your loss, I must conceal it--the sad luxury of grief will
be denied me, for the world would smile if I could say I now lamented
you."

Such were the effusions of sorrow which broke from Lord Mortimer over
the insensible Amanda. The housekeeper, who had been listening all this
time, now appeared, as if in obedience to his call, and offered her
assistance in recovering Amanda. Heavy sighs at length gave hopes of her
restoration. Lord Mortimer, unable to support her pathetic lamentations,
determined to depart ere she was perfectly sensible.

"Miss Fitzalan," said he to the housekeeper, "will wish, I am convinced,
to quit this house immediately. I shall take upon myself to procure her
a carriage, also a proper attendant, for her journey, which, I flatter
myself, she will be able to commence in a few hours. Be kind, be gentle
to her, my good woman, and depend on my eternal gratitude. When she is
recovered, deliver her this letter."

The housekeeper promised to observe his injunctions, and he departed.

To Ireland, with Amanda, he intended sending an old female servant, who
had formerly been an attendant of his mother's, and his own man. He was
shocked at the conduct of the marchioness and Lady Greystock, and
thought them guilty of the highest inhumanity in thus deserting Amanda.
The letter he had put into the housekeeper's hands excited her curiosity
so strongly that she was tempted to gratify it. Amanda was not in a
situation to perceive what she did, the letter could easily be sealed
again, and, in short, without longer hesitation, she opened it. How
great was her amazement, on finding it contained a bank-note for five
hundred pounds. The words were as follows:--

    Consider me, Amanda, in the light of a brother; as such accept
    my services; to serve you, in any manner, will be a source of
    consolation, which, I flatter myself, you will be happy to allow
    me. 'Tis necessary you should return immediately to your father;
    hesitate not, then, about using the enclosed. Your complying
    with my request will prove that you yet retain a friendship for

    MORTIMER.

"What a sum," cried the housekeeper, as she examined the note; "what a
nice little independency would this, in addition to what I have already
saved, be for an honest woman! What a pity it is such a creature as it
is designed for should possess it!" The housekeeper, like her lady, was
fertile in invention: to be sure there was some danger in her present
scheme, but for such a prize it was worth her while to run some risk.
Could she but get Amanda off ere the carriage from Lord Mortimer
arrived, she believed all would succeed as she could wish. Amanda,
ignorant as she was of Lord Mortimer's intentions, would not,
consequently, be influenced by them, to oppose anything she could do.
Full of this idea, she ran out, and calling a footman, high in her
favor, desired him immediately to procure a travelling chaise for Miss
Fitzalan. She then returned to Amanda, who was just beginning to move.

"Come, come," cried she, going to her, and roughly shaking her shoulder,
"have done with those tragedy airs, and prepare yourself against the
carriage you ordered, comes: it will be at the door in a few minutes."

Amanda looked round the room. "Is Lord Mortimer gone, then?" said she.
"Lord, to be sure he is," cried the housekeeper; "he left you on the
floor, and, as he went out, he said you should never have another
opportunity of deceiving him."

A sudden frenzy seemed to seize Amanda; she wrung her hands, called upon
Lord Mortimer in the impassioned language of despair, and flung herself
on the ground, exclaiming, "This last stroke is more than I can bear."

The housekeeper grew alarmed, lest her agitation should retard her
departure; she raised her forcibly from the ground, and said, "she must
compose herself to begin her journey, which was unavoidable, as the
marchioness had given absolute orders to have her sent from the house
early in the morning."

"Accursed house!" said Amanda, whose reason was restored by the
strenuous remonstrances of the housekeeper: "Oh, that I had never
entered it!" She then told her companion, "if she would assist her, as
she was almost too weak to do anything for herself, she would be ready
against the carriage came." The housekeeper and maid accordingly
attended her to her chamber; the former brought her drops, and the
latter assisted in putting on her habit, and packing up her clothes.
Amanda having secured her trunks, desired they might be sent, by the
first opportunity, to Castle Carberry; she had left a great many clothes
there, so took nothing at present with her but a small quantity of
linen. She had but a few guineas in her purse; her watch, however, was
valuable; and if she had money enough to carry her to Dublin, she knew
there she might procure a sufficient sum on it to carry her home.

At last the carriage came; with a trembling frame, and half-broken
heart, Amanda entered it. She saw Nicholas, the footman, who had
procured it, ready mounted to attend her. She told him it was
unnecessary to do so; but he declared he could not think of letting so
young a lady travel unprotected. She was pleased at his attention: she
had shuddered at the idea of her forlorn situation, and now dropped a
tear of sweet sensibility at finding she was not utterly deserted by
every human being. The carriage took the road to Parkgate, as Amanda
chose to embark from thence, the journey being so much nearer to it than
to Holyhead, It was now about eight o'clock; after travelling four
hours, the chaise stopped at a small house on the roadside, which
appeared to be a common ale-house. Amanda was unwilling to enter it; but
the horses were here to be changed; and she was shown into a dirty
parlor, where, almost sinking with weakness, she ordered tea to be
immediately brought in. She was much astonished, as she sat at the
tea-table, to see Nicholas enter the room with a familiar air, and seat
himself by her. She stared at him at first, supposing him intoxicated;
but perceiving no signs of this in his countenance, began to fear that
the insults she had received at the marquis's made him think himself
authorized to treat her with this insolence. She arose abruptly, and,
summoning all her resolution to her aid, desired him to retire, adding,
"If his attendance was requisite she would ring for him."

Nicholas also quitted his seat, and following her, caught her in his
arms, exclaiming, "Bless us, how hoity toity you are grown."

Amanda shrieked, and stamped on the floor in an agony of terror and
indignation.

"Why, now really," said he, "after what happened at home, I think you
need not be so coy with me." "Oh, save me, Heaven, from this wretch!"
was all the affrighted Amanda could articulate.

The door opened. A waiter appeared, and told Nicholas he was wanted
without. Nicholas released Amanda, and ran directly from the room.
Amanda sunk upon a chair, and her head turned giddy at the idea of the
dangers with which she was surrounded. She saw herself in the power of a
wretch--perhaps wretches, for the house seemed a proper place for scenes
of villany--without the means of delivering herself. She walked to the
window. A confused idea of getting through it, and running from the
house, darted into her mind, but she turned from it in agony at seeing a
number of countrymen drinking before it. She now could only raise her
feeble hands to heaven to supplicate its protection.

She passed some minutes in this manner, when the lock turned and made
her shudder, but it was the landlady alone who entered. She came, she
said, with Nicholas's respectful duty, and she was sorry he was obliged
to go back to town without seeing her safe to her journey's end.

"Is he really gone?" asked Amanda, with all the eagerness of joy. "Yes,"
the woman said; "a person had followed him from London on purpose to
bring him back." "Is the carriage ready?" cried Amanda. She was informed
it was. "Let me fly, then." The landlady impeded her progress to tell
her the bill was not yet settled. Amanda pulled out her purse, and
besought her not to detain her. This the woman had no desire to do.
Things were therefore settled without delay between them, and Amanda was
driven with as much expedition as she could desire from the terrifying
mansion. The chaise had proceeded about two miles, when, in the middle
of a solitary road, or rather lane, by the side of a wood, it suddenly
stopped. Amanda, alarmed at every incident, hastily looked out, and
inquired what was the matter; but how impossible to describe her terror
when she beheld Colonel Belgrave, and Nicholas standing by him! She
shrunk back, and entreated the postilion to drive on; but he heeded not
her entreaty. Nicholas opened the door, and Belgrave sprang into the
carriage. Amanda attempted to burst open the door at the opposite side;
but he caught her to his bosom, and the horses set off at full speed.
Colonel Belgrave's valet had been secreted by Mrs. Jane the preceding
night in the house, that he might be able to give his master
intelligence of all that passed within it, in consequence of his being
discovered in the closet. On hearing the family were gone to the
Marquis's villa, Belgrave believed he could easily prevail on the
domestics to deliver up Amanda to him. Elated with this hope, he reached
the house, attended by his valet, just after she had quitted it. The
housekeeper hesitated to inform him of the road she had taken till she
had procured what she knew would be the consequence of her hesitation--a
large bribe. Horses were then immediately procured, and Belgrave and his
servant set off in pursuit of Amanda. The sight of a travelling chaise
at the little inn already mentioned, prompted their inquiries; and on
finding the chaise waited for Amanda, the colonel retired to a private
room, sent for Nicholas, and secured him in his interest. It was
settled they should repair to the wood, by which the postilion was
bribed to pass, and from thence proceed to a country-house of the
colonel's. Their scheme accomplished, Nicholas, happy in the service he
had done, or rather the reward he had obtained for that service, again
turned his face towards London.

The carriage and attendants Lord Mortimer procured for Amanda arrived
even earlier than the housekeeper had expected, and she blessed her
lucky stars for the precipitancy with which she had hurried off Amanda.
They were followed by his lordship himself, whose wretched heart could
not support the idea of letting Amanda depart without once more
beholding her. Great was his dismay, his astonishment, when the
housekeeper informed him she was gone.

"Gone!" he repeated, changing color.

The housekeeper said that, without her knowledge, Miss Fitzalan had a
chaise hired, and the moment it came to the door stepped into it,
notwithstanding she was told his lordship meant to provide everything
proper for her journey himself. "But she said, my lord," cried the
housekeeper, "she wanted none of your care, and that she could never get
fast enough from a house, or from people, where and by whom she had been
so ill treated."

Lord Mortimer asked if she had any attendant, and whether she took the
letter.

The housekeeper answered both these questions in the affirmative.
"Truly, my lord," she continued, "I believe your lordship said something
in that letter which pleased her, for she smiled on opening it, and
said, 'Well, well, this is something like comfort.'" "And was she really
so mean?" he was on the point of asking, but he timely checked a
question which was springing from a heart that sickened at finding the
object of its tenderest affections unworthy in every respect of
possessing them. Every idea of this kind soon gave way to anxiety on her
account. His heart misgave him at her undertaking so long a journey
under the protection of a common servant; and, unable to endure his
apprehensions, he determined instantly to pursue and see her safe
himself to the destined port.

The woman, who had hitherto sat in the chaise, was ordered to return
home. He entered it with eagerness, and promised liberally to reward the
postilions if they used expedition. They had changed horses but once
when Lord Mortimer saw Nicholas approaching, whom, at the first glance,
he knew. He stopped the carriage, and called out, "Where have you left
Miss Fitzalan?" "Faith, my lord," cried Nicholas, instantly stopping and
taking off his hat, "in very good company. I left her with Colonel
Belgrave, who was waiting, by appointment, on the road for her." "Oh!
horrible infatuation!" said Lord Mortimer, "that nothing can snatch her
from the arms of infamy."

The postilion desired to know whether he should return to London.

Lord Mortimer hesitated, and at last desired him to go on according to
his first directions. He resolved to proceed to Parkgate and discover
whether Amanda had returned to Ireland. They had not proceeded far when
they overtook a travelling chaise. As Lord Mortimer passed, he looked
into it, and beheld Amanda reclined on the bosom of Belgrave. He
trembled universally, closed his eyes, and sighed out the name of the
perfidious Amanda. When they had got some way before the other chaise,
he desired the postilion to strike off into another road, which, by a
circuit of a few miles, would bring them back to London. Amanda, it was
evident, had put herself under the protection of Belgrave, and to know
whether she went to Ireland was now of little consequence to him, as he
supposed her unreclaimable. But how impossible to describe his distress
and confusion when almost the first object he beheld, on alighting in
St. James's Square, was his aunt, Lady Martha Dormer, who, in compliance
with his urgent request, had hastened to London. Had a spectre crossed
his sight he could not have been more shocked.

"Well, my dear Frederick," said her ladyship, "you see I lost no time in
obeying your wishes. I have flown hither, I may indeed say, on the wings
of love. But where is this little divinity of thine? I long to have a
peep at her goddess-ship."

Lord Mortimer, inexpressibly shocked, turned to the window.

"I shall see, to be sure," cried her ladyship, "quite a little paragon.
Positively, Frederick, I will be introduced this very evening." "My dear
aunt, my dear Lady Martha," said Lord Mortimer, impatiently, "for
Heaven's sake spare me!" "But tell me," she continued, "when I shall
commence this attack upon your father's heart?" "Never! never!" sighed
Mortimer, half distracted. "What! you suppose he will prove inflexible?
But I do not despair of convincing you to the contrary. Tell me,
Frederick, when the little charmer is to be seen?" "Oh, God!" cried
Mortimer, striking his forehead, "she is lost," said he, "she is lost
forever!"

Lady Martha was alarmed. She now, for the first time, noticed the wild
and pallid looks of her nephew. "Gracious Heaven!" she exclaimed, "what
is the matter?"

The dreadful explanation Lord Mortimer now found himself under a
necessity of giving. The shame of acknowledging he was so deceived, the
agony he suffered from that deception, joined to the excessive agitation
and fatigue he had suffered the preceding night, and the present day, so
powerfully assailed him at this moment, that his senses suddenly gave
way, and he actually fainted on the floor.

What a sight for the tender Lady Martha! She saw something dreadful had
happened, and what this was Lord Mortimer, as soon as recovered,
informed her.

He then retired to his chamber. He could neither converse nor bear to be
conversed with. His fondest hopes were blasted, nor could he forego the
sad indulgence of mourning over them in solitude. He felt almost
convinced that the hold Amanda had on his affections could not be
withdrawn; he had considered her as scarcely less than his wife, and had
she been really such, her present conduct could not have given him more
anguish. Had she been snatched from him by the hand of death; had she
been wedded to a worthy character, he could have summoned fortitude to
his aid; but to find her the prey of a villain, was a stroke too
horrible to bear, at least for a long period, with patience.



CHAPTER XXX.

  "And let a maid thy pity share,
     *  *  *  *
   Who seeks for rest, but finds despair
   Companion of her way."--GOLDSMITH.


Amanda had fainted soon after Colonel Belgrave entered the carriage, and
she was reclining on his bosom in a state of insensibility when Lord
Mortimer passed. In this situation she continued till they had gained a
solitary road, when the carriage stopped, and water, procured from an
adjacent cottage, being sprinkled on her face, she recovered; but either
by arguments or actions she was now unable to oppose Belgrave. She felt
a weakness through her whole frame, which she believed the forerunner
of death, and a languor on her mind that almost deprived it of the
perception of misery.

The refreshments offered to her she could only refuse by a motion of her
hand; and in this manner they proceeded till about nine o'clock at
night, when they entered an extensive wood, in the very centre of which
stood Colonel Belgrave's mansion. He carried Amanda himself into it, and
laid her upon a sofa in a large parlor. Some female domestics appeared
with drops and cordials, to try and recover her from the almost lifeless
state in which she lay. One of them presented a letter to the colonel,
which excited no little perturbation in his mind. It came express to
inform him that his uncle, whose estate and title he was heir to, lay at
the point of death, and that his presence was immediately required.

The colonel was not so absolutely engrossed by love as to be incapable
of attending to his interest. An addition of fortune was extremely
agreeable, as his affairs were somewhat deranged; and, as Amanda was not
in a situation at present to comply with any overtures he should make,
his resolution was immediately formed to set off without delay, and
against his return he trusted Amanda would be not only recovered, but
willing to accede to his wishes.

He dismissed the woman who had brought her a little to herself, and
taking her hand informed her of the painful necessity he was under of
departing for a short time. He also mentioned his hopes, that on his
return he should have no obstacle thrown in the way of his happiness by
her. "You must be sensible, my dear Amanda," said he, with coolness,
"that your reputation is as much gone as if you had complied with my
wishes; since it is sacrificed, why not enjoy the advantages that may,
that will certainly attend the reality of that sacrifice?" "Monster!"
cried Amanda, "your arts may have destroyed my fame, but my innocence
bids defiance to your power." "Conquer your obstinacy, Amanda," replied
he, "against I return, or I shall not promise but what I may be at last
irritated. As you will have no occasion for money here, you must excuse
me, my dear creature, if I take your purse into my own keeping. My
domestics may be faithful, when they have no inducement to the contrary;
but no bribery, no corruption, you know." He then very deliberately took
Amanda's purse and watch from her pocket, and deposited them in his own.
He had already given directions to his servants concerning their
treatment of Amanda, and now ordered them to carry her to a chamber, and
make her take some refreshment.

"Reflect, Amanda," said he, ere she retired, "on your present situation,
and timely estimate the advantages I offer to your acceptance; wealth,
pleasure, the attentions of a man who adores you, are not to be
despised. Upon my soul it grieves me to leave you, but the joys of
meeting will, I trust, pay the pangs of absence."

As he spoke, he attempted to embrace her, but she faintly shrieked, and
shrunk from his grasp. He looked provoked; but as he had no time to
lose, he reserved a declaration of his anger for another opportunity,
and directly set off for his uncle's.

Amanda was supported to a chamber, and lay down in her clothes on a bed.
They offered her bread and wine, but she was too sick to touch any. To
remonstrate with the insolent looking creatures who surrounded her she
knew would be unavailing, and she turned her face on the pillow to
stifle her sobs, as she believed they would exult in her distress. Death
she thought approaching, and the idea of being separated from the dear
objects who would have soothed its last pangs, was dreadful. Her father
in agony, and Oscar, her beloved brother, bewailing her with tears of
sorrow, were the images fancy presented to her view.

"Dear objects of my love," she softly exclaimed, "Amanda shall no more
behold you, but her last sigh will be breathed for you. Ah! why, why,"
she cried, "did I suffer myself to be separated from my father?"

A young woman leaned over Amanda, and surveyed her with the most
malignant scrutiny. She was daughter to Belgrave's steward, and neither
she nor her father possessed sufficient virtue to make them reject the
offers Belgrave made them on her account. His attachment to her was
violent, but transient, and in the height of it he made her mistress of
the mansion she now occupied, which character she maintained with
tyrannic sway over the rest of the domestics. Belgrave was really
ignorant of the violence of her temper, and had no idea she would dare
dispute his inclinations, or disobey his orders. He believed she would
be subservient to both, and from this belief, gave Amanda particularly
into her charge.

But scarcely had he departed, ere she swore, "that let the consequence
be what it would, the vile wretch he had brought into the house to
insult her should never remain in it. She shall tramp," cried she,
"though I follow her myself when he returns; for such a little hussey
shall never triumph over me."

The servants, ignorant and timorous, did not attempt to oppose her.

"Come, madam," said she, suddenly seizing Amanda's arm, and pulling her
from the pillow, "have done with these languishing airs, and march."
"What do you mean?" cried Amanda, trembling at her inflamed countenance.
"Why, I mean you shall quit this house directly; and I wonder Colonel
Belgrave could have the assurance to bring such a creature as you into
it." "You mistake, indeed," said Amanda; "treachery, not inclination,
brought me into it, and I am not what you suppose. If, as you say, you
will allow me to depart, I shall ever regard you as my friend; and in
every prayer I offer up to Heaven for myself, you shall be remembered."
"Oh, dear! but you shall not impose upon me so easily. Come," continued
she, turning to a maid, "and help me to conduct this fine lady to the
hall door." "Gracious Heaven!" said Amanda, who by this time was taken,
or rather dragged from the bed, "what are you about doing with me?
Though I rejoice to quit the house, yet surely, surely," she cried, and
her soul recoiled at the idea, "without a guide at this hour of the
night, you will not turn me from it."

She then mentioned Colonel Belgrave's having deprived her of her purse
and watch, and besought the woman in the most pathetic terms, to supply
her with a small sum, which she solemnly assured her should be returned
as soon as she reached her friends; and ended with saying, she should
depart with gratitude and joy if she complied with her request, and
allowed some one to guide her to a place where she might procure a
carriage.

"Such madams as you," replied the imperious woman, "are never at a loss
for means of procuring money, or a place to go to. I see through your
art well enough; you want me to pity you, that I may let you stay till
your colonel returns. But who would be fool then, I wonder? The tables,
I warrant, would soon be turned upon me. No, no; out you go this
moment." So saying, she rudely seized Amanda, and assisted by another
woman, hurried her down stairs, and out of the house directly: they
carried her to an intricate part of wood, and then ran back, leaving the
helpless mourner leaning against a tree.

Amanda looked around her. Dark and awful were the shades of the wood. No
light appeared but what came from a few wandering stars, which only
served to render darkness visible. "Have mercy upon me, Heaven!" groaned
Amanda, as she felt herself sinking to the earth. The cold acted as a
kind of restorative, and almost immediately revived her. She rested her
head against a little bank, and as she thus reclined, tender sadness
pervaded her soul the idea of her father's sorrow when he heard of her
fate. "When he hears," cried she, "that I was driven from the house, as
unworthy of pity or protection from any being, that his Amanda, whom he
cherished in his bosom, as the darling of his age, was denied the pity
he would have shown the greatest wretch that crawls upon the earth, and
that she perished without shelter, it will break his heart entirely.
Poor Oscar, too--alas! I shall be a source of wretchedness to both. Will
Lord Mortimer lament when he hears of my fate? Alas! I cannot believe
that he will. He that could leave me in the arms of insensibility, and
so readily believe ill of me, must have a heart steeled against
compassion for my sufferings. But my unhappy father and brother will
never doubt my innocence, and by them I shall be tenderly and truly
mourned."

The idea of their sufferings at last recalled her wandering thoughts,
and pity for those sufferings made her endeavor to support her own, that
she might be able to make some efforts for preserving a life so precious
to them. Besides, as she reflected, she could not but attribute her
expulsion from the house of infamy to the immediate interposition of
Providence in her favor: and whilst her heart swelled with gratitude at
the idea, her fortitude gradually returned. She arose, but the vigor of
her nerves was not equal to the ardor of her intentions. She walked on,
and as she proceeded, the gloom grew more profound, the paths were
intricate, and her progress was often impeded by the roots of trees, and
the branches that grew about them. After wandering about a considerable
time, she at last began to think that, instead of gaining the skirts,
she had penetrated into the very centre of the wood, and that to quit it
till morning would be impossible. Yielding to this idea, or rather to
her excessive weariness, she was seeking for a place to sit down on,
when a faint light glimmered before her. She instantly darted through
the path from whence it gleamed, and found herself at the extremity of
the wood, and that the light proceeded from a small hamlet contiguous to
it. Thither she walked, as fast as her trembling limbs would carry her.
A profound stillness reigned around, only interrupted by the hoarse and
hollow barking of some distant dogs, which, in such an hour, had
something particularly solemn in it. The stillness, and sudden
disappearance of lights from various windows, convinced Amanda that
every cottage was closed for the night; "and were they open," said she,
"I perhaps should be denied access to any, deprived as I am of the means
of rewarding kindness." She shuddered at the idea of passing a night
unsheltered. "It is now, indeed," said she, "I really know what it is to
feel for the houseless children of want." She moved softly along. The
echo of her own steps alarmed her. She had neatly reached the end of the
hamlet when, before a neat cottage, divided from the others by a clump
of old trees, she saw a venerable man, who might well have passed for an
ancient hermit. His gray locks thinly shaded his forehead; an expression
of deep and pensive thought was visible in his countenance; his arms
were folded on his breast, and his eyes were raised with a tender
melancholy to heaven, as if that heaven he contemplated was now the
abode of some kindred and lamented spirit. Surely such a being, thought
she, will pity me. She approached him--stood close to him, yet was
unnoticed. Thrice she attempted to speak, and thrice her heart failed
her. At last she summoned all her courage to her aid, and faintly
articulated, "Pity----," she could add no more, but fainted at his feet.
The stranger's mind was fraught with all the benevolence his countenance
depictured. The transient glance he had caught of Amanda interested
every tender feeling. He called to his servant, an elderly woman, his
only companion in the cottage, to assist him in conveying her in. This
woman's heart was as tender as her master's, and the youth, the beauty,
and forlorn situation of Amanda, equally excited their wonder and pity.
It was many minutes ere she opened her eyes, and when she did, her
senses were quite bewildered. "And my father! alas! my father, I shall
never more behold him," was all she could articulate.

She was supported to a small chamber; the old woman undressed her, put
her to bed, and sat up with her the remainder of the night. Amanda often
started; she raved continually of Belgrave, the author of her woes, and
betrayed the strongest horror. "The wound he had inflicted on her
heart," she said, "the hand of death could only heal." She mentioned the
cruelty of the marchioness, called upon her father to save her from
destruction, and reproached Mortimer for aiding to overwhelm her in
disgrace. She continued in this situation three days, during which the
old man and his faithful servant watched her with unremitted attention.
A neighboring apothecary was summoned to her aid, and a girl from one of
the cottages procured to sit up with her at night. The old man
frequently knelt by the bedside, watching with anxiety for a favorable
symptom. Her incoherent expressions pierced him to the heart: he felt,
from mournful sympathy, for the father she so pathetically mentioned,
and invoked Heaven to restore her to him.

The afternoon of the third day, Amanda, after a long slumber, awoke,
perfectly restored to her senses; it was many minutes, however, after
her awaking, ere she recollected all the circumstances that had caused
her present situation. She at last opened the curtain, and perceived the
old woman, whom we shall hereafter call Eleanor, seated by the bedside.

"I fear," said she, with a languid smile, "I have been the occasion of a
great deal of trouble." "No, no," replied the kind Eleanor, delighted to
hear her speak so calmly, and drawing back a little of the curtain at
the same time to observe her looks.

Amanda inquired how long she had been ill. Eleanor informed her, and
added, "Heaven, my dear child, was kind to you, in throwing you in my
master's way, who delights in befriending the helpless." "Heaven will
reward him," exclaimed Amanda.

The chamber was gloomy; she requested one of the shutters might be
opened. Eleanor complied with her desire, and a ray of the declining sun
darting through the casement, cheered her pensive heart. She perfectly
remembered the venerable figure she had beheld on the threshold of the
cottage, and was impatient to express her gratitude to him. The next
day, she trusted, would give her an opportunity of doing so, as she then
resolved, if possible, to rise. The wish of her soul was to be with her
father ere he could receive any intimation of what had happened. She
resolved to communicate to her benevolent host the incidents which had
placed her in such a situation; and she flattered herself, on hearing
them, he would accommodate her with the means of returning to Ireland:
if unable (unwilling she could not think she should find him) to do
this, she then intended writing to her father. This measure, however,
she fervently trusted, she should have no occasion to take, as she well
knew the shock such a letter would give him.

Contrary to the inclination of Eleanor, she rose the next day, and, as
soon as she was dressed, sent to request Mr. Howel's company. Eleanor
had informed her of her master's name. The chamber was on a ground
floor: before the windows were a row of neat white cottages, and behind
them rose a range of lofty hills, covered to the very summit with trees,
now just bursting into verdure. Before the cottage ran a clear murmuring
rivulet, at which some young girls were washing clothes, whilst others
spread them upon hedges, and all beguiled their labor with singing,
chatting, and laughing together.

"Ah! happy creatures!" cried Amanda, "screened by your native hills, you
know nothing of the vices or miseries of the great world; no snares lurk
beneath the flowery paths you tread, to wring your hearts with anguish,
and nip the early blossoms of your youth."

The old man appeared, and interrupted her meditations. When he beheld
the pale face of Amanda, beaming with angelic sweetness; when he saw her
emaciated hand extended towards him, while her soft voice uttered her
grateful acknowledgments, his emotions could not be suppressed: he
pressed her hand between his: tears rolled down the furrows of his face,
and he exclaimed, "I thank the Almighty for reviving this sweet flower."

A deep sob from Amanda proved how much he had affected her feelings.

He was alarmed, and hastily endeavored to compose his own, out of regard
to hers.

When a little composed, with grateful sweetness she continued to thank
him for his kindness. "Pity," said she, "is a sweet emotion to excite;
yet from you, without esteem, it would be humiliating; and esteem I
cannot flatter myself with obtaining, till I have accounted for being a
wretched wanderer." She then gave a brief account of her father and the
events of her life.

"Ah! my dear," cried the old man, as she finished her narrative, "you
have reason, indeed, to regret your knowledge of Belgrave; but the
sorrow he has occasioned you, I believe and trust, will be but
transient. That which he has given me will be lasting as my life. You
look astonished. Alas! but for him, I might now have been blessed with a
daughter as lovely and as amiable as Fitzalan's. I see you are too
delicate to express the curiosity my words have inspired, but I shall
not hesitate to gratify it. My relation will draw the tear of pity from
your eye; but the sorrows of others often reconcile us to our own."



CHAPTER XXXI.

  "And oft as ease and health retire,
     To breezy lawn or forest-deep,
   The friend shall view yon whitening spire,
     And 'mid the varied landscape weep;
   But thou who own'st that earthy bed,
     Ah! what will every dirge avail?"

   COLLINS'S ODE ON THOMSON.


Many years are now elapsed since I took up my residence in this
sequestered hamlet. I retired to it in distaste with a world whose vices
had robbed me of the dearest treasure of my heart. Two children cheered
my solitude, and in training them up to virtue, I lost the remembrance
of half my cares. My son, when qualified, was sent to Oxford, as a
friend had promised to provide for him in the church; but my daughter
was destined to retirement, not only from the narrowness of my income,
but from a thorough conviction it was best calculated to insure her
felicity. Juliana was the child of innocence and content. She knew of no
greater happiness than that of promoting mine, of no pleasures but what
the hamlet could afford, and was one of the gayest, as well as the
loveliest, of its daughters. One fatal evening I suffered her to go,
with some of her young companions, to a rustic ball, given by the
parents of Belgrave to their tenants, on coming down to Woodhouse, from
which they had been long absent. The graces of my child immediately
attracted the notice of their son. Though young in years, he was already
a professed libertine. The conduct of his father had set him an example
of dissipation which the volatility of his own disposition too readily
inclined him to follow. His heart immediately conceived the basest
schemes against Juliana, which the obscurity of her situation prompted
him to think might readily be accomplished. From this period he took
every opportunity of throwing himself in her way. My suspicions, or
rather my fears, were soon excited; for I knew not then the real
depravity of Belgrave; but I knew that an attachment between him and my
daughter would prove a source of uneasiness to both, from the disparity
fortune had placed between them. My task in convincing Juliana of the
impropriety of encouraging such an attachment was not a difficult one.
But, alas! I saw the conviction was attended with a pang of anguish,
which pierced me to the soul.

Belgrave, from the assumed softness and delicacy of his manners, had
made an impression on her heart which was not to be erased. Every
effort, however, which prudence could suggest, she resolved to make,
and, in compliance with my wishes, avoided Belgrave. This conduct soon
convinced him it would be a difficult matter to lull my caution, or
betray her innocence. And finding all his attempts to see, or convey a
letter to her, ineffectual, he departed with his parents from Woodhouse.

Juliana heard of his departure with a forced smile; but a starting tear,
and a colorless cheek, too clearly denoted to me the state of her mind.
I shall not attempt to describe my sufferings on witnessing hers. With
my pity was mixed a degree of veneration for that virtue which, in so
young a mind, could make such exertions against a passion disapproved of
by a parent. The evening of his departure, no longer under any
restraint, she walked out alone, and instinctively, perhaps, took the
road to Woodhouse. She wandered to its deepest glooms, and there gave
way to emotions which, from her efforts to suppress them, were become
almost too painful to support. The gloom of the wood was heightened by
the shades of evening, and a solemn stillness reigned around, well
calculated to inspire pensive tenderness. She sighed the name of
Belgrave in tremulous accents, and lamented their ever having met. A
sudden rustling among the trees startled her, and the next moment she
beheld him at her feet, exclaiming, "We have met, my Juliana, never more
to part."

Surprise and confusion so overpowered her senses, as to render her for
some time unable to attend to his raptures. When she grew composed, he
told her he was returned to make her honorably his, but to effect this
intention, a journey from the hamlet was requisite. She turned pale at
these words, and declared she never would consent to a clandestine
measure. This declaration did not discourage Belgrave; he knew the
interest he had in her heart, and this knowledge gave an energy to his
arguments, which gradually undermined the resolution of Juliana.
Already, he said, she had made a sufficient sacrifice to filial duty;
surely something was now due to love like his, which, on her account,
would cheerfully submit to innumerable difficulties. As he was under
age, a journey to Scotland was unavoidable, he said, and he would have
made me his confidant on the occasion, but that he feared my scrupulous
delicacy would have opposed his intentions, as contrary to parental
authority. He promised Juliana to bring her back to the hamlet
immediately after the ceremony; in short, the plausibility of his
arguments, the tenderness of his persuasions, at last produced the
effect he wished, and he received a promise from her to put herself
under his protection that very night.

But oh! how impossible to describe my agonies the ensuing morning when,
instead of my child, I found a letter in her room informing me of her
elopement; they were such as a fond parent, trembling for the fame and
happiness of his child, may conceive. My senses must have sunk beneath
them had they long continued; but Belgrave, according to his promise,
hastened back my child; and as I sat solitary and pensive in the
apartment she so often had enlivened, I suddenly beheld her at my feet,
supported by Belgrave, as his wife. So great a transition from despair
to comfort was almost too powerful for me to support. I asked my heart
was its present happiness real; I knelt, I received my child in my arms:
in those feeble arms I seemed to raise her with my heart to Heaven in
pious gratitude for her returning unsullied. Yet, when my first
transports were abated, I could not help regretting her ever having
consented to a clandestine union. I entreated Belgrave to write, in the
most submissive terms, to his father. He promised to comply with my
entreaty, yet hinted his fears that his compliance would be unattended
with the success I hoped. He requested, if this should be the case, I
would allow his wife to reside in the cottage till he was of age. Oh,
how pleasing a request to my heart! a month passed away in happiness,
only allayed by not hearing from his father. At the expiration of that
time he declared he must depart, having received orders to join his
regiment, but promised to return as soon as possible; he also promised
to write, but a fortnight elapsed and no letter arrived.

Juliana and I grew alarmed, but it was an alarm that only proceeded from
fears of his being ill. We were sitting one morning at breakfast, when
the stopping of a carriage drew us from the table.

"He is come!" said Juliana, "he is come!" and she flew to open the door;
when, instead of her expected Belgrave, she beheld his father, whose
dark and haughty visage proclaimed that he came on no charitable intent.
Alas! the occasion of his visit was too soon explained; he came to have
the ties which bound his son to Juliana broken. My child, on hearing
this, with firmness declared, that she was convinced any scheme his
cruelty might devise to separate them, the integrity, as well as the
tenderness of his son, would render abortive.

"Be not too confident of that, young lady," cried he, smiling
maliciously. He then proceeded to inform her that Belgrave, so beloved,
and in whose integrity she so much confided, had himself authorized his
intentions, being determined to avail himself of non-age, to have the
marriage broke.

Juliana could hear no more; she sunk fainting on the bosom of her
wretched father. Oh, what a situation was mine, when, as I clasped her
wildly to my heart and called upon her to revive, that heart whispered
me it was cruelty to wish she should! Alas! too soon she did, to a keen
perception of misery. The marriage was dissolved, and health and
happiness fled from her together; yet, from compassion to me, I saw she
struggled to support the burden of existence. Every remedy which had a
chance of prolonging it, I administered. But, alas! sorrow was rooted in
her heart, and it was only its removal, which was impossible, that could
have effected her recovery. Oh! how often have I stolen from my bed to
the door of her apartment, trembling, lest I should hear the last groan
escape her lips! How often have I then heard her deep convulsive sobs,
and reproached myself for selfishness at the moment for wishing the
continuance of her being, which was only wishing the continuance of her
misery! Yes, I have then said, I resign her, my Creator, unto thee. I
resign her from a certainty, that only with thee she can enjoy felicity.
But, alas! in a moment frail nature has triumphed over such a
resignation, and, prostrate on the ground, I have implored heaven,
either to spare the child, or take the father along with her.

She saw me unusually depressed one day, and proposed a walk, with a hope
that any exertion from her might recruit my spirits. But when I saw my
child, in the very bloom of life, unable to sustain her feeble frame;
when I felt her leaning on my almost nerveless arm for support, oh! how
intolerable was the anguish that rived my heart!--in vain, by soft
endearments, she strove to mitigate it. I averted my face and wept. She
motioned to go towards Woodhouse; we had got within sight of the wood,
when she complained of fatigue, and sat down. She had not been many
minutes in this situation, when she beheld, coming from the wood,
Belgrave, and a young girl whom she knew to be the steward's daughter.
The familiar manner in which they appeared conversing, left little room
to doubt of the footing on which they were. The hectic glow of Juliana's
complexion gave place to a deadly paleness. She arose and returned to
the cottage with me in silence, from whence, in less than a week, she
was borne to her grave.

Eight years, continued he, after a pause of some minutes, have elapsed
since her death, yet is her worth, her beauty, and her sufferings still
fresh in the remembrance of the inhabitants of the hamlet. In mine, oh!
Miss Fitzalan! how painfully, how pleasingly, do they still exist! No
noisome weed is allowed to intermingle in the high grass which has
overgrown her grave, at the head of which some kind hand has planted a
rose-tree, whose roses blossom, bloom, and die upon the sacred spot. My
child is gone before me to that earthly bed, to which I hoped she would
have smoothed my passage. Every spot in and about the cottage
continually recall her to my view. The ornaments of this little room
were all the work of that hand, long since mouldered into dust. In that
bed--he stopped, he groaned, and tears burst from him--in that bed,
resumed he (in a few minutes, though with a broken voice), she breathed
her last sigh; in that spot I knelt and received the last pressure of
her clay-cold lips! Of a calm night, when all is hushed to repose, I
love to contemplate that heaven, to which I have given an angel--an
angel to whom, I hope, shortly to be reunited; without such a hope,
surely of all men breathing, I should be the most wretched! Oh! how
cruel is it then, in those, who, by raising doubts of an hereafter,
attempt to destroy such a hope! Ye sons of error, hide the impious
doubts within your hearts; nor with wanton barbarity endeavor to deprive
the miserable of their last comfort. When this world presents nothing
but a dreary prospect, how cheering to the afflicted to reflect on that
future one, where all will be bright and happy! When we mourn over the
lost friends of our tenderest affections, oh! how consolatory to think
we shall be reunited to them again! How often has this thought suspended
my tears and stopped my sighs! Inspired by it with sudden joy, often
have I risen from the cold bed where Juliana lies, and exclaimed: "Oh
death! where is thy sting! Oh grave! where is thy victory!" both lost in
the certainty of again beholding my child.

Amanda shed tears of soft compassion for the fate of Juliana, and the
sorrows of her father, and felt, if possible, her gratitude to Heaven
increased, for preserving her from the snares of such a monster of
deceit and barbarity as Belgrave.

Howel relieved the anxiety she labored under about the means of
returning home, by assuring her he would not only supply her with a sum
sufficient for that purpose, but see her to Parkgate himself.

His name struck Amanda--it recalled to remembrance her Welsh friend.
She inquired, and heard that the young and tender curate was indeed the
son of her benefactor. "The softness of Henry's disposition," said his
father, "particularly qualifies him for the sacred function, which
prevents his having occasion to mingle in the concerns of the great
world. He writes me word that he is the simple shepherd of a simple
flock."

One day was all Amanda would devote to the purpose of recruiting her
strength. Nothing could prevail on her longer to defer her journey. A
chaise was accordingly procured, into which, at the first dawn of day,
she and Howel stepped, followed by the blessings of the affectionate
Eleanor, who, from her own wardrobe, had supplied Amanda with a few
necessaries to take along with her. The church-yard lay about a quarter
of a mile from the hamlet. It was only divided from the road by a low
and broken wall. Old trees shaded the grass-grown grave, and gave a kind
of solemn gloominess to the place.

"See," said Howel, suddenly taking Amanda's hand, and letting down the
glass, "see the bed where Juliana reposes."

The grave was distinguished by the rose-tree at its head. The morning
breeze gently agitated the high and luxuriant grass which covered it.
Amanda gazed on it with inexpressible sadness, but the emotions it
excited in her breast she endeavored to check, in pity to the wretched
father, who exclaimed, while tears trickled down his pale and furrowed
cheeks, "There lies my treasure."

She tried to divert him from his sorrows by talking of his son. She
described his little residence, which he had never seen. Thus, by
recalling to his recollection the blessings he yet possessed, checking
his anguish for those he had lost.

The weakness of Amanda would not allow them to travel expeditiously.
They slept one night on the road, and the next day, to her great joy,
arrived at Parkgate, as she had all along dreaded a pursuit from
Belgrave. A packet was to sail about four o'clock in the afternoon. She
partook of a slight repast with her benevolent friend, who attended her
to the boat, and with starting tears gave and received an adieu. She
promised to write as soon as she reached home, and assured him his
kindness would never be obliterated from her heart. He watched her till
she entered the ship, then returned to the inn, and immediately set off
for the hamlet, with a mind somewhat cheered by the consciousness of
having served a fellow-creature.



CHAPTER XXXII.

   "The breezy call of incense-breathing morn;
    The swallow twittering from its straw built shed;
   The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
    No more shall rouse him from his lowly bed."--GRAY.


The weakness which Amanda felt in consequence of her late illness, and
the excessive sickness she always suffered at sea, made her retire to
bed immediately on entering the packet, where she continued till the
evening of the second day, when, about five o'clock, she was landed at
the marine hotel. She directly requested the waiter to procure her a
messenger to go into town, which being done, she sent to engage a place
in the northern mail-coach, that went within a few miles of Castle
Carberry. If a place could not be procured, she ordered a chaise might
be hired, that would immediately set out with her, as the nights were
moonlight; but to her great joy the man speedily returned and informed
her he had secured a seat in the coach, which she thought a much safer
mode of travelling for her than in a hired carriage without any
attendant. She took some slight refreshment, and then proceeded to the
mail hotel, from whence, at eleven o'clock, she set out in company with
an old gentleman, who very composedly put on a large woollen nightcap,
buttoned up his great coat, and fell into a profound sleep. He was,
perhaps, just such a kind of companion as Amanda desired, as he neither
teased her with insipid conversation or impertinent questions, but left
her undisturbed to indulge her meditations during the journey. The
second evening, about eight o'clock, she arrived at the nearest town to
Castle Carberry, for which she directly procured a chaise and set off.
Her spirits were painfully agitated. She dreaded the shock her father
would receive from hearing of her sufferings, which it would be
impossible to conceal from him. She trembled at what they would both
feel on the approaching interview. Sometimes she feared he had already
heard of her distress, and a gloomy presage rose in her mind of the
anguish she should find him in on that account. Yet again, when she
reflected on the fortitude he had hitherto displayed in his trials,
under the present, she trusted, he would not lose it; and that he would
not only support himself, but her, and bind up those wounds in her
heart which perfidy, cruelty, and ingratitude had made. And oh! thought
she to herself, when I find myself again in his arms, no temptation
shall allure me from them--allure me into a world where my peace and
fame have already suffered such a wreck. Thus alternately fluctuating
between hope and fear, Amanda pursued the road to Castle Carberry; but
the latter sensation was predominant in her mind.

The uncommon gloominess of the evening added to her dejection--the dark
and lowering clouds threatened a violent storm--already a shower of
sleet and rain was falling, and everything looked cold and cheerless.
Amanda thought the cabins infinitely more wretched than when she had
first seen them. Many of their miserable inhabitants were now gathering
their little flocks together, and driving them under shelter from the
coming storm. The laborers were seen hastening to their respective
homes, whilst the ploughboy, with a low and melancholy whistle, drove
his slow and wearied team along. The sea looked rough and black, and as
Amanda drew nearer to it, she heard it breaking with fury against the
rocks. She felt herself extremely ill. She had left the hamlet ere her
fever was subdued, and fatigue, joined to want of rest, now brought it
back with all its former violence. She longed for rest and quiet, and
trusted and believed these would conquer her malady.

The chaise stopped at the entrance of the lawn, as she wished to have
her father prepared for her arrival by one of the servants. On alighting
from it, it returned to town, and she struck into the grove, and by a
winding path reached the castle. Her limbs trembled, and she knocked
with an unsteady hand at the door. The sound was awfully reverberated
through the building. Some minutes elapsed and no being appeared,
neither could she perceive a ray of light from any of the windows. The
wind blew the rain directly in her face, and her weakness increased, so
that she could scarcely stand. She recollected a small door at the back
of the castle, which led to the apartments appropriated to the
domestics. She walked feebly to this, to try and gain admittance, and
found it open. She proceeded through a long dark passage, on each side
of which were small rooms, till she came to the kitchen. Here she found
the old woman sitting (to whom the care of the castle was usually
consigned), before a large turf fire. On hearing a footstep, she looked
behind, and when she saw Amanda, started, screamed, and betrayed
symptoms of the utmost terror.

"Are you frightened at seeing me, my good Kate!" cried Amanda. "Oh,
holy Virgin!" replied Kate, crossing her breast, "one could not help
being frightened, to have a body steal unawares upon them."

"My father is well, I hope?" said Amanda.

"Alack-a-day," cried Kate, "the poor dear captain has gone through a sea
of troubles since you went away." "Is he ill?" exclaimed Amanda. "Ill,
ay, and the Lord knows he has reason enough to be ill. But, my dear
jewel, do you know nothing at all of what has happened at the castle
since you went away?" "No, nothing in the world." "Heaven help you,
then," said Kate; "but, my dear soul, sit down upon this little stool,
and warm yourself before the fire, for you look pale and cold, and I
will tell you all about it. You must know, about three weeks ago, my
Johnaten brought the captain a letter from the post-office; he knew by
the mark it was a letter from England, and so, when he comes into the
kitchen to me, 'Katie,' says he, 'the captain has got something now to
cheer his spirits, for he has heard from miss, I am sure.' So, to be
sure, I said I was glad of it, for, you must know, my dear, he was low
in spirits, and peaking, as one may say, for a few days before. Well, it
was always my custom, when he got a letter from England, to go to him as
soon as I thought he had read it, and ask about you; so I put on a clean
apron, and up I goes to the parlor, and I opened the door, and walked
in. Well, sir, says I, I hope there is good news from miss?"

"The captain was sitting with the letter open before him on a table; he
had a handkerchief to his eyes, but when I spoke he took it down, and I
saw his face, which generally looked so pale, now quite flushed.

"'This letter, my good Kate,' says he, 'is not from my daughter, but I
am glad you are come, for I wanted to speak to you. I am going to leave
the castle, and I want you to look over all the things, and see they are
in the same state as when I came to it. I shall then settle with the
servants I hired, and discharge them.' I was struck all of a heap. The
Lord forbid you should be going to leave us, sir, says I."

"The captain got up--he walked to the window--he sighed heavily, and I
saw a tear upon his cheek. He spoke to me again, and begged I would do
as he had desired me. So, with a heavy heart, I went and told my
Johnaten the sad tidings, who was as sorry as myself, for he loved the
captain dearly, not only from his being so mild a gentleman, but because
he was a soldier, as he himself had been in his youth--and a soldier has
always a love for one of his cloth. And Johnaten had often said he knew
the captain in America, and that he was a brave officer and a real
gentleman.

"Well, the captain came out to us, and said he was to be Lord Cherbury's
agent no longer. And being a good penman, he settled all his own
accounts and the servants in the course of the day, and discharged them,
giving them both characters, which I warrant will soon get them good
places again. Well, he said he must set off for England the next day. So
everything was got ready; but in the middle of the night he was seized
with spasms in his stomach. He thought himself dying, and at last rung
the bell; and as good luck would have it, my Johnaten heard it, and went
up to him directly. Had he been without relief much longer, I think he
would have died. Johnaten called me up. I had a choice bottle of old
brandy lying by me, so I soon blew up a fire, and heating a cup of it,
gave it to him directly. He grew a little easier, but was too bad in the
morning to think of going on his journey, which grieved him sadly. He
got up, however, and wrote a large packet, which he sent by Johnaten to
the post-office; packed up some things in a trunk, and put his seal upon
his desk. He said he would not stay in the castle on any account, so he
went out as soon as Johnaten came back from the post-office, leaning
upon his arm, and got a little lodging at Thady Byrne's cabin."
"Merciful heaven!" exclaimed the agonized and almost fainting Amanda,
"support and strengthen me in this trying hour! enable me to comfort my
unfortunate father: preserve me from sinking, that I may endeavor to
assist him." Tears accompanied this fervent ejaculation, and her voice
was lost in sobs.

"Alack-a-day," said the good-natured Kate, "now don't take it so sadly
to heart, my jewel; all is not lost that is in danger, and there is as
good fish in the sea as ever were caught; and what though this is a
stormy night, to-morrow may be a fine day. Why, the very first sight of
you will do the captain good. Come, cheer up; I will give you some nice
hot potatoes for your supper, for you see the pot is just boiling, and
some fresh-churned buttermilk; and by the time you have eaten it,
Johnaten perhaps may come back--he is gone to town to get some beef for
our Sunday dinner--and then I will go with you to Thady's myself."

"No, no," cried Amanda, "every minute I now stay from my father seems an
age. Too long has he been neglected--too long without a friend to soothe
or attend him. Oh grant, gracious Heaven! grant," raising her clasped
hands, "that I may not have returned too late to be of use to him!"

Kate pressed her to stay for Johnaten's return; but the agony of
suspense she endured till she saw her father, made her regardless of
walking alone, though the hour was late, dark, and tempestuous. Kate,
finding her entreaties vain, attended her to the door, and assured her,
if Johnaten returned soon, she would go over herself to the cabin, and
see if she could do anything for her. Amanda pressed her hand, but was
unable to speak. Ill, weak, and dispirited, she had flattered herself,
on returning to her father, she would receive relief, support, and
consolation; instead of which, heart-broken as she was, she now found
she must give, or at least attempt giving them herself. She had before
experienced distress, but the actual pressure of poverty she had never
yet felt. Heretofore she had always a comfortable asylum to repair to,
but now she not only found herself deprived of that, but of all means of
procuring one, or even the necessaries of life. But if she mourned for
herself, how much more severely did she mourn for her adored father!
Could she have procured him comfort, could she in any degree have
alleviated his situation, the horrors of her own would have been
lessened; but of this she had not the slightest means or prospect. Her
father, she knew, possessed the agency too short a time to be enabled to
save any money, particularly as he was indebted to Lord Cherbury ere he
obtained it. She knew of no being to whom she could apply in his behalf.
Lord Cherbury was the only person on whom he depended in his former
misfortunes for relief. His friendship, it was evident, by depriving her
father of the agency, was totally lost; and to the disconsolate Amanda
no way appeared of escaping "want, worldly want, that hungry meagre
fiend, who was already close at their heels, and followed them in view."

The violence of the storm had increased, but it was slight in comparison
of that which agitated the bosom of Amanda. The waves dashed with a
dreadful noise against the rocks, and the angry spirit of the waters
roared. The rain fell heavily, and soon soaked through the thin clothing
of Amanda. She had about half a mile to walk, through a rugged road,
bounded on one side by rocks, and on the other by wild and dreary
fields. She knew the people with whom her father lodged; they were of
the lowest order, and on her first arrival at Castle Carberry, in
extreme distress, from which she had relieved them. She recollected
their cabin was more decent than many others she had seen, yet still a
most miserable dwelling. Wretched as it was, she was glad when she
reached it, for the violence of the storm, and the loneliness of the
road, had terrified her. The cabin was but a few yards from the beach.
There were two windows in front. On one side a pile of turf, and on the
other a shed for the pigs, in which they now lay grunting. The shutters
were fastened on the windows, to prevent their being shaken by the wind;
but through the crevices Amanda saw a light, which convinced her the
inhabitants were not yet retired to repose. She feared her suddenly
appearing before her father, in his present weak state, might have a
dangerous effect upon him, and she stood before the cabin, considering
how she should have her arrival broke to him. She at last tapped gently
at the door, and then retreated a few steps from it, shivering with the
wet and cold. In the beautiful language of Solomon, she might have said,
"Her head was filled with dew, and her locks with the drops of the
night." As she expected, the door was almost instantly opened. A boy
appeared, whom she knew to be the son of the poor people. She held up
her handkerchief, and beckoned him to her. He hesitated, as if afraid to
advance, till she called him softly by his name. This assured him. He
approached, and expressed astonishment at finding she was the person who
called him. She inquired for her father, and heard he was ill, and then
asleep. She desired the boy to enter the cabin before her, and caution
his parents against making any noise that might disturb him. He obeyed
her, and she followed him.

She found the father of the family blowing a turf fire, to hasten the
boiling of a large pot of potatoes. Three ragged children were sitting
before it, watching impatiently for their supper. Their mother was
spinning, and their old grandmother making bread. The place was small
and crowded. Half the family slept below, and the other half upon a
loft, to which they ascended by a ladder, and upon which a number of
fowls were now familiarly roosting, cackling at every noise made below.
Fitzalan's room was divided from the rest of the cabin by a thin
partition of wood plastered with pictures of saints and crosses.

"Save you kindly, madam," said the mistress of the mansion to Amanda, on
entering it.

Byrne got up, and, with many scrapes, offered her his little stool
before the fire. She thanked him, and accepted it. His wife,
notwithstanding the obligations she lay under to her, seemed to think as
much respect was not due to her as when mistress of the castle, and
therefore never left her seat, or quitted her spinning, on her entrance.

"My poor father is very ill," said Amanda. "Why, indeed, the captain has
had a bad time of it," answered Mrs. Byrne, jogging her wheel. "To be
sure he has suffered some little change; but your great folks, as well
as your simple folks, must look to that in this world; and I don't know
why they should not, for they are not better than the others, I
believe."

"Arrah, Norah, now," said Byrne, "I wonder you are not shy of speaking
so to the poor young lady."

Amanda's heart was surcharged with grief--she felt suffocating. She
arose, unlatched the door, and the keen, cold air a little revived her.
Tears burst forth, she indulged them freely, and they lightened the load
on her heart. She asked for a glass of water. A glass was not readily to
be procured. Byrne told her she had better take a noggin of buttermilk.
This she refused, and he brought her one of water.

She now conquered the reluctance she felt to speak to the uncouth Mrs.
Byrne, and consulted her on the best method of mentioning her arrival to
her father. Mrs. Byrne said he had been in bed some time, but his sleep
was often interrupted, and she would now step into the chamber, and try
if he was awake. She accordingly did so, but returned in a moment, and
said he still slept.

Amanda wished to see him in his present situation, to judge how far his
illness had affected him: she stepped softly into the room. It was small
and low, lighted by a glimmering rush-light, and a declining fire. The
furniture was poor and scanty; in one corner stood a wooden bedstead,
without curtains or any shade, and on this, under miserable bedclothes,
lay poor Fitzalan. Amanda shuddered, as she looked round this chamber of
wretchedness. "Oh! my father," she cried to herself, "is this the only
refuge you could find?" She went to the bed, she leaned over it, and
beheld his face. It was deadly pale and emaciated; he moaned in his
sleep, as if his mind was dreadfully oppressed. Suddenly he began to
move; he sighed, "Amanda, my dearest child, shall I never more behold
you?"

Amanda was obliged to hasten from the room, to give vent to her
emotions. She sobbed, she wrung her hands, and in the bitterness of her
soul exclaimed, "Alas! alas! I have returned too late to save him."

They soon after heard him stir. She requested Mrs. Byrne to go in, and
cautiously inform him she was come. She complied, and in a moment Amanda
heard him say, "Thank Heaven! my darling is returned." "You may now go
in, miss," said Mrs. Byrne, coming from the room. Amanda went in. Her
father was raised in the bed; his arms were extended to receive her. She
threw herself into them. Language was denied them both, but tears, even
more expressive than words, evinced their feelings. Fitzalan first
recovered his voice. "My prayer," said he, "is granted. Heaven has
restored my child to smooth the pillow of sickness, and soothe the last
moments of existence." "Oh, my father!" cried Amanda, "have pity on me,
and mention not those moments. Exert yourself for your child; who in
this wide world has she but thee to comfort, support and befriend her?"
"Indeed," said he, "for your sake I wish they may be far distant." He
held her at a little distance from him; he surveyed her face, her form,
her altered complexion. Her fallen features appeared to shock him. He
clasped her again to his bosom, "The world, my child, I fear," cried he,
"has used thee most unkindly." "Oh, most cruelly," sobbed Amanda. "Then,
my girl, let the reflection of that world, where innocence and virtue
will meet a proper reward, console you. Here they are often permitted to
be tried; but as gold is tried and purified by fire, so are they by
adversity. 'Those whom God loves, He chastises.' Let this idea give you
patience and fortitude under every trial. Never forego your dependence
on Him, though calamity should pursue you to the very brink of the
grave; but be comforted by the assurance He has given, that those who
meekly bear the cross He lays upon them, shall be rewarded; that He will
wipe away all tears from their eyes, and swallow up death in victory.
Though a soldier from my youth, and accustomed to all the licentiousness
of camps, I never forgot my Creator; and I now find the benefit of not
having done so. Now, when my friends desert, the world frowns upon me,
when sickness and sorrow have overwhelmed me, religion stands me in good
stead; consoles me for what I lost, and softens the remembrance of the
past, by presenting prospects of future brightness."

So spoke Fitzalan the pious sentiments of his soul, and they calmed the
agitations of Amanda. He found her clothes were wet, and insisted on her
changing them directly. In the bundle the good Eleanor gave her, was a
change of linen, and a cotton wrapper, which she now put on, in a small
closet, or rather shed adjoining her father's room. A good fire was made
up, a better light brought in, and some bread and wine from a small
cupboard in the room, which contained Fitzalan's things, set before her,
of which he made her immediately partake. He took a glass of wine
himself from her, and tried to cheer her spirits. "He had been daily
expecting her arrival," he said, "and had had a pallet and bedclothes
kept airing for her. He hoped she would not be dissatisfied with
sleeping in the closet." "Ah! my father," she cried, "can you ask your
daughter such a question?" She expressed her fears of injuring him, by
having disturbed his repose. "No," he said, "it was a delightful
interruption. It was a relief from pain and anxiety."

Lord Cherbury, he informed her, had written him a letter, which pierced
him to the soul. "He accused me," said he, "of endeavoring to promote a
marriage between you and Lord Mortimer; of treacherously trying to
counteract his views, and take advantage of his unsuspecting friendship.
I was shocked at these accusations. But how excruciating would my
anguish have been had I really deserved them. I soon determined upon the
conduct I should adopt, which was to deny the justice of his charges,
and resign his agency--for any further dealings with a man who could
think me capable of meanness or duplicity, was not to be thought of. My
accounts were always in a state to allow me to resign at a moment's
warning. It was my intention to go to England, put them into Lord
Cherbury's hands, and take my Amanda from a place where she might meet
with indignities as little merited by her as those her father had
received were by him. A sudden and dreadful disorder, which I am
convinced the agitation of my mind brought on, prevented my executing
this intention. I wrote, however, to his lordship, acquainting him
with my resignation of his agency, and transmitting my accounts and
arrears. I sent a letter to you at the same time, with a small
remittance for your immediate return, and then retired from the castle;
for I felt a longer continuance in it would degrade me to the character
of a mean dependant, and intimate a hope of being reinstated in my
former station; which, should Lord Cherbury now offer, I should reject,
for ignoble must be the mind which could accept of favors from those who
doubted its integrity. Against such conduct my feelings revolt. Poverty,
to me, is more welcome than independence, when purchased with the loss
of esteem."

Amanda perceived her father knew nothing of her sufferings, but supposed
her return occasioned by his letter. She therefore resolved, if
possible, not to undeceive him, at least till his health was better. The
night was far advanced, and her father, who saw her ill, and almost
sinking with fatigue, requested her to retire to rest. She accordingly
did. Her bed was made up in the little closet. Mrs. Byrne assisted her
to undress, and brought her a bowl of whey, which, she trusted, with a
comfortable sleep, would carry off her feverish symptoms, and enable
her to be her father's nurse. Her rest, however, was far from being
comfortable. It was broken by horrid dreams, in which she beheld the
pale and emaciated figure of her father suffering the most exquisite
tortures; and when she started from these dreams, she heard his deep
moans, which were like daggers going through her heart. She arose once
or twice, supposing him in pain, but when she went to his bed she found
him asleep, and was convinced, from that circumstance, his pain was more
of the mental than the bodily kind. She felt extremely ill. Her bones
were sore from the violent motion of the carriage, and she fancied rest
would do her good: but when, towards morning, she was inclined to take
some, she was completely prevented by the noise the children made on
rising. Fearful of neglecting her father, she arose soon after herself,
but was scarcely able to put on her clothes from excessive weakness. She
found him in bed, but awake. He welcomed her with a languid smile, and
extending his hand, which was reduced to mere skin and bone, said, "that
joy was a greater enemy to repose than grief, and had broken his earlier
than usual that morning." He made her sit down by him. He gazed on her
with unutterable tenderness. "In Divine language," cried he, "I may
say--'Let me see thy countenance; let me hear thy voice, but sweet is
thy voice, and thy countenance is comely and my soul has pleasure in
gazing on it.'" The kettle was already boiling. He had procured a few
necessaries for himself, such as tea-things and glasses. Amanda placed
the tea-table by the bed-side, and gave him his breakfast. Whilst
receiving it from her, his eyes were raised to Heaven, as if in thankful
gratitude for the inestimable blessing he still possessed in such a
child. After breakfast, he said he would rise, and Amanda retired into
the garden till he was dressed, if that could deserve the appellation,
which was only a slip of ground planted with cabbages and potatoes, and
enclosed with loose stones and blackberry bushes. The spring was already
advanced. The day was fine. The light and fleecy clouds were gradually
dispersing, and the sky, almost as far as the eye could reach, was of a
clear blue. The dusky green of the blackberry bushes was enlivened by
the pale purple of their blossoms. Tufts of primroses grew beneath their
shelter. The fields, which rose with a gentle swell above the garden,
were covered with a vivid green, spangled with daisies, buttercups, and
wild honeysuckles, and the birds, as they fluttered from spray to spray,
with notes of gladness hailed the genial season.

But neither the season nor its charms could now, as heretofore, delight
Amanda. She felt forlorn and disconsolate; deprived of the comforts of
life, and no longer interested in the objects about her, she sat down
upon a stone at the end of the garden, and she thought the fresh breeze
from the sea cooled the feverish heat of her blood. "Alas!" she said to
herself, "at this season last year, how different was my situation from
the present!" Though not in affluence, neither was she then in absolute
distress; and she had besides the comfortable hope of having her
father's difficulties removed. Like Burns' mountain daisy, she had then
cheerfully glinted forth amidst the storm, because, she thought that
storm would be soon overblown; but now, she saw herself on the point of
being finally crushed beneath the rude pressure of poverty.

She recollected the words which had escaped her when she last saw Tudor
Hall, and she thought they were dictated by something like a prophetic
spirit. She had then said, as she leaned upon a little gate which looked
into the domain: "When these woods again glow with vegetation; when
every shade resounds with harmony, and the flowers and the blossoms
spread their foliage to the sun, ah! where will Amanda be! far distant,
in all probability, from these delightful shades; perhaps deserted and
forgotten by their master."

She was indeed far distant from them; deserted, and if not forgotten, at
least only remembered with contempt by their master--remembered with
contempt by Lord Mortimer. It was an idea of intolerable anguish. His
name was no more repeated as a charm to soothe her grief; his idea
increased her misery.

She continued indulging her melancholy meditations, till informed by one
of the children the captain was ready to receive her. She hastened in,
and found him in an old high-backed chair, and the ravages of care and
sickness were now more visible to her than they had been the night
before. He was reduced to a mere skeleton. "The original brightness of
his form" was quite gone, and he seemed already on the very brink of the
grave. The agony of Amanda's feelings was expressed on her
countenance--he perceived and guessed its source. He endeavored to
compose and comfort her. She mentioned a physician; he tried to dissuade
her from the idea of bringing one, but she besought him in compassion to
her to consent, and overcome by her earnestness, he at last promised the
ensuing day she should do as she wished.

It was now Sunday, and he desired the service of the day to be read. A
small Bible lay on the table before him, and Amanda complied with his
desire.

In the first lesson were these words: "Leave thy fatherless children to
me, and I will be their father." The tears gushed from Fitzalan; he laid
his hand, which appeared convulsed with agitation, on the book. "Oh!
what words of comfort!" cried he, "are these; what transport do they
convey to the heart of a parent burdened with anxiety! Yes, merciful
Power, I will, with grateful joy, commit my children to thy care, for
thou art the friend who will never forsake them." He desired Amanda to
proceed; her voice was weak and broken, and the tears, in spite of her
efforts to restrain them, stole down her cheeks.

When she had concluded, her father drew her towards him, and inquired
into all that had passed during her stay in London. She related to him,
without reserve, the various incidents she had met with previous to her
going to the marchioness's; acknowledged the hopes and fears she
experienced on Lord Mortimer's account, and the argument he had made use
of to induce her to a clandestine union, with her positive refusal to
such a step.

A beam of pleasure illumined the pallid face of Fitzalan. "You acted,"
said he, "as I expected; and I glory in my child, and feel more
indignation than ever against Lord Cherbury for his mean suspicions."
Amanda was convinced those suspicions had been infused into his mind by
those who had struck at her peace and fame. This idea, however, as well
as their injuries to her, she meant if possible to conceal. When her
father, therefore, desired her to proceed in her narrative, her voice
began to falter, her mind became disturbed, and her countenance betrayed
her agitation. The remembrance of the dreadful scenes she had gone
through at the marchioness's made her involuntarily shudder, and she
wished to conceal them forever from her father, but found it impossible
to evade his minute and earnest inquiries.

"Gracious Heaven!" said he, on hearing them, "what complicated cruelty
and deceit; inhuman monsters! to have no pity on one so young, so
innocent, so helpless. The hand of sorrow has indeed pressed heavy on
thee, my child; but, after the marchioness's former conduct, I cannot be
surprised at any action of hers."

He gave her a note to discharge her debt to Howel, and begged she would
immediately write and return his grateful acknowledgments for his
benevolence. She feared he inconvenienced himself by parting with the
note; but he assured her he could spare it extremely well, as he had
been an economist, and had still sufficient money to support them a few
months longer in their present situation.

Amanda now inquired when he had heard from her brother. She said he had
not answered her last letter, and that his silence had made her very
uneasy.

"Alas! poor Oscar!" exclaimed Fitzalan, "he has not been exempt from his
portion of distress."

He took a letter, as he spoke, from his pocket-book, and presented it to
Amanda. She opened it with a trembling hand, and read as follows:--

    MY DEAR FATHER,--Particular circumstances prevented my answering
    your last letter as soon as I could have wished; and, indeed,
    the intelligence I have to communicate makes me almost averse to
    write at all. As my situation, however, must sooner or later be
    known to you, I think it better to inform you of it myself, as I
    can, at the same time, reconcile you, I trust, in some degree to
    it, by assuring you I bear it patiently, and that it has not
    been caused by any action which can degrade my character as a
    man or a soldier. I have long, indeed, had a powerful enemy to
    cope with, and, it will no doubt surprise you to hear, that that
    enemy is Colonel Belgrave. An interference in the cause of
    humanity provoked his insolence and malignity. Neither his words
    nor looks were bearable, and I was irritated by them to send him
    a challenge. Had I reflected, the probable consequences of such
    a step must have occurred and prevented my taking it; but
    passion blinded my reason, and in yielding to its dictates do I
    hold myself alone culpable throughout the whole affair. I gave
    him the opportunity his malicious heart had long desired, of
    working my ruin. I was, by his order, put under an immediate
    arrest. A court-martial was held, and I was broke for disrespect
    to a superior officer; but it was imagined by the whole corps I
    should have been restored. I, however, knew too much of
    Belgrave's disposition to believe this would be the case; but
    never shall he triumph in the distress he has caused by
    witnessing it. I have already settled on the course I shall
    pursue, and ere this letter reaches you I shall have quitted my
    native kingdom. Forgive me, my dear sir, for not consulting you
    relative to my conduct. But I feared, if I did, your tenderness
    would interfere to prevent it, or lead you to distress yourself
    on my account; and to think that you and my dear sister were
    deprived of the smallest comfort, by my means, would be a source
    of intolerable anguish to me. Blessed as I am with youth,
    health, and fortitude, I have no doubt but I shall make my way
    through the rugged path of life extremely well. A parting visit
    I avoided, from the certainty of its being painful to us both. I
    shall write as soon as I reach my place of destination. I
    rejoice to hear Amanda is so happily situated with Lady
    Greystock: may your suffering and her merit be rewarded as they
    deserve! Suffer not, I entreat, too tender an anxiety for my
    interest to disturb your repose. I again repeat I have no doubt
    but what I shall do well. That Providence, in which I trust,
    will, I humbly hope, support me through every difficulty, and
    again unite me to the friends so valuable to my heart. Farewell,
    my dear father, and, be assured, with unabated respect and
    gratitude, I subjoin myself your affectionate son,

    OSCAR FITZALAN.

This letter was a cruel shock to Amanda. She hoped to have procured her
brother's company, and that her father's melancholy and her own would
have been alleviated by it. Sensible of the difficulties Oscar must
undergo, without friends or fortune, the tears stole down her cheeks,
and she almost dreaded she could no more behold him.

Her father besought her to spare him the misery of seeing those tears.
He leaned upon her for comfort and support, he said, and bid her not
disappoint him. She hastily wiped away her tears; and though she could
not conquer, tried to suppress her anguish.

Johnaten and Kate called, in the course of the day, to know if they
could be of any service to Fitzalan. Amanda engaged Johnaten to go to
town the next morning for a physician, and gave Kate the key of a
wardrobe where she had left some things, which she desired her to pack
up and send to the cabin in the evening. Mrs. Byrne gave them one of her
fowls for dinner, and Fitzalan assumed an appearance of cheerfulness,
and the evening wore away somewhat better than the preceding part of the
day had done.

Johnaten was punctual in obeying Amanda's commands, and brought a
physician the next morning to the cabin. Fitzalan appeared much worse,
and Amanda rejoiced that she had been resolute in procuring him advice.

She withdrew from the room soon after the physician had entered it, and
waited without in trembling anxiety for his appearance. When he came out
she asked, with a faltering voice, his opinion, and besought him not to
deceive her from pity to her feelings.

He shook his head, and assured her he would not deviate from truth for
the world. The captain was indeed in a ticklish situation, he said, but
the medicines he had ordered, and sea bathing, he doubted not, would set
all to rights; it was fortunate, he added, she delayed no longer sending
for him; mentioned twenty miraculous cures he had performed; admired the
immense fine prospect before the door, and wished her good-morning, with
what he thought quite a degagee and irresistible air.

She was willing to believe his assurance of her father's recovery; as
the drowning wretch will grasp at every straw, she eagerly embraced the
shadow of comfort, and in the recovery of her father, looked forward to
consolation for all her sorrows. She struggled against her own illness,
that no assiduous attention might be wanting to him; and would have sat
up with him at night, had he not positively insisted on her going to
bed.

The medicines he was ordered he received from her hands, but with a look
which seemed to express his conviction of their inefficacy. All,
however, she wished him to do, he did, and often raised his eyes to
Heaven, as if to implore it to reward her care, and yet a little longer
spare him to this beloved child, whose happiness so much depended on the
prolongation of his existence.

Four days passed heavily away, and the assurances of the physician, who
was punctual in his attendance, lost their effect upon Amanda. Her
father was considerably altered for the worse, and unable to rise,
except for a few minutes in the evening, to have his bed made. He
complained of no pain or sickness, but seemed sinking beneath an easy
and gradual decay. It was only at intervals he could converse with his
daughter. His conversation was then calculated to strengthen her
fortitude and resignation, and prepare her for an approaching melancholy
event. Whenever she received a hint of it, her agony was inexpressible;
but pity for her feelings could not prevent her father from using every
opportunity that occurred for laying down rules and precepts which might
be serviceable to her when without a guide or protector. Sometimes he
adverted to the past, but this was only done to make her more cautious
in the future.

He charged her to avoid any further intimacy with Lord Mortimer, as an
essential measure for the restoration of her peace, the preservation of
her fame, and the removal of Lord Cherbury's unjust suspicions, "who
will find at last," continued he, "how much he wronged me and may,
perhaps, feel compunction when beyond his power to make reparation."

To all he desired, Amanda promised a religious observance; she thought
it unnecessary in him, indeed, to desire her to avoid Lord Mortimer,
convinced as she was that he had utterly abandoned her; but the grief
this desertion occasioned, she believed she should soon overcome was her
father once restored to health, for then she would have no time for
useless regrets or retrospections, but be obliged to pass every hour in
active exertions for his support and comfort.

A week passed away in this manner at the cabin--a week of wretchedness
to Amanda, who perceived her father growing weaker and weaker. She
assisted him, as usual, to rise one evening for a few minutes; when
dressed, he complained of an oppression in his breathing, and desired
to be supported to the air. Amanda with difficulty led him to the
window, which she opened, and seated him by it, then knelt before him,
and putting her arms round his waist, fastened her eyes with anxious
tenderness upon his face.

The evening was serenely fine; the sun was setting in all its glory, and
the sea, illumined by its parting beams, looked like a sheet of
burnished silver.

"What a lovely scene!" cried Fitzalan faintly; "with what majesty does
the sun retire from the world! the calmness which attends its departure
is such, I think, as must attend the exit of a good man." He paused for
a few minutes, then raising his eyes to heaven, exclaimed--"Merciful
Power! had it pleased thee, I could have wished yet a little longer to
have been spared to this young creature; but thy will, not mine, be
done! Confiding in thy mercy, I leave her with some degree of
fortitude."

Amanda's tears began to flow as he spoke. He raised his hand, on which
they fell, and, kissing them off, exclaimed--"Precious drops! My Amanda,
weep not too bitterly for me--like a weary traveller, think that rest
must now be acceptable to me."

She interrupted him, and conjured him to change the discourse. He shook
his head mournfully, pressed her hands between his, and said:--

"Yet a little longer, my child, bear with it;" then bade her assure her
brother, whenever they met, which he trusted and believed would be soon,
he had his father's blessing,--"the only legacy," he cried, "I can leave
him, but one, I am confident, he merits, and will value. To you, my
girl, I have no doubt he will prove a friend and guardian. You may both,
perhaps, be amply recompensed for all your sorrows. Providence is just
in all its dealings, and may yet render the lovely offspring of my
Malvina truly happy."

He appeared exhausted by speaking, and Amanda assisted him to lie down,
entreating him, at the same time, to take some drops. He consented, and
while she was pouring them out at a little table, her back to the bed,
she heard a deep groan. The bottle dropped from her hand, she sprang to
the bed, and perceived her father lying senseless on the pillow. She
imagined he had fainted, and screamed out for assistance. The woman of
the cabin, her husband, and mother, all rushed into the room. He was
raised up, his temples and hands chafed, and every remedy within the
house applied for his recovery, but in vain--his spirit had forsaken
its tenement of clay forever.

Amanda, when convinced of this, wrung her hands together; then, suddenly
opening them, she clasped the lifeless body to her breast, and sunk
fainting beside it.



CHAPTER XXXIII.


She remained a considerable time in a state of insensibility, and, when
recovered, she found herself in a bed laid upon the floor in a corner of
the outside room. Her senses were at first confused--she felt as if
waking from a disagreeable dream, but in a few minutes a perfect
recollection of what had passed returned. She saw some one sitting by
the bed--she raised herself a little, and perceived Sister Mary. "This
is, indeed, a charitable visit," cried she, extending her hand, and
speaking in a low broken voice. The good-natured nun jumped from her
seat on hearing her speak, and embraced her most tenderly. Her caresses
affected Amanda inexpressibly--she dropped her head upon her breast, and
wept with a vehemence which relieved the oppression of her heart.

Sister Mary said she had never heard of her return to the country, till
Mrs. Byrne came to St. Catherine's for a few sprigs of rosemary to strew
over the poor captain. She had returned with her then to the cabin, to
try if she could be of any service, and to invite her, in the name of
the prioress and the whole sisterhood, to the convent.

Amanda thanked her for her kind invitation, which, she said, she must
decline accepting for a few days, till she had performed all her duties,
which, in a voice half stifled by sobs, she added, "the grave would soon
terminate." She was sorry, she said, that they had undressed her, and
requested Sister Mary to assist her in putting on her clothes. The
sister tried to dissuade her from this, but soon found she was
determined to spend the remainder of the night in her father's
apartment. She accordingly dressed her--for Amanda's trembling hands
refused their accustomed office--and made her take a glass of wine and
water, ere she suffered her to move towards the door. Amanda was
astonished, as she approached it, to hear a violent noise, like the
mingled sounds of laughing and singing. Her soul recoiled at the
tumult, and she asked Sister Mary, with a countenance of terror, "what
it meant?" She replied, "it was only some friends and neighbors doing
honor to the captain." Amanda hastily opened the door, anxious to
terminate the suspense these words occasioned, but, how great was her
horror, when she perceived a set of the meanest rustics assembled round
the bed, with every appearance of inebriety, laughing, shouting, and
smoking. What a savage scene for a child, whose heart was bursting with
grief! She shrieked with horror, and, flinging herself into the arms of
Sister Mary, conjured her to have the room cleared.

Sister Mary, from being accustomed to such scenes, felt neither horror
nor disgust: she complied, however, with the request of Amanda, and
besought them to depart, saying: "that Miss Fitzalan was a stranger to
their customs, and besides, poor thing, quite beside herself with
grief." They began to grumble at the proposal of removing; they had made
preparations for spending a merry night, and Mrs. Byrne said, "if she
had thought things would have turned out in this way, the captain might
have found some other place to die in--for the least one could have,
after his giving them so much trouble, was a little enjoyment with one's
neighbors at the latter end." Johnaten and Kate, who were among the
party, joined their entreaties to Sister Mary's, and she, to tempt them
to compliance, said, "that in all probability they would soon have
another and a better opportunity for making merry than the present."
They at length retired, and Sister Mary and Amanda were left alone in
the chamber of death. The dim light which remained cast a glimmering
shade upon the face of Fitzalan, that added to its ghastliness. Amanda
now indulged in all the luxury of grief, and found in Sister Mary a
truly sympathetic friend, for the good nun was famed throughout the
little circle of her acquaintance for weeping with those that wept, and
rejoicing with those that rejoiced. She obtained a promise from Amanda
of accompanying her to St. Catherine's as soon as her father was
interred; and in return for this she gave an assurance of continuing
with her till the last melancholy offices were over, and also that, with
the assistance of Johnaten, she would see everything proper provided.
This was some comfort to Amanda, who felt herself at present unequal to
any exertion; yet, notwithstanding her fatigue and illness, she
persevered in her resolution of sitting up with her father every night,
dreading that, if she retired to bed, a scene of riot would again ensue,
which, in her opinion, was sacrilege to the dead. She went to bed every
morning and was nursed with the most tender attention by Sister Mary,
who also insisted on being her companion at night. This, however, was
but a mere matter of form, for the good sister was totally unable to
keep her eyes open, and slept as comfortably upon the earthen floor,
with her gown made into a pillow for her head, as if laid upon down:
then was poor Amanda left to her own reflections, and the melancholy
contemplation of her beloved father's remains. The evening of the fourth
day after his decease was fixed upon for his interment; with streaming
eyes and a breaking heart, Amanda beheld him put into the coffin, and in
that moment felt as if he had again died before her. A small procession
attended, consisting of the people of the house, Johnaten and Kate, and
a few respectable farmers, to whom Fitzalan had endeared himself during
his short abode at Castle Carberry; the men had scarfs and hat-bands,
and the women hoods.

Johnaten, who had been a soldier in his youth, resolved to pay him some
military honors, and placed his hat and sword upon the coffin. Amanda,
by the most painful efforts, supported the preparations for his removal;
but when she saw the coffin actually raised to be taken out, she could
no longer restrain her feelings; she shrieked in the agony of her soul,
a sickness, almost deadly, seized her and she fell fainting upon Sister
Mary's bosom.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

              "Oh, let me unlade my breast,
   Pour out the fulness of my soul before you,
   Show every tender, every grateful thought,
   This wondrous goodness stirs. But 'tis impossible,
   And utterance all is vile; since I can only
   Swear you reign here, but never tell how much."--ROWE.


Sister Mary recovered her with difficulty, but found it impossible to
remove her from the cabin till she was more composed. In about two hours
its inhabitants returned, and the car having arrived which she had
ordered to convey Amanda to St. Catherine's, she was placed upon it in a
state scarcely animate, and, supported by Sister Mary, was conveyed to
that peaceful asylum. On arriving at it she was carried immediately into
the prioress's apartment, who received and welcomed her with the most
tender affection and sensibility--a tenderness which roused Amanda from
the stupefaction into which she appeared sinking, and made her weep
violently. She felt relieved from doing so, and, as some return for the
kindness she received, endeavored to appear benefited by it. She
therefore declined going to bed, but lay down upon a little matted couch
in the prioress's room. The tea-table was close by it. As she refused
any other refreshment, she obtained this by a promise of eating
something with it. None of the sisterhood--Sister Mary excepted--were
admitted; and Amanda felt this delicate attention and respect to her
sorrows with gratitude. She arrived on the eve of their patron saint at
the convent, which was always celebrated with solemnity. After tea,
therefore, the prioress and Sister Mary were compelled to repair to the
chapel; but she removed the reluctance they felt to leave her alone by
complaining of being drowsy. A pillow being laid under her head by
Sister Mary, soon after they quitted her she fell into a profound
slumber, in which she continued till awoke by distant music, so soft, so
clear, so harmonious, that the delightful sensations it gave her she
could only compare to those which she imagined a distressed and pensive
soul would feel when, springing from the shackles of mortality, it first
heard the heavenly sounds that welcomed it to the realms of bliss. The
chapel from which those celestial sounds proceeded was at the extremity
of the house, so that they sometimes swelled upon her ear, sometimes
faintly sunk upon it. The pauses in the organ, which was finely played,
were filled up by the sweet, though less powerful strains of the
sisterhood, who sung a hymn in honor of their saint.

           "No one was here exempt,
   No voice but well could join melodious part."

'Tis a foretaste of heaven, thought Amanda. She heard a deep sigh behind
her. She turned her head hastily, and perceived a figure standing near,
which bore a strong resemblance to Lord Mortimer. She was alarmed. She
could not believe it was him. The light which the small and heavy-arched
window admitted was imperfect, and she rose from the couch to be better
assured it was or was not him. A second glance convinced her. She might
have believed her eyes at first. Trembling and astonished, she sunk upon
a seat, exclaiming, "Gracious heaven! what can have brought Lord
Mortimer hither?"

He made no reply, but, kneeling before her, took her hands in his,
pressed them to his forehead and lips, and laid his head upon them.

"Why," cried Amanda, unutterably affected by the emotions he betrayed,
"why, my lord, are you come hither?" "To try," he replied, in a voice
scarcely articulate, "whether Miss Fitzalan will yet consider me as her
friend." "That, my lord," said she, "depends upon circumstances; but
while your lordship remains in your present position, what they are I
cannot explain."

Lord Mortimer instantly rose and seated himself beside her. "Now, tell
me," said he, "what those circumstances are." "The first, my lord, is to
exculpate my father in the opinion of Lord Cherbury, and, by declaring
the commencement and progress of our acquaintance, eradicate from his
lordship's mind the injurious suspicions he entertained against him.
This, perhaps, you will say is useless, considering those suspicions can
no longer wound him; but, my lord, I deem it an incumbent duty on me to
remove from his memory the obloquy on my account cast on it." "I promise
you most solemnly," said Lord Mortimer, "you shall be obeyed. This is a
debt of justice, which I had resolved to pay ere I received your
injunction for doing so. It is but lately I heard of the unjust charges
made against him, nor do I know now what fiend gave rise to them." "The
same, perhaps," cried Amanda, "who spread such complicated snares for my
destruction, and involved me in every horror but that which proceeds
from conscious guilt. Oh, my lord! the second circumstance I allude to
is, if you should hear my name treated with scorn and contempt by those
few--those very few--whom I had reason to esteem, and to believe
esteemed me, that you would kindly interpose in my justification, and
say I merited not the aspersions cast upon me. Believe me innocent, and
you will easily persuade others I am so. You shake your head, as much as
to say you cannot think me so, after the proofs you have seen to the
contrary. Ah, my lord! the proofs were contrived by malice and
treachery, to ruin me in the estimation of my friends, and by perfidy,
to force me into a crime, of which I already bear the appearance and the
stigma. Surely, in this solemn hour, which has seen my beloved father
consigned to his kindred earth, when, with a mind harassed by sorrow,
and a body worn out with fatigue, I feel as if standing on the verge of
the grave, I should be the most abandoned of wretches, if I could assert
my innocence without the consciousness of really possessing it. No, my
lord; by such a falsehood I should be not only wicked, but foolish, in
depriving myself of that happiness hereafter which will so fully
recompense my present miseries." "Oh, Amanda!" cried Lord Mortimer, who
had been walking backward and forward in an agitated manner while she
spoke, "you would almost convince me against the evidence of my own
senses." "Almost," she repeated. "Then I see, my lord, you are
determined to disbelieve me. But why, since so prejudiced against me,
have you come hither? Was it merely to be assured of my wretchedness? to
hear me say that I stand alone in the world, without one being
interested about my welfare; that my present asylum is bestowed by
charity; and that, if my life be prolonged, it must be spent in
struggling against constitution, sorrow, and ill-fame, to procure a
subsistence?" "No, no," exclaimed Lord Mortimer, flinging himself at her
feet; "never shall you suffer such misery. Were you even the being I was
tempted to think you some time ago, never would Mortimer suffer the
woman his heart doated on to feel such calamity. I do not, I cannot
believe you would deceive me. There is an irresistible eloquence in your
words that convinces me you have been the victim of treachery, and I its
dupe. I cannot give you a more convincing proof of my confidence in you,
than by again renewing my entreaties to have one fame, one fate, one
fortune ours."

The resolution which Amanda had forced to support her through the
painful scene she guessed would ensue the moment she saw Lord Mortimer,
now vanished, and she burst into a flood of tears. She saw his conduct
in the most generous, the most exalted light. Notwithstanding
appearances were so much against her, he was willing to rely solely on
her own asseveration of innocence, and to run every risk on her account,
that by a union he might shelter her from the distress of her present
situation. But while her sensibility was affected by his expressions,
her pride was alarmed lest he should impute her ardent desire of
vindicating herself to the expectation of having his addresses renewed.
In broken accents she endeavored to remove such an idea, if it had
arisen, and to convince him that all further intimacy between them must
now be terminated. Lord Mortimer ascribed the latter part of her speech
to the resentment she felt against him for ever entertaining doubts of
her worth. She desired him to rise, but he refused till he was forgiven.
"My forgiveness is yours indeed, my lord," she said, "though your
suspicions wounded me to the soul. I can scarcely wonder at your
entertaining them, when I reflect on the different situations in which I
was found, which, if your lordship can spare a little longer time, or
deem it worth devoting to such a purpose, as well as I am able I will
account for being involved in." Lord Mortimer declared his ardent
desire to hear those particulars, which nothing but a fear of fatiguing
or agitating her could have prevented his before expressing. He then
seated himself by her, and taking her cold and emaciated hand in his,
listened to her little narrative.

She briefly informed him of her father's residing in Devonshire after
the death of her mother, of the manner in which they became acquainted
with Colonel Belgrave, of his having ingratiated himself into their
friendship, by pretending to be Oscar's friend, and then plunging them
in distress, when he found they not only resisted but resented his
villanous designs. She related the artful manner in which Lady Greystock
had drawn her from her father's protection, and the cold and insolent
reception she met from the marchioness and her daughter, when introduced
by the above-mentioned lady, the enmity the marchioness bore her father,
the sudden alteration in her behavior, the invitation to her house so
unexpected and unnecessary, all tended to inspire a belief that she was
concerned in contriving Colonel Belgrave's admittance to the house, and
had also given Lord Cherbury reason to suspect the integrity of her
father.

Lord Mortimer here interrupted Amanda, to mention the conversation which
passed between him and Mrs. Jane in the hall.

She raised her hands and eyes to heaven with astonishment at such
wickedness, and said, "Though she always suspected the girl's integrity,
from a certain sycophant air, she never imagined she could be capable of
such baseness."

Lord Mortimer again interrupted her, to mention what Lady Greystock had
told him concerning Mrs. Jennings, as also what the housekeeper had said
of the note he gave her for Amanda.

"Good God!" said Amanda, "when I hear of all the enemies I had, I almost
wonder I escaped so well." She then resumed her narrative, accounted for
the dislike Mrs. Jennings had to her, and explained the way in which she
was entrapped into Colonel Belgrave's power, the almost miraculous
manner in which she was freed from his house, the friendship she
received from Howel, and the situation in which she arrived at Castle
Carberry, and found her father. The closing scene she could not
describe, for sighs and sobs impeded her utterance. Lord Mortimer gently
folded her to his breast. He called her his dear, his unfortunate, his
lovely girl, more precious than ever to his heart, and declared he never
again would quit her till she had given him a right to espouse her
quarrels, and secure her from the machinations of her enemies. Her warm
tears wet his cheek as she exclaimed, "that could never be."

"My promise is already past," cried she. "That which was given to the
living shall not be forfeited to the dead; and this, my lord, by design,
is the last time we must ever meet." "What promise?" exclaimed Lord
Mortimer. "Surely no one could be so inhuman as to extort a promise from
you to give me up?" "It was not inhumanity extorted it," replied Amanda,
"but honor, rectitude, and discretion; without forfeiting those never
can I violate it. There is but one event could make me acquiesce in your
wishes, that is, having a fortune adequate to yours to bring you,
because then Lord Cherbury could ascribe no selfish motive to my
conduct; but as such an event is utterly improbable, I might almost say
impossible, it is certain we shall never be united. Any further
intercourse between us, you must therefore be convinced, would injure
me. Disturb not, therefore, my lord, my retirement; but ere you depart,
allow me to assure you you have lightened the weight on my heart by
crediting what I have said. Should I not recover from the illness which
now preys upon me, it will cheer my departing spirit to know you think
me innocent; and, if I live, it will support me through many
difficulties, and often, perhaps, after the toils of a busy day, shall I
comfort myself by reflecting that those I esteem, if they think of me,
it is with their wonted regard."

Lord Mortimer was affected by the manner in which she spoke, his eyes
began to glisten, and he was again declaring he would not suffer her to
sacrifice happiness at the shrine of a too scrupulous and romantic
generosity, when the door opened, and the prioress and Sister Mary (who
had been detained in the chapel by a long discourse from the priest)
entered, bearing lights.

Lord Mortimer started in much confusion, retreated to one of the
windows, and drew out his handkerchief to conceal the emotions Amanda
had excited. She was unable to speak to the prioress and Sister Mary,
who stared round them, and then at each other, not certain whether they
should advance or retreat. Lord Mortimer in a few moments recovered his
composure, and advancing to the prioress, apologized for his intrusion
into her apartment; but said he had the honor of being a friend of Miss
Fitzalan's, and could not resist his wish of inquiring in person after
her health as soon as he arrived in the country.

The prioress, who had once seen a good deal of the polite world,
received his address with ease and complaisance. Sister Mary went over
to Amanda, and found her weak, trembling, and weeping. She expressed the
utmost concern at seeing her in such a situation, and immediately
procured her a glass of wine, which she insisted on her taking. The
lights now gave Lord Mortimer an opportunity of contemplating the
depredations which grief and sickness had made upon her. Her pale and
sallow complexion, her heavy and sunken eyes, struck him with horror. He
could not conceal his feelings. "Gracious Heaven!" cried he, going to
the couch, and taking her hand, "I fear you are very ill."

She looked mournfully in his face without speaking; but this look was
sufficient to assure him he was not mistaken. The efforts she had made
to converse with him, and the yet greater efforts she made to banish him
forever from her, quite exhausted her; after the various miseries she
had gone through, how soothing to her soul would have been the
attentions of Lord Mortimer, how pleasing, how delightful, the asylum
she should have found in his arms! But no temptation, no distress, she
resolved, should ever make her disobey the injunction of her adored
father.

"She is very bad indeed," said Sister Mary, "and we must get her to bed
as soon as possible." "She requires rest and repose indeed," said Lord
Mortimer; "but tell me, my dear Miss Fitzalan (taking her hand), if I
have those good ladies' permission for calling here to-morrow, will you,
if able to rise, see me?" "I cannot, indeed," said Amanda; "I have
already declared this must be our last interview, and I shall not
retract from what I have said." "Then," exclaimed Lord Mortimer,
regardless, or rather forgetful, of those who heard him, from the
agitation and warmth of his feelings, "I shall, in one respect at least,
accuse you of dissimulation, that of feigning a regard for me you never
felt." "Such an accusation is now of little consequence," replied
Amanda; "perhaps you had better think it just." "Cruel, inexorable girl,
to refuse seeing me, to wish to have the anxiety which now preys upon my
heart prolonged!"

"Young man," said the prioress, in an accent of displeasure, seeing the
tears streaming down Amanda's cheeks, "respect her sorrows."

"Respect them, madam," repeated he; "Oh! Heaven, I respect, I venerate
them; but will you, my dear lady, when Miss Fitzalan is able, prevail on
her to communicate the particulars of our acquaintance; and will you
then become my advocate, and persuade her to receive my visits?"
"Impossible sir," said the prioress, "I shall never attempt to desire a
larger share of confidence from Miss Fitzalan than she desires to bestow
upon me. From my knowledge of her I am convinced her conduct will be
always guided by discretion; she has greatly obliged me by choosing this
humble retreat for her residence; she has put herself under my
protection, and I shall endeavor to fulfil that sacred trust by securing
her from any molestation." "Well, madam," said Lord Mortimer, "I flatter
myself Miss Fitzalan will do me justice in declaring my visits proceeded
from wishes, which, though she may disappoint, she cannot disapprove. I
shall no longer intrude upon your time or hers, but will still hope I
shall find you both less inflexible."

He took up his hat, he approached the door; but when he glanced at
Amanda, he could not depart without speaking to her, and again went to
the couch.

He entreated her to compose and exert herself; he desired her
forgiveness for any warmth he had betrayed, and he whispered to her that
all his earthly happiness depended on her restoration to health, and her
becoming his. He insisted on her now giving him her hand as a pledge of
amity between them. She complied; but when presuming on this he again
asked her consent to repeat his visits, he found her inexorable as ever,
and retired, if not with a displeased, a disappointed countenance.
Sister Mary attended him from the apartment. At the door of the convent
he requested her to walk a few paces from it with him, saying he wanted
to speak to her. She consented, and remembering he was the person who
frightened her one evening amongst the ruins, determined now, if she had
a good opportunity, to ask what had then brought him thither?

Lord Mortimer knew the poverty of the convent, and feared Amanda might
want many things, or its inhabitants be distressed to procure them for
her; he therefore pulled out a purse and presenting it to Sister Mary,
requested she would apply it for Miss Fitzalan's use, without mentioning
anything about it to her. Sister Mary shook the purse. "Oh! Jesu Maria,"
exclaimed she, "how heavy it is!"

Lord Mortimer was retiring, when, catching hold of him, she cried,
"Stay, stay, I have a word or two to say to you. I wonder how much there
is in this purse?"

Lord Mortimer smiled, "If not enough for the present emergencies," said
he, "it shall soon be replenished."

Sister Mary sat down on a tombstone, and very deliberately counted the
money into her lap. "Oh! mercy," said she, "I never saw so many guineas
together before in all my life!"

Again Lord Mortimer smiled, and was retiring; but again stopping him,
she returned the gold into the purse, and declared, "she neither would
nor durst keep it."

Lord Mortimer was provoked at this declaration, and, without replying to
it, walked on. She ran nimbly after him, and dropping the purse at his
feet, was out of sight in a moment. When she returned to the prioress's
apartment, she related the incident, and took much merit to herself for
acting so prudently. The prioress commended her very much, and poor
Amanda, with a faint voice, said, "she had acted quite right."

A little room inside the prioress's chamber was prepared for Amanda,
into which she was now conveyed, and the good-natured Sister Mary
brought her own bed, and laid it beside hers.



CHAPTER XXXV.

             "With dirges due, and sad array,
   Slow through the church-way path I saw him borne."


It will now be necessary to account for the sudden appearance of Lord
Mortimer at the convent. Our reader may recollect that we left him in
London, in the deepest affliction for the supposed perfidy of Amanda--an
affliction which knew no diminution from time; neither the tenderness of
his aunt, Lady Martha Dormer, nor the kind consideration his father
showed for him, who, for the present, ceased to importune him about Lady
Euphrasia, could have any lenient effect upon him--he pined in thought,
and felt a distaste to all society. He at last began to think, that
though Amanda had been unhappily led astray, she might, ere this, have
repented of her error, and forsaken Colonel Belgrave. To know whether
she had done so, or whether she could be prevailed upon to give him up,
he believed, would be an alleviation of his sorrows. No sooner had he
persuaded himself of this, than he determined on going to Ireland,
without delay, to visit Captain Fitzalan, and, if she was not returned
to his protection, advise with him about some method of restoring her to
it.

He told Lord Cherbury he thought an excursion into Wales would be of
service to him. His lordship agreed in thinking it might, and, secretly
delighted that all danger relative to Amanda was over, gladly concurred
in whatever could please his son, flattering himself that, on his return
to London, he would no lodger raise any objections to an alliance with
the fair Scotch heiress.

Lord Mortimer travelled with as much expedition to Holyhead as if
certain that perfect happiness, not a small alleviation of misery, would
be the recompense of his journey. He concealed from his aunt the real
motives which actuated him to it, blushing, even to himself, at the
weakness which he still felt relative to Amanda. When he crossed the
water he again set off post, attended on horseback only by his own man.
Within one mile of Castle Carberry he met the little mournful procession
approaching, which was attending poor Fitzalan to his last home. The
carriage stopped to let them pass, and in the last of the group he
perceived Johnaten, who, at the same moment, recognized him. Johnaten,
with much surprise in his countenance, stepped up to the carriage, and,
after bowing, and humbly hoping his lordship was well, with a melancholy
shake of his head informed him whose remains he was following.

"Captain Fitzalan dead!" repeated Lord Mortimer, with a face as pale as
death, and a faltering voice, while his heart sunk within him at the
idea that his father was, in some degree, accessory to the fatal event;
for, just before he left London, Lord Cherbury had informed him of the
letter he wrote to Fitzalan, and this, he believed, joined to his own
immediate family misfortunes, had precipitated him from the world.
"Captain Fitzalan dead!" he exclaimed. "Yes, and please you, my lord,"
said Johnaten, wiping away a tear, "and he has not left a better or a
braver man behind him. Poor gentleman, the world pressed hard upon him."
"Had he no tender friend about him?" asked Lord Mortimer. "Were neither
of his children with him?" "Oh! yes my lord, poor Miss Amanda." "She was
with him!" said Lord Mortimer, in an eager accent. "Yes, my lord, she
returned here about ten days ago, but so sadly altered, I think she
won't stay long behind him. Poor thing, she is going fast, indeed, and
the more's the pity, for she is a sweet creature."

Lord Mortimer was inexpressibly shocked. He wished to hide his emotions,
and waved his hand to Johnaten to depart; but Johnaten either did not,
or would not, understand the motion, and he was obliged, in broken
accents, to say, "he would no longer detain him."

The return of Amanda was to him a conviction that she had seen her error
in its true light. He pictured to himself the affecting scene which must
have ensued between a dying father and a penitent daughter, so loved, so
valued, as was Amanda; her situation, when she received his forgiveness
and benediction; he represented her to himself as at once bewailing the
loss of her father, and her offences, endeavoring, by prayers, by tears,
by sighs, to obliterate them in the sight of Heaven, and render herself
fit to receive its awful fiat.

He heard she was dying; his soul recoiled at the idea of seeing her
shrouded in her native clay, and yet he could not help believing this
the only peaceful asylum she could find, to be freed from the shafts of
contempt and malice of the world. He trembled lest he should not behold
the lovely penitent while she was capable of observing him; to receive a
last adieu, though dreadful, would yet, he thought, lighten the horrors
of an eternal separation, and perhaps, too, it would be some comfort to
her departing spirit to know from him he had pardoned her; and
conscious, surely, he thought to himself, she must be of needing pardon
from him, whom she had so long imposed on by a specious pretext of
virtue. He had heard from Lord Cherbury that Captain Fitzalan had
quitted the castle; he knew not, therefore, at present, where to find
Amanda, nor did he choose to make any inquiries till he again saw
Johnaten.

As soon as the procession was out of sight, he alighted from the
carriage, and ordering his man to discharge it, on arriving at Castle
Carberry, he took a path across the fields, which brought him to the
side of the church-yard where Fitzalan was to be interred.

He reached it just as the coffin was lowering into the earth. A
yew-tree, growing by the wall against which he leaned, hid him from
observation. He heard many of the rustics mentioning the merits of the
deceased in terms of warm, though artless, commendation, and he saw
Johnaten receiving the hat and sword (which, as military trophies, he
had laid upon the coffin), with a flood of tears.

When the church-yard was cleared, he stepped across the broken wall to
the silent mansion of Fitzalan. The scene was wild and dreary, and a
lowering evening seemed in unison with the sad objects around. Lord
Mortimer was sunk in the deepest despondence. He felt awfully convinced
of the instability of human attainments, and the vanity of human
pursuits, not only from the ceremony he had just witnessed, but his own
situation. The fond hopes of his heart, the gay expectations of his
youth, and the hilarity of his soul, were blasted, never, he feared, to
revive. Virtue, rank, and fortune, advantages so highly prized by
mankind, were unable to give him comfort, to remove the malady of his
heart, to administer one oblivious antidote to a mind diseased.

"Peace to thy shade, thou unfortunate soldier," exclaimed he, after
standing some time by the grave with folded arms. "Peace to thy
shade--peace which shall reward thee for a life of toil and trouble.
Happy should I have deemed myself, had it been my lot to have lightened
thy grief, or cheered thy closing hours. But those who were dearer to
thee than existence I may yet serve, and thus make the only atonement
now in my power for the injustice, I fear, was done thee. Thy Amanda,
and thy gallant son, shall be my care, and his path, I trust, it will be
in my power to smooth through life."

A tear fell from Lord Mortimer upon the grave, and he turned mournfully
from it towards Castle Carberry. Here Johnaten was arrived before him,
and had already a large fire lighted in the dressing-room poor Amanda,
on coming to the castle, had chosen for herself. Johnaten fixed on this
for Lord Mortimer, as the parlors had been shut up ever since Captain
Fitzalan's departure, and could not be put in any order till the next
day; but it was the worst place Lord Mortimer could have entered, as not
only itself but everything in it reminded him of Amanda; and the grief
it excited at his first entrance was so violent as to alarm not only his
man (who was spreading a table with refreshments), but Johnaten, who was
assisting him. He soon checked it, however; but when he again looked
round the room, and beheld it ornamented with works done by Amanda, he
could scarcely prevent another burst of grief as violent as the first.

He now learned Amanda's residence; and so great was his impatience to
see her that, apprehensive the convent would soon be closed, he set off,
fatigued as he was, without recruiting himself with any refreshment. He
intended to ask for one of the ladies of St. Catherine's, and entreat
her, if Amanda was then in a situation to be seen, to announce his
arrival to her; but after rapping repeatedly with a rattan against the
door, the only person who appeared to him was a servant girl. From her
he learned the ladies were all in the chapel, and that Miss Fitzalan was
in the prioress's apartment. He asked, "Was she too ill to be seen?" The
girl replied, "No"--for having only entered the room to leave the kettle
in it, at a time when Amanda was composed, she imagined she was very
well. Lord Mortimer then told her his name, and desired her to go up to
Miss Fitzalan and inquire whether she would see him. The girl attempted
not to move. She was in reality so struck of a heap by hearing that she
had been talking to a lord, that she knew not whether she was standing
on her head or her heels. Lord Mortimer imputing her silence to
disinclination to comply with his request, put a guinea into her hand,
and entreated her to be expeditious. This restored her to animation, but
ere she reached the room she forgot his title, and being ashamed to
deliver a blundering message to Miss Fitzalan, or to appear stupid to
Lord Mortimer, she returned to him, pretending she had delivered his
message, and that he might go up. She showed him the door, and when he
entered he imputed the silence of Amanda, and her not moving, to the
effects of her grief. He advanced to the couch, and was not a little
shocked on seeing her eyes closed--concluding from this that she had
fainted, but her easy respiration soon convinced him that this was a
mistake, and he immediately concluded that the girl had deceived him. He
leaned over her till she began to stir, and then retreated behind her,
lest his presence, on her first awaking, should alarm her.

What took place in the interview between them has already been related.
Notwithstanding appearances were so much against her, and no explanation
had ensued relative to them, from the moment she asserted her innocence
with solemnity he could no longer doubt it; and yielding at once to its
conviction, to his love, to his pity for her, he again renewed his
overtures for a union. Hearing of the stratagems laid for her
destruction, the dangers she had escaped, the distresses she had
experienced, made him more anxious than ever for completing it, that by
his constant protection he might secure her from similar trials, and by
his tenderness and care restore her to health, peace, and happiness. He
longed for the period of her triumphing over the perfidious marchioness,
and the detestable Lady Euphrasia, by being raised to that station they
had so long attempted to prevent her attaining, and thus proving to them
that virtue, sooner or later, will counteract the designs of vice. He
felt a degree of rapture at the idea of his being no longer obliged to
regret the ardent, the unabated affection he felt for her. His
transports were somewhat checked when she solemnly declared a union
between them impossible, and forbade his seeing her again. He was piqued
by the steadiness with which she repeated this resolution, but her
present weak state prevented his betraying any resentment, and he
flattered himself he would be able to conquer her obstinacy. He could
not now, indeed, despair of any event after the unexpected restoration
of Amanda to his esteem, and the revival of those hopes of felicity,
which in the certainty of having lost her had faded away. He returned,
as Johnaten said, an altered man, to the castle. He no longer
experienced horror at entering the dressing-room which displayed so many
vestiges of his Amanda's taste.

He resolved on an immediate union as the surest proof he could give her
of his perfect confidence in her sincerity, not allowing himself to
suppose she would continue firm in the resolution she had recently
avowed to him. He then intended setting off for London, and sparing
neither time, trouble nor expense, to obtain from the inferior agents in
the plot laid against her, a full avowal of the part they had themselves
acted in it, and all they knew relative to those performed by others.
This was not designed for his own satisfaction. He wanted no
confirmation of what Amanda asserted, as his proposal to marry her
immediately demonstrated; it was to cover with confusion those who had
meditated her destruction, and add to the horrors they would experience
when they found her emerging from obscurity--not as Miss Fitzalan, but
as Lady Mortimer. Such proofs of her innocence would also prevent malice
from saying he was the dupe of art, and he was convinced, for both their
sakes, it was requisite to procure them. He would then avow his
marriage, return for his wife, introduce her to his friends, and, if his
father kept up any resentment against them longer than he expected, he
knew in Lady Martha Dormer's house, and at Tudor Hall, he would find not
only an eligible, but pleasant residence. Those delightful schemes kept
him awake half the night, and when he fell asleep it was only to dream
of happiness and Amanda.

In the morning, notwithstanding the prohibition he had received to the
contrary, he went to inquire how she was, and to try and see her. The
girl who had answered his repeated knocks the preceding evening,
appeared, and told him Miss Fitzalan was very bad. He began to think
that this must be a pretext to avoid seeing him, and to come at the
truth was slipping a bribe into her hand, when Sister Mary, who had been
watching them from an adjoining room, appeared, and stopped this
measure. She repeated what the girl had just said, and, in addition to
it, declared that even if Miss Fitzalan was up she would not see him,
and that he must come no more to St. Catherine's, as both Miss Fitzalan
and the prioress would resent such conduct exceedingly; and that, if he
wanted to inquire after the health of the former, he might easily send a
servant, and it would be much better done than to come frisking over
there every moment.

Lord Mortimer was seriously displeased with this unceremonious speech.
"So, I suppose," cried he, "you want to make a real nun of Miss
Fitzalan, and to keep her from all conversation." "And a happy creature
she would be were she to become one of us," replied Sister Mary; "and as
to keeping her from conversation, she might have as much as she pleased
with any one. Indeed, I believe the poor thing likes you well enough;
the more's her misfortune for doing so." "I thank you, madam," cried
Lord Mortimer; "I suppose it one of your vows to speak truth; if so, I
must acknowledge you keep it religiously." "I have just heard her,"
proceeded Sister Mary, without minding what he had said, "tell the
prioress a long story about you and herself, by which I find it was her
father's desire she should have nothing more to say to you, and I dare
say the poor gentleman had good reasons for doing so. I beg, my lord,
you will come no more here, and, indeed, I think it was a shame for you
to give money to the simpleton who answered you. Why, it is enough to
turn the girl's head, and set her mad after one fal-lal or other."

Lord Mortimer could not depart without an effort to win Sister Mary over
to his favor, and engage her to try and persuade Miss Fitzalan to permit
his visits, but she was inflexible; he then entreated to know if Amanda
was so ill as to be unable to rise. She assured him she was, and, as
some little consolation to the distress she perceived this assurance
gave him, said he might send when he pleased to inquire after her
health, and she would take care to answer the messenger herself.

Lord Mortimer began now to be seriously alarmed lest Captain Fitzalan
had prevailed on his daughter to make a solemn renunciation of him. If
this was the case, he knew nothing could prevail on her to break her
promise. He was half distracted with doubt and anxiety, which were
scarcely supportable, when he reflected that they could not for some
time be satisfied, since, even if he wrote to her for that purpose, she
could not at present be able to answer his letter; again he felt
convinced of the instability of earthly happiness, and the close
connection there has ever been between pleasure and pain.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

  "Thy presence only 'tis can make me blest,
   Heal my unquiet mind, and tune my soul."--OTWAY.


The fatigue, distress, and agitation of Amanda could no longer be
struggled with; she sunk beneath their violence, and for a week was
confined to her bed by the fever which had seized her in England, and
ever since lurked in her veins. The whole sisterhood, who took it in
turn to attend her, vied with each other in kindness and care to the
poor invalid. Their efforts for her recovery were aided by a skilful
physician from the next town, who called, without being sent for, at the
convent. He said he had known Captain Fitzalan, and that, hearing that
Miss Fitzalan was indisposed, he had come in hopes he might be of
service to the daughter of a man he so much esteemed. He would accept of
no fee, and the prioress, who was a woman of sagacity, suspected, as
well as Amanda, that he came by the direction of Lord Mortimer. Nor were
they mistaken, for, distracted by apprehensions about her, he had taken
this method of lightening his fears, flattering himself, by the
excellent advice he had procured, her recovery would be much expedited,
and, of course, his suspense at least terminated. The doctor did not
withdraw his visits when Amanda was able to rise; he attended her
punctually, and often paid her long visits, which were of infinite
service to her spirits, as he was a man of much information and
cheerfulness. In a few days she was removed from her chamber into a
pleasant room below stairs, which opened into the garden, where, leaning
on the friendly doctor's arm, or one of the nuns', she walked at
different times a few minutes each day. Lord Mortimer, on hearing this,
thought he might now solicit an interview, and accordingly wrote for
that purpose:--

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    Lord Mortimer presents his compliments to Miss Fitzalan,
    flatters himself she will allow him personally to express the
    sincere happiness her restoration to health has afforded him. He
    cannot think she will refuse so reasonable a request. He is
    almost convinced she would not hesitate a moment in granting it,
    could she form an idea of the misery he has experienced on her
    account, and the anxiety he feels, and must continue to feel,
    till some expressions in the last interview are explained.

    Castle Carberry, 10th May.

This letter greatly distressed Amanda. She had hoped the pain of again
rejecting his visits and requests would have been spared her. She
guessed at the expressions he alluded to in his letter; they were those
she had dropped relative to her promise to her father, and from the
impetuous and tender feelings of Lord Mortimer she easily conceived the
agony he would experience when he found this promise inviolable. She
felt more for his distress than her own. Her heart, seasoned in the
school of adversity, could bear its sorrows with calmness; but this was
not his case, and she paid the tribute of tears to a love so fervent, so
faithful, and so hopeless.

She then requested Sister Mary to acquaint his messenger that she
received no visits; that, as she was tolerably recovered, she entreated
his lordship would not take the trouble of continuing his inquiries
about her health, or to send her any more written messages, as she was
unable to answer them. The prioress, who was present when she received
the letter, commended her exceedingly for the fortitude and discretion
she had manifested. Amanda had deemed it necessary to inform her, after
the conversation she heard between her and Lord Mortimer, of the terms
on which they stood with each other; and the prioress, who doubted
whether his lordship was in reality as honorable as he professed
himself, thought Amanda on the sure side in declining his visits.

The next morning the doctor called as usual. He told Amanda he had
brought her an entertaining book, for no such thing could be procured at
St. Catherine's, and, as she had expressed her regret at this, from the
time she had been able to read he had supplied her from his library,
which was extensive and well chosen.

He did not present it to her till he was retiring, and then said, with a
significant smile, she would find it contained something worthy of her
particular attention. Amanda was alone, and immediately opened it. Great
was her astonishment when a letter dropped from it into her lap. She
snatched it up, and, perceiving the direction in Lord Mortimer's hand,
she hesitated whether she should open a letter conveyed in this manner;
but to return it unopened was surely a slight Lord Mortimer merited not,
and she broke the seal with a trembling hand and a palpitating heart:--

    Unkind Amanda, to compel me to use stratagems in writing to you,
    and destroy the delightful hopes which had sprung in my soul, at
    the prospect of being about to receive a reward for my
    sufferings. Am I ever to be involved in doubts and perplexity on
    your account? Am I ever to see difficulty succeeded by
    difficulty, and hope by disappointment?

    You must be sensible of the anxiety I shall feel, until your
    ambiguous expressions are fully explained, and yet you refuse
    this explanation! But you have no pity for my feelings. Would it
    not be more generous in you to permit an interview than to keep
    me in suspense? To know the worst is some degree of ease;
    besides, I should then have an opportunity of perhaps convincing
    you that virtue, unlike vice, has its bounds, and that we may
    sometimes carry our notions of honor and generosity too far, and
    sacrifice our real happiness to chimerical ideas of them. Surely
    I shall not be too presumptuous in saying that, if the regard
    Amanda once flattered me with is undiminished, she will, by
    rejecting a union with me, leave me not the only sufferer.

    Oh! do not, my dear and too scrupulous girl, think a moment
    longer of persevering in a resolution so prejudicial to your
    welfare. Your situation requires particular protection: young,
    innocent, and beautiful; already the object of licentious
    pursuits; your nearest relations your greatest enemies; your
    brother, from his unsettled line of life, unable to be near you.
    Oh! my Amanda, from such a situation what evils may accrue?
    Avoid them, by taking refuge in his arms, who will be to you a
    tender friend and faithful guardian. Before such evils, the
    obligation for keeping a promise to reject me, fades away,
    particularly when the motives which led to such a promise are
    considered. Captain Fitzalan, hurt by the unfortunate letter he
    received from my father, extended his resentment to his son, and
    called upon you without reflecting on the consequences of such a
    measure to give me up. This is the only reason I can conceive
    for his desiring such a promise, and had I but arrived while he
    could have listened to my arguments, I am firmly convinced,
    instead of opposing, he would have sanctioned our union, and
    given his beloved girl to a man who, in every instance, would
    study to evince his gratitude for such a gift, and to supply his
    loss.

    Happiness, my dear Amanda, is in long arrears with us. She is
    now ready to make up for past deficiencies, if it is not our own
    faults; let us not frighten her from performing her good
    intentions, but hand in hand receive the lovely and long absent
    guest to our bosoms.

    You will not, cannot, must not, be inflexible; I shall expect,
    as soon as you read this, a summons to St. Catherine's to
    receive the ratification of my hopes. In everything respecting
    our union I will be guided by you, except delaying it; what we
    have both suffered already from deceit makes me doubly anxious
    to secure you mine, lest another vile scheme should be formed to
    effect our separation.

    Oh! Amanda, the faintest prospect of calling you mine gives to
    my heart a felicity no language can express. Refuse not being
    mine except you bring me an addition of fortune; already rich in
    every virtue, I shall, in obtaining you, obtain a treasure which
    the wealthiest, the proudest, and the vainest of the sons of men
    may envy me the possession of, and which the good, the sensible,
    and elegant, must esteem the kindest gift indulgent heaven could
    bestow on me. Banish all uneasy doubts and scruples, my Amanda,
    from your mind, nor think a promise, which was demanded without
    reflecting on the consequences that must attend it, can be
    binding. The ingenuous soul of your father would have cancelled
    it in a moment, had those consequences been represented to him;
    and now, when our own reason convinces us of them, I make no
    doubt, if departed souls are permitted to view the transactions
    of this world, his spirit would behold our union with
    approbation. Yes, my Amanda, I repeat your father's approving
    spirit will smile upon an act which gives to his lovely and
    beloved orphan a faithful friend and steady protector, in her
    adoring

    MORTIMER.

    Castle Carberry, 11th May.

This letter deeply affected the sensibility, but could not shake the
resolution of Amanda. She would not have answered it, as she considered
any correspondence an infringement on the promises she had given her
father to decline any further intimacy with him; but from the warmth and
agitation displayed in his letter, it was evident to her that, if he did
not receive an immediate answer to it, he would come to St. Catherine's
and insist on seeing her; and she felt assured, that she could much
better deliver her sentiments upon paper than to him; she accordingly
wrote as follows:--

    TO LORD MORTIMER.

    MY LORD,--You cannot change my resolution; surely, when I
    solemnly declare to you it is unalterable, you will spare me any
    further importunity on so painful a subject. In vain, my lord,
    would you, by sophistry, cloaked with tenderness for that
    purpose, try to influence me. The arguments you have made use
    of, I am convinced, you never would have adopted, had you not
    been mistaken in regard to those motives which prompted my
    father to ask a promise from me of declining any farther
    connection with you. It was not from resentment, my lord; no,
    his death was then fast approaching, and he, in charity for all
    mankind, forgave those who had wounded him by unjust reproach
    and accusation; it was a proper respect for his own character,
    and not resentment, which influenced his conduct, as he was
    convinced if I consented to an alliance with you, Lord Cherbury
    would be confirmed in all the suspicions he entertained of his
    having entangled you with me, and consequently load his memory
    with contempt. Tenderness also for me actuated him; he was
    acquainted with the proud heart of Lord Cherbury, and knew that
    if, poor and reduced as I was, I entered his family I should be
    considered and treated as a mean intruder. So thoroughly am I
    convinced that he did not err in this idea, that, whenever
    reason is predominant in my mind, I think, even if a promise did
    not exist for such a purpose, I should decline your addresses;
    for, though I could submit with cheerfulness to many
    inconveniences for your sake, I never could support indignities.
    We must part, my lord; Providence has appointed different paths
    for us to pursue in life: yours smooth and flowery, if by
    useless regrets you do not frustrate the intentions of the
    benevolent Donor; mine rough and thorny; but both, though so
    different, will lead to the same goal, where we shall again meet
    to be no more separated.

    Let not your lordship deem me either unkind or ungrateful; my
    heart disavows the justice of such accusations, and is but too
    sensible of your tenderness and generosity. Yes, my lord, I will
    confess that no pangs can be more pungent than those which now
    rend it, at being obliged to act against its feelings; but the
    greater the sacrifice the greater the merit of submitting to it,
    and a ray of self-approbation is perhaps the only sunshine of
    the soul which will brighten my future days.

    Never, my lord, should I enjoy this, if my promise to my father
    was violated. There is but one circumstance which could set it
    aside, that is, having a fortune, that even Lord Cherbury might
    deem equivalent to your own to bring you; for then my father has
    often said he would approve our union; but this is amongst the
    improbabilities of this life, and we must endeavor to reconcile
    ourselves to the destiny which separates us.

    I hope your lordship will not attempt to see me again; you must
    be sensible that your visits would be highly injurious to me.
    Even the holy and solitary asylum which I have found would not
    protect me from the malice which has already been so busy with
    my peace and fame. Alas! I now need the utmost
    vigilance--deprived as I am of those on whom I had claim of
    protection, it behooves me to exert the utmost circumspection in
    my conduct; he in whom I expected to have found a guardian,
    Oscar, my dear unfortunate brother, is gone, I know not whither,
    persecuted and afflicted by the perfidious monster who has been
    such a source of misery to me! Oh, my lord, when I think what
    his sufferings may now be, my heart sinks within me. Oh! had I
    been the only sufferer I should not have felt so great a degree
    of agony as I now endure; but I will not despair about my dear
    Oscar. The Providence which has been so kind to his sister,
    which so unexpectedly raised her friends at the moment she
    deemed herself deprived of all earthly comfort, may to him have
    been equally merciful. I have trespassed a long time upon your
    lordship's attention, but I wished to be explicit, to avoid the
    necessity of any further correspondence between us. You now know
    my resolves; you also know my feelings; in pity to them spare me
    any further conflicts. May the tranquil happiness you so truly
    deserve soon be yours! Do not, my lord, because disappointed in
    one wish, lose your sense of the many valuable blessings with
    which you are surrounded, in fulfilling the claims which your
    friends, your country, have upon you; show how truly you merit
    those blessings, and banish all useless regrets from your heart.
    Adieu, my lord!--suffer no uneasiness on my account. If Heaven
    prolongs my life, I have no doubt but I shall find a little
    comfortable shelter from the world, where, conscious I have
    acted according to my principles of right, I shall enjoy the
    serenity which ever attends self-approbation--a serenity which
    no changes or chances in this life will, I trust, ever wrest
    from

    AMANDA FITZALAN.

    St. Catherine's, May 12th.

She dispatched this by an old man who was employed in the garden at St.
Catherine's; but her spirits were so much affected by writing it, she
was obliged to go up and lie on the bed. She considered herself as
having taken a final adieu of Lord Mortimer, and the idea was too
painful to be supported with fortitude. Tender and fervent as his
attachment was now to her, she believed the hurry and bustle of the
world, in which he must be engaged, would soon eradicate it. A transfer
of his affections, to one equal to himself in rank and fortune, was a
probable event, and of course a total expulsion of her from his memory
would follow. A deadly coldness stole upon her heart at the idea of
being forgotten by him, and produced a flood of tears. She then began to
accuse herself of inconsistency. She had often thought, if Lord Mortimer
was restored to happiness, she should feel more tranquil. And now, when
the means of effecting this restoration occurred, she trembled and
lamented as if it would increase her misery. "I am selfish," said she to
herself, "in desiring the prolongation of an affection which must ever
be hopeless. I am weak in regretting the probability of its transfer, as
I can never return it."

To conquer those feelings, she found she must banish Lord Mortimer from
her thoughts. Except she succeeded in some degree in this, she felt she
never should be able to exert the fortitude her present situation
demanded. She now saw a probability of her existence being prolonged,
and the bread of idleness or dependence could never be sweet to Amanda
Fitzalan.

She had lain about an hour on the bed, and was about rising and
returning to the parlor, when Sister Mary entered the chamber, and
delivered her a letter. Ere Amanda looked at the superscription, her
agitated heart foretold her whom it came from. She was not mistaken in
her conjecture; but as she held it in her hand, she hesitated whether
she should open it or not. "Yet," said she to herself, "it can be no
great harm. He cannot, after what I have declared, suppose my resolution
to be shaken. He writes to assure me of his perfect acquiescence to it."
Sister Mary left her at the instant her deliberations ended, by opening
the letter.

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    Inexorable Amanda! but I will spare both you and myself the pain
    of farther importunity. All I now request is, that for three
    months longer at least, you will continue at St. Catherine's; or
    that, if you find a much longer residence there unpleasant, you
    will, on quitting it, leave directions where to be found. Ere
    half the above-mentioned period be elapsed, I trust I shall be
    able satisfactorily to account for such a request. I am quitting
    Castle Carberry immediately. I shall leave it with a degree of
    tranquillity that would perhaps surprise you, after what has so
    lately passed, if in this one instance you will oblige your ever
    faithful

    MORTIMER.

This laconic letter astonished Amanda. By its style it was evident Lord
Mortimer had recovered his cheerfulness--recovered it not from a
determination of giving her up, but from a hope of their again meeting,
as they could both wish. A sudden transport rushed upon her heart at
such an idea, but quickly died away when she reflected it was almost
beyond the possibility of things to bring about a pleasing interview
between them. She knew Lord Mortimer had a sanguine temper, and though
it might mislead him, she resolved it should not mislead her. She could
not form the most distant surmise of what he had now in agitation; but
whatever it was, she firmly believed it would end in disappointment. To
refuse every request of his was painful; but propriety demanded she
should not accede to the last, for one step, she wisely considered, from
the line of prudence she had marked out for herself to take, might
plunge her in difficulties from which she would find it impossible to
extricate herself. With an unsteady hand she returned the following
answer:--

    TO LORD MORTIMER.

    MY LORD,--I cannot comply with your request. You may, if you
    please, repeat inexorable Amanda. I had rather incur the
    imputation of obstinacy than imprudence, and think it much
    better to meet your accusation, than deserve my own. How long I
    may reside at St. Catherine's is to myself unknown. When I quit
    it, I certainly will not promise to leave any directions where
    you may find me.

    The obstacles which have rendered our separation necessary, are,
    I am convinced, beyond your lordship's power to conquer. Except
    they were removed, any farther interviews between us would be
    foolish and imprudent in the extreme. I rejoice to hear you are
    leaving the castle. I also rejoice, but am not surprised, to
    hear of your tranquillity. From your good sense I expected you
    would make exertions against useless regrets, and those
    exertions I knew would be attended with success; but, as some
    return for the sincere pleasure I feel for your restoration to
    tranquillity, seek not to disturb again that of

    AMANDA FITZALAN.

    St. Catherine's, May 12th.

Scarcely had she sealed this letter when she was called to dinner; but
though she obeyed the summons she could not eat. The exertions her
writing to Lord Mortimer required, and the agitation his letter had
thrown her into, quite exhausted her strength and spirits. The nuns
withdrew soon after dinner, and left her alone with the prioress. In a
few minutes after their departure, the old gardener returned from Castle
Carberry, where he had been delivering her letter. After informing her
he had put it safely into his lordship's hands, he added, with a look
which seemed to indicate a fear lest she should be distressed, that he
had received neither letter nor message from him, though he waited a
long time in expectation of receiving either one or the other; but he
supposed, he said, his lordship was in too great a hurry just then to
give any answer, as a chaise and four was waiting to carry him to
Dublin.

Amanda burst into tears as the man retired from the room. She saw she
had written to Lord Mortimer for the last time, and she could not
suppress this tribute of regret. She was firmly convinced, indeed, she
should behold him no more. The idea of visiting her she was sure, nay,
she hoped, he would relinquish, when he found, which she supposed would
soon be the case, the schemes or hopes which now buoyed up his spirits
impossible to be realized.

The prioress sympathized in her sorrow; though not from her own
experience, yet from the experience of others, she knew how dangerous
and bewitching a creature man is, and how difficult it is to remove the
chains which he twines around the female heart. To remove those which
lay so heavy upon the delicate and susceptible heart of her young
friend, without leaving a corrosive wound, was her sincere wish, and by
strengthening her resolution, she hoped success would crown their
endeavors.

Two hours were elapsed since her messenger's return from the castle,
when Sister Mary entered the room with a large packet, which she put
into Amanda's hands, saying, it was given her by Lord Mortimer's
servant, who rode off the moment he delivered it.

Sister Mary made no scruple of saying, she should like to know what such
a weighty packet contained. The prioress chide her in a laughing manner
for her curiosity, and drew her into the garden, to give Amanda an
opportunity of examining the contents.

She was surprised, on breaking the seal, to perceive a very handsome
pocket-book in a blank cover, and found unsealed, a letter to this
effect:--

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    I have put it out of your power to return this, by departing
    long ere you receive it. Surely, if you have the laudable pride
    you profess, you will not hesitate to use the contents of the
    pocket-book, as the only means of avoiding a weight of
    obligations from strangers. Though discarded as a lover, surely
    I may be esteemed as a friend, and with such a title I will be
    contented till I can lay claim to a tenderer one. You start at
    this last expression, and I have no doubt you will call me a
    romantic visionary, for entertaining hopes which you have so
    positively assured me can never be realized; but ere I resign
    them, I must have something more powerful than this assurance,
    my sweet Amanda, to convince me of their fallacy. I was
    inexpressibly shocked this morning to learn by your letter, that
    your brother had met with misfortune. My blood boils with
    indignation against the monster who has, to use your emphatical
    expression, been such a source of misery to you both. I shall
    make it my particular care to try and discover the place to
    which Mr. Fitzalan is gone, and in what situation. By means of
    the agents, or some of the officers belonging to the regiment, I
    flatter myself with being able to gain some intelligence of him.
    I need not add, that, to the utmost extent of my power I will
    serve him. My success in this affair, as well as in that which
    concerns a much dearer being, you may be convinced you shall
    soon hear. Adieu, my Amanda; I cannot say, like Hamlet, "Go, get
    you to a nunnery;" but I can say, "Stay there, I charge you."
    Seriously, I could wish, except you find your present situation
    very unpleasant and inconvenient, not to change it for a short
    time. I think, for a temporary abode, you could not find a more
    eligible one; and, as I shall be all impatience when I return to
    Ireland to see you, a search after you would be truly
    insupportable. You have already refused to inform me of your
    determination relative to this matter; surely I may venture to
    request it may be as I wish, when I assure you, that, except I
    can see you in a manner pleasing to both, I never will force
    into your presence him, who, let things turn out as they may,
    must ever continue Your faithful

    MORTIMER.

"Gracious Heaven!" said Amanda to herself, "what can he mean? What
scheme can he have in agitation which will remove the obstacles to our
union? He here seems to speak of a certainty of success. Oh, grant,
merciful Power!" she continued, raising her meek eyes to heaven, while a
rosy blush stole upon her cheeks, "grant that indeed he may be
successful. He talks of returning to Ireland; still," proceeded she,
reading over the letter, "of requiring something more powerful than my
assurance to convince him of the fallacy of his hopes. Surely, Lord
Mortimer would not be so cruel as to raise expectations in my bosom
without those in his own were well founded. No, dear Mortimer, I will
not call you a romantic visionary, but the most amiable, the most
generous of men, who for poor Amanda encounters difficulties and
sacrifices every splendid expectation." She rejoiced at the intention he
had declared of seeking out Oscar. She looked forward either to a speedy
interview, or speedy intelligence of this beloved brother, as she knew
Lord Mortimer would seek him with the persevering spirit of benevolence,
and leave no means untried to restore him to her.

She now examined the contents of the pocket-book. It contained a number
of small bills, to the amount of two hundred pounds,--a large present,
but one so delicately presented, that even her ideas of propriety could
scarcely raise a scruple against her accepting it. They did, however,
suggest one. Uncertain how matters would yet terminate between her and
Lord Mortimer, she was unwilling to receive pecuniary obligations from
him. But when she reflected on his noble and feeling heart, she knew she
should severely wound it by returning his present; she therefore
resolved on keeping it, making a kind of compromise with her feelings
about the matter, by determining that, except entitled to receive them,
she would never more accept favors of this nature from his lordship. The
present one, indeed, was a most seasonable relief, and removed from her
heart a load of anxiety which had weighed on it. After paying her
father's funeral expenses, the people with whom he lodged, and the
apothecary who had attended him, she found herself mistress of but
twenty guineas in the whole world, and more than half of this she
considered as already due to the benevolent sisters of St. Catherine's,
who were ill able to afford any additional expense.

She had resolved to force them to accept, what indeed she deemed a poor
return for their kindness to her, and she then intended to retire to
some obscure hovel in the neighborhood, as better suited to the state of
her finances, and continue there till her health was sufficiently
restored to enable her to make exertions for her livelihood. But she
shuddered at the idea of leaving St. Catherine's and residing amongst a
set of boors. She felt sensations something similar to those we may
suppose a person would feel who was about being committed to a
tempestuous ocean without any means of security.

Lord Mortimer had prevented the necessity which had prompted her to
think of a removal, and she now resolved to reside, at least for the
time he had mentioned, in the convent, during which she supposed her
uncertainties relative to him would be over, and that, if it was not her
fate to be his, she should, by the perfect re-establishment of her
health, be enabled to use her abilities in the manner her situation
required. Tears of heartfelt gratitude and sensibility flowed down her
cheeks for him who had lightened her mind of the care which had so
oppressed it.

She at length recollected the prioress had retired into the garden from
complaisance to her, and yet continued in it, waiting no doubt to be
summoned back to her. She hastily wiped away her tears, and folding up
the precious letter which was bedewed with them, repaired to the garden,
resolving not to communicate its contents, as the divulgement of
expectations (considering how liable all human ones are to be
disappointed) she ever considered a piece of folly.

She found the prioress and Sister Mary seated under a broken and
ivy-covered arch. "Jesu! my dear," said the latter, "I thought you would
never come to us. Our good mother has been keeping me here in spite of
my teeth, though I told her the sweet cakes I made for tea would be
burned by this time, and that, supposing you were reading a letter from
Lord Mortimer, there could be no harm in my seeing you." Amanda relieved
the impatient Mary, and she took her seat. The prioress cast her
piercing eyes upon her. She perceived she had been weeping, and that joy
rather than sorrow caused her tears. She was too delicate to inquire
into its source; but she took Amanda's hand, and gave it a pressure,
which seemed to say, "I see, my dear child, you have met with something
which pleases you, and my heart sympathizes as much in your happiness as
in your grief."

Amanda returned the affectionate pressure with one equally tender and a
starting tear. They were soon called by Sister Mary to partake of her
hot cakes, which she had made indeed in hopes of tempting Amanda to eat
after her bad dinner. The whole community were assembled at tea when the
doctor entered the parlor. Amanda blushed and looked grave at his first
entrance; but he soon rallied her out of her gravity. And when the
prioress and the nuns, according to custom, had withdrawn to evening
vespers, he said, with a significant smile, "he feared she had not
attended as much as he wished she should to the contents of the book he
had last brought her." She saw by his manner he was acquainted with her
situation relative to Lord Mortimer, and therefore replied by saying,
"that perhaps, if he knew the motives which influenced her conduct, he
would not think her wrong in disregarding what he had just mentioned."
She also said, "she detested all kinds of stratagem, and was really
displeased with him for practising one upon her." "In a good cause," he
said, "he should never hesitate using one. Lord Mortimer was the finest
young fellow he had ever seen, and had won his favor, and the best
wishes of his heart, from the first moment that he beheld him. He made
me contrive," continued the doctor, "a story to gain admission to your
ladyship, and when I found him so dreadfully anxious about you, I gave
you credit (as I had then no opportunity of judging for myself) for all
the virtues and graces he ascribed to you, and which I have since
perceived you to possess. You smile, and look as if you would call me a
flatterer; seriously, I assure you I am not one. I really think you
worthy of Lord Mortimer, and I assure you that is as great a compliment
as could be paid any woman. His mind was troubled with grief; he
revealed his troubles and perplexities to me, and after hearing them, no
good Christian ever prayed more devoutly for another than I prayed for
your recovery, that all your sorrows, like a novel, might terminate in
marriage." "You are obliging in your wishes," said Amanda, smiling.
"Faith, I am sincere in them," exclaimed he, "and do not know when I
have been so disconcerted as at things not turning out smoothly between
you and his lordship; but I will not despair. In all my troubles, and
Heaven has given me my share, I ever looked to the bright side of
things, and shall always do so for my friends. I yet expect to see you
settled at Castle Carberry, and to be appointed myself physician-general
to your ladyship's household." The mention of an event yet so uncertain
greatly agitated Amanda; she blushed and turned pale alternately, and
convinced her good-natured but loquacious friend, he had touched a chord
which could not bear vibration. He hastily changed the discourse, and as
soon as he saw her composed, rose to take his leave. Amanda detained him
for a minute, to try and prevail on him to take a ten-guinea note; but
he was inflexible, and said with some archness, "till the disorder which
preyed upon Lord Mortimer's heart was in some degree alleviated, he
would receive no recompense for his visits, which he assured Amanda,
from time to time, he would continue to pay her, adding, a certain
person had enjoined him now and then to take a peep within the holy
walls of St. Catherine's."

The next morning Amanda set about a temporary arrangement of her
affairs. She presented thirty guineas to the sisterhood, which, with
much difficulty, she forced them to accept, though, in reality, it was
much required by them. But when she came to speak of paying for a
continuance, they positively declared they would agree to no such thing,
as she had already so liberally rewarded them for any expense they had
incurred on her account. She told them that if they would not agree to
be paid for lodging and board, she would certainly leave them, though
such a step was contrary to her inclinations; she assured them also she
was at present well able to pay.

At last it was settled she should give them at the rate of forty pounds
a-year--a salary they thought extremely ample, considering the plain
manner in which they lived. She then had all the things which belonged
to her father and herself brought to the convent, and had the former,
with whatever she did not immediately want, nailed up in a large chest,
that on a short notice they might be removed. Her harp and guitar she
had, in her distress, proposed sending back to the person in Dublin from
whom they were purchased, to sell for her; but she now determined to
keep those presents of her beloved father, except again urged by
necessity to part with them. She had a variety of materials for painting
and working, and proposed employing herself in executing pieces in each
way, not only as a means of amusing her time, but as a resource on an
evil day; thus wisely making use of the present sunshine, lest another
storm should arise which she should not be so well able to struggle
against.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

        "In struggling with misfortunes
   Lies the proof of virtue,"--SHAKSPEARE.


The turbulence of grief, and the agitation of suspense, gradually
lessened in the mind of Amanda, and were succeeded by a soft and
pleasing melancholy, which sprang from the consciousness of having
always, to the best of her abilities, performed the duties imposed upon
her, and supported her misfortunes with placid resignation. She loved to
think on her father, for amidst her sighs for his loss were mingled the
delightful ideas of having ever been a source of comfort to him, and she
believed, if departed spirits were allowed to review this world, his
would look down upon her with delight and approbation at beholding her
undeviating in the path he had marked out for her to take. The calm
derived from such meditations she considered as a recompense for many
sorrows; it was such, indeed, as nothing earthly gives, or can destroy,
and what the good must experience, though "amidst the wreck of matter
and the crush of worlds."

She tried to prevent her thoughts from wandering to Lord Mortimer, as
the surest means of retaining her composure, which fled whenever she
reflected on the doubtful balance in which her fate yet hung concerning
him.

The solitude of St. Catherine's was well adapted to her present
situation and frame of mind. She was neither teased with impertinent or
unmeaning ceremony, but perfect mistress of her own time and actions,
read, worked, and walked, as most agreeable to herself. She did not
extend her walks beyond the convent, as the scenes around it would
awaken remembrances she had not sufficient fortitude to bear; but the
space it covered was ample enough to afford her many different and
extensive rambles. And of a still evening, when nothing but the lowing
of the cattle, or the buzzing of the summer flies, was to be heard, she
loved to wander through the solemn and romantic ruins, sometimes
accompanied by a nun, but much oftener alone.

A fortnight had elapsed in this manner since Lord Mortimer's departure,
when, one morning, a carriage was heard driving across the common and
stopping at the outer gate of St. Catherine's. Amanda, who was sitting
at work in the parlor with the prioress, started in a universal
trepidation at the sound. It may be easily imagined the idea of Lord
Mortimer was uppermost in her thoughts. The door opened in a few
minutes, and, to her great astonishment, Mrs. Kilcorban and her two
daughters made their appearance.

Agitation and surprise prevented Amanda from speaking; she curtseyed,
and motioned them to be seated. The young ladies saluted her with an icy
civility, and the mother treated her with a rude familiarity, which she
thought herself authorized in using to one so reduced in circumstances
as Amanda. "Dear me," cried she, "you can't think, child, how shocked we
have all been to hear of your misfortunes. We only returned to the
country yesterday, for we have been in town the whole winter, and to be
sure a most delightful winter we have had of it--such balls, such routs,
such racketings; but, as I was going to say, as soon as we came home I
began, according to my old custom, to inquire after all my neighbors;
and to be sure the very first thing I heard of was the poor captain's
death. Don't cry, my dear, we must all go one time or another; those are
things, of course, as the doctor says in his sermon; so, when I heard of
your father's death and your distress, I began to cast about in my
brains some plan for helping you; and at last I hit upon one which, says
I to the girls, will delight the poor soul, as it will give her an
opportunity of earning decent bread for herself. You must know, my dear,
the tutoress we brought to town would not come back with us--a dirty
trollop, by the bye, and I think her place would be quite the thing for
you. You will have the four young girls to learn French and work too,
and I will expect you, as you have a good taste, to assist the eldest
Miss Kilcorbans in making up their things and dressing. I give twenty
guineas a-year. When we have no company, the tutoress always sits at the
table, and gets, besides this, the best of treatment in every respect."

A blush of indignation had gradually conquered Amanda's paleness during
Mrs. Kilcorban's long and eloquent speech. "Your intentions may be
friendly, madam," cried she, "but I must decline your proposal." "Bless
me, and why must you decline it? perhaps you think yourself not
qualified to instruct; indeed, this may be the case, for people often
get credit for accomplishments they do not possess. Well, if this is so,
I am still content to take you, as you were always a decent behaved
young body. Indeed, you cannot expect I should give you twenty guineas
a-year. No, no, I must make some abatement in the salary, if I am
forced to get masters to help you in learning the girls." "Miss
Fitzalan, madam," exclaimed the prioress, who had hitherto continued
silent, "never got credit for accomplishments which she did not possess;
her modesty has rather obscured than blazoned forth her perfections; she
does not, therefore, madam, decline your offer from a consciousness of
inability to undertake the office of an instructor, but from a
conviction she never could support impertinence and folly; should her
situation ever require her to exert her talents for subsistence, I trust
she will never experience the mortification of associating with those
who are insensible of her worth, or unwilling to pay her the respect she
merits." "Hoity, toity," cried Mrs. Kilcorban, "what assurance! Why,
madam, many a better man's child would be glad to jump at such an
offer." "Dear madam," said Miss Kilcorban, "perhaps the young lady has a
better settlement in view. We forget Lord Mortimer has been lately at
Castle Carberry, and we all know his lordship is a friend to Captain
Fitzalan's daughter." "Or perhaps," cried Miss Alicia, in a giggling
tone, "she means to be a nun." "Indeed, I suppose she means to be
nothing good," rejoined Mrs. Kilcorban; "and I suppose it was by some
impertinence or other she had a tiff with Lady Greystock. Lord! (looking
round the room), only see her music-books--her harp--her guitar--as if
she had nothing to do but sing and thrum away the whole day. Well, miss
(rising from her chair), you may yet be sorry your friend said so much
about you. I did not come merely to offer to take you into my house, but
to offer you also a good sum for your harp and guitar, supposing you had
no business with such things nowadays; but I dare say you would have
refused this offer." "I certainly should, madam," said Amanda; "it must
be strong necessity which compels me to part with my beloved father's
presents." "Well, well, child, I wish this pride of thine may not yet be
humbled." So saying, she flounced out of the room, followed by her
daughters, who, under an affectation of contempt, evidently showed they
were chagrined by the reception they had met.

The prioress indulged herself in a long fit of laughter at the passion
into which she had thrown Mrs. Kilcorban; and Amanda, who considered the
lady and her daughters as the most insignificant of beings, soon
recovered from the discomposure their visit had occasioned. In the
course of the evening a letter was delivered her by the servant, who
said the messenger who brought it waited for an answer. Amanda, in a
universal trepidation, broke the seal; but, instead of Lord Mortimer's
as she expected, a hand, to her entirely new, struck her view:--

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    MY DEAR CREATURE,--I think I never was so diverted in my life as
    at the account my mother and sisters gave of the reception they
    met with from you to-day at St. Catherine's. I vow to God it was
    excellent. Nor can I help still wondering at their absurdity, in
    thinking such a devilish fine girl as you are would sacrifice
    your time in instructing a parcel of chits, when it can be
    devoted to so much better a purpose! To be brief, my dear girl,
    I will take you immediately under my protection, if not your own
    fault, bring you to Dublin, settle you in elegant lodgings with
    a handsome allowance, and not only make you, but declare you to
    be, the grand Sultana of my affection; a situation which, I can
    assure you, you will not be a little envied enjoying. In your
    answer to this, I shall expect to hear when I may have the
    felicity of bringing you from obscurity, to the brilliant scene
    you were formed to ornament. Adieu, my dear. Believe me your
    devoted,

    B. KILCORBAN.

The indignation which filled Amanda's breast at reading this scrawl
cannot be expressed. Her blood seemed to boil in her veins. It was some
time ere she could sufficiently compose herself to acquaint the prioress
with the cause of her agitation. It was then agreed that the letter
should be returned with the following lines written on it:--

    The author of this effusion of ignorance and impertinence has
    already inspired all the contempt he merits. Should he repeat
    his insolence, something even more mortifying than
    contempt--chastisement--must ensue.

That a repetition of this kind would be the case, she did not believe.
From Kilcorban she had no reason to suspect either the perseverance or
designs of Belgrave. One was a libertine from principle, the other she
believed from fashion; and that to pique his pride would be a sure
method of getting rid of him.

But the calm she had for some time experienced was destined to be
interrupted. The next morning brought Father O'Gallaghan, the little fat
priest (of whom we have made mention before in our pages), to the
convent. He was not the officiating priest; but notwithstanding this,
paid many visits to the sisterhood, with whom he was a great favorite;
he had been much concerned about Amanda's illness. She was sitting alone
in the parlor, drawing, when he entered it. He seated himself by her,
and the expression of his countenance seemed to declare his heart was
brimful of something pleasant.

"You won't be offended now, my dear sowl," said he, smirking up in her
face, "with a body for asking you how you would like to leave this
dismal solitude and have a comfortable home of your own, where you might
see your own friends, and have everything warm and cosy about you?"
"Why," said Amanda, "though I do not consider this a dismal solitude,
yet, to be sure, I should have no objection to a pleasant settled
habitation." "Ay, I always thought you a sensible young body. Well, and
what would you say to the person then who could point out such a
habitation? Ay, you little rogue, who could say they had just such a one
in their eye for you." Amanda stared at him with astonishment. She had
at first believed him jesting, but now found him serious.

"Ay, faith, my dear creature," cried he, continuing his discourse with a
look of the most perfect satisfaction, "I have an offer to make you,
which, I believe, would make many girls jump out of their skins with joy
to hear. You remember the O'Flannaghans, I am sure, where you took tea
last summer. Well, the eldest of the sons (as honest a lad as ever broke
bread) cast a sheep's eye upon you then. But what with your going from
the country, and some other matters, he thought there was no use then in
revealing his flame; but now, when you are come plump in his way again,
faith he plucked up his courage, and told his father all about it. Old
Flannaghan is a good-natured sowl, and is very willing the match should
take place. They have everything snug about them. The old man will give
everything into your spouse's hands. The youngest son will live in the
house till he gets married, and goes off to a farm of his own. The
eldest daughter is married; the second will live with her, and the
youngest will be a little handy assistant to you. So you see, you will
not be tormented with a large family. There is one little matter which,
to be sure, they are a little uneasy about, and that is your being of
different persuasions; but says I to them, when this was started, faith,
says I, you need not give yourself any trouble about it, for I know the
young woman to be a discreet sowl, and I am sure she will make no
hesitation about going to chapel instead of church, when she knows, too,
it is for her own interest. So, my dear sowl, I hope soon to give you
the nuptial benediction, and to be also your spiritual director."

Amanda had listened to this speech in silent amazement. She now rose,
and would have quitted the room without speaking, to evince her
contempt, had not an idea darted into her mind that such conduct perhaps
might not be construed by the ignorant priest in the manner she wished.
She therefore stopped, and turning to him said; "He could not wonder at
her being offended at his pretending to answer so freely for her in
matters so important as religion; but to prove how presumptuous he was
in everything he said about her, she must assure him his embassy to her
was equally fruitless and disagreeable; and that if Mr. O'Flannaghan
consulted his own happiness, he would seek to unite himself with a woman
brought up in his own sphere of life." So saying, she quitted the room
with a look of dignity which quite confounded the poor priest, who
snatched up his hat in a great hurry, and waddled away to the farm, to
communicate the ill-success of his visit, which had quite crushed his
expectations of wedding presents and pudding feasts, which he had
contemplated in idea with delight.

It was some time ere Amanda recovered from the discomposure into which
the impertinence of the Kilcorbans and the priest had thrown her. From
what she suffered in consequence of it, she was forcibly convinced how
ill-qualified she was to struggle with a world where she would be
continually liable to such shocks. She had yet a hope of escaping
them--a hope of being guarded by the tutelary care of Lord Mortimer, and
of being one of the happiest of her sex.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

  "Lo! I am here to answer to your vows,
   And be the meeting fortunate! I come
   With joyful tidings; we shall part no more."--AKENSIDE.


But a shock more severe than those she had lately experienced was yet in
store for our hapless heroine. About a fortnight after the visit of the
Kilcorbans and the priest, as she was rambling one evening according to
custom amongst the solitary ruins of St. Catherine's, indulging the
pensive meditations of her soul, the figure of a man suddenly darted
from under a broken arch, and discovered to her view the features of the
hated Belgrave. Amanda gave a faint cry, and in unutterable dismay
tottered back a few paces against a wall. "Cruel Amanda!" exclaimed
Belgrave, while his look seemed to imply he would take advantage of her
situation. His look, his voice, operated like a charm to rouse her from
the kind of stupefaction into which she had fallen at first sight of
him, and as he attempted to lay hold of her she sprang past him, and,
with a swiftness which mocked his speed, flew through the intricate
windings of the place till she reached the convent. Her pale and
distracted look, as she rushed into the prioress's apartment, terrified
the good old lady, who hastily interrogated her as to the cause of her
disorder; but Amanda was unable to speak. The appearance of Belgrave she
thought an omen of every ill to her. Her blood ran cold through her
veins at his sight, and terror totally subdued her powers. The prioress
summoned Sister Mary to her relief; drops and water were administered,
and the overloaded heart of the trembling Amanda was relieved by tears.
The prioress again asked the cause of her agitation, but perceiving
Amanda did not like to speak before Sister Mary, she immediately
pretended to think it proceeded from fatigue, and Mary, who was
simplicity itself, readily credited the idea. The prioress soon sent her
upon some pretext from the room, and then, in the gentlest terms, begged
to know what had so cruelly alarmed her young friend. Amanda had already
confided to the prioress the events of her life, so that the good lady,
on hearing Belgrave now mentioned, no longer wondered at the agitation
of Amanda; yet, as her fears she saw were too powerful for her reason,
she endeavored to convince her they were unnecessary. She called to her
remembrance the singular protection she had already experienced from
Heaven, and the protection which, while she was innocent, she would
still have a right to expect. She also mentioned the security of her
present situation--encompassed by friends whose integrity could not be
warped, and whose utmost zeal would be manifested in defeating any
stratagems which might be laid against her.

Amanda grew composed as she listened to the prioress. She was cheered by
the voice of piety and friendship, and her heart again felt firm and
elevated. She acknowledged that after the singular, nay, almost
miraculous interpositions of Providence she had experienced in her
favor, to give way to terror or despair was sinful, since it showed a
distrust of the Power who has promised with guardian care to watch the
footsteps of the innocent. It was, however, agreed that Amanda should
venture no more from the convent, but confine her rambles to the garden,
which was enclosed with a high wall, and had no places of concealment.
Five weeks yet remained of the period Lord Mortimer had requested her to
stay at St. Catherine's. Before it was expired she trusted and believed
Belgrave would be weary of watching her, and would decamp; if, then, she
neither saw nor heard from Lord Mortimer, she resolved to relinquish
all hope concerning him, and immediately think upon some plan which
should put her in a way of procuring subsistence.

Her paintings and embroidery still went on. She had executed some
elegant pictures in both, which, if obliged to dispose of, she was sure
would bring a good price; yet, whenever compelled by reflection to this
idea, the tear of tender melancholy would fall upon her lovely cheek--a
tear which was ever hastily wiped away, while she endeavored to fortify
her mind with pious resignation to whatever should be her future fate.

Three weeks more elapsed without any event to discompose their
tranquillity; but as the termination of the destined period approached,
the agitation of Amanda, in spite of all her efforts to the contrary,
increased. She deemed the awful crisis of her fate at hand, and she
trembled at the reflection. She now for the first time avoided solitude.
She wanted to fly from herself, and sat constantly with the prioress,
who had nothing of the gloomy recluse, save the habit, about her.

They were chatting together one evening after tea when Sister Mary
entered the room, bearing a large packet, which she rather tossed than
presented to Amanda, exclaiming, "From Lord Mortimer; I wish the
troublesome fellow had not come back again; here we shall have him
frisking or storming continually, and again plaguing us out of our
lives." "From Lord Mortimer!" exclaimed Amanda, starting from her chair,
and clasping the letter between her hands, "Oh, gracious Heaven!" She
said no more, but flew from the room to her chamber. She tore open the
seal. The envelope contained two letters. The first was directed in a
hand unknown to her. Her heart sickened as she dropped it on the ground.
The other was the superscription of Lord Mortimer. She opened it with
revived spirits, and read a follows:--

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    I am returned--returned to tell my Amanda that nothing but the
    awful fiat of Heaven shall part us more. Yes, my love, a sweet
    reward for all our difficulties, our trials--let me add, our
    persevering constancy--is at hand; and one name, one interest,
    one fate, I trust, will soon be ours.

Tears of joy gushed from Amanda as she exclaimed, "Can this, can this be
true? Is Lord Mortimer, so long, so hopelessly beloved, indeed returned
to tell me we shall part no more? 'Tis true, 'tis true, and never can my
grateful heart sufficiently acknowledge the goodness it experiences; but
how was this event brought about?" She wiped away her tears, and
resumed the letter.

    Your solemn refusal to unite yourself to me threw me into
    agonies; but true love, like true courage, will never despair,
    will never yield to difficulties, without first trying every
    effort to conquer them. I soon, therefore, roused myself from
    the heavy weight which oppressed my spirits at your resolution,
    and ere long conceived a project so feasible, so almost certain
    of success, that my impatience to realize it cannot be
    described; yet you may conceive some idea of it from the abrupt
    manner in which I quitted Castle Carberry, without desiring to
    bid you adieu; but ere it could be accomplished I plainly saw I
    had many difficulties to encounter, difficulties which it was
    absolutely essential to overcome, that I might prove to the
    world I was not the dupe of love, but the friend, the lover, and
    the vindicator of real innocence and virtue. From what I have
    said, you may suppose the difficulties I allude to were such as
    I expected to encounter in my attempt to unravel the whole of
    the deep and execrable plot which involved you in a situation so
    distressing to your feelings, and injurious to your character;
    and, oh! with what mingled pride and pleasure did I meditate on
    being your champion, clearing your fame from each dark
    aspersion, and proving, clearly proving, that your mind was as
    lovely, as angelic, as your person!

    I was happy, on my arrival in London, to find Lady Martha Dormer
    still at Lord Cherbury's house. I have already told you that I
    left town on pretence of a visit to my sister, in Wales. My
    father, I soon perceived, suspected that had not been the real
    motive of my departure: but I also perceived he did not desire
    to reveal his suspicions, as he asked some questions concerning
    Lady Araminta, which, you may be sure, I answered awkwardly
    enough, and, had a comic writer been present, he might have
    taken the hint of a good blundering scene from us both.

    The Marquis of Roslin and his family, I learned, continued at
    his villa. Their absence from town rejoiced me, as it not only
    exempted me from society I abhorred, but, as it gave me an
    opportunity of interrogating their household, amongst whom, I
    was convinced, I should discover the trusty agents the amiable
    marchioness had made use of in her scheme against you. The
    morning after my arrival, I accordingly set off to Portman
    Square. The man who opened the door knew me not, which I
    considered a lucky circumstance, for, not being able to mention
    my name to the housekeeper, whom I desired him to send to me,
    she was not as much on her guard as she would otherwise have
    been. She started as she entered the parlor, and lifted up her
    hands and eyes with unfeigned astonishment. Soon, however,
    recovering herself, she addressed me in the most obsequious
    manner, and spoke as if she supposed I was come purposely to
    inquire after her lord and lady, an artful way of trying to
    terminate her own suspense by learning the nature of my visit. I
    soon gave her to understand it was not of the most amicable kind
    to her. I came, I said, to demand either the letter, or an
    account of the letter, which I had intrusted to her care for
    Miss Fitzalan, which contained a note of large value, and which,
    I found, had never been received by that young lady. Her
    countenance in a moment condemned her--it spoke stronger than a
    thousand tongues against her. She first grew deadly pale, then
    fiery red; trembled, faltered, and hung her head, to avoid my
    eyes. Her looks, I told her, confirmed the suspicions I was
    forced to entertain of her integrity, yet, shocking as the
    action was which she had committed, being not only a breach of
    trust, but humanity, I was willing to come to an easy and
    private accommodation about it, provided she would truly and
    fully confess the part she had taken, or knew others to have
    taken, in injuring Miss Fitzalan, while she resided in the
    marquis's house, by bringing Colonel Belgrave into it. I paused
    for her reply. She appeared as if considering how she should
    act. I thought I saw something yielding in her face, and, eager
    to take advantage of it, I proceeded: "What I have already said
    I am going again to repeat, that is, if you confess all you know
    relative to the plot which was contrived, and carried into
    execution, in this house, against Miss Fitzalan, I will settle
    everything relative to the letter and its contents in a manner
    pleasing to you. Her innocence is unquestioned by me; but it is
    essential to her peace that it should also be so to the rest of
    her friends, and they who regard her welfare will liberally
    reward those whose allegations shall justify her."

    Upon this she turned to me, with a countenance of the utmost
    effrontery, and said she would not tell a lie to please any one.
    I will not shock you by repeating all she said. She ended, by
    saying, as to the letter she set me at defiance; true, I had
    given her one for Miss Fitzalan, but I might remember Miss
    Fitzalan was in a fit on the ground at the time, and she had
    called in other servants to her assistance, she said, and in the
    hurry and bustle which ensued, she knew not what became of it;
    others might as well be called upon as her. I could no longer
    command my temper. I told her she was a wretch, and only fit for
    the diabolical service in which she was employed. The note,
    which I enclosed in the letter I had given her for you, I had
    received from my father's agent in the country: as a post-note I
    had endorsed it, and taken the number in my pocket-book. I
    therefore left Portman Square, with a resolution of going to the
    bank, and, if not already received, stopping payment. I stepped
    into the first hackney-coach I met, and had the satisfaction of
    finding it had not been offered at the bank. I suspected she
    would be glad to exchange it for cash as soon as possible, and
    therefore left my direction, as well as a request for the
    detention of any person who should present it.

    In consequence of this, a clerk came the following morning to
    inform me a woman had presented the note at the bank, and was,
    agreeably to my request, detained till I appeared. I immediately
    returned with him, and had the satisfaction of seeing the
    housekeeper caught in the snare. She burst into tears at my
    appearance, and coming up to me, in a low voice said, "If I
    would have mercy upon her, she would in return make a full
    confession of all she knew about the affair I had mentioned to
    her yesterday." I told her, though she deserved no mercy, yet,
    as I had promised on such condition to show her lenity, I would
    not violate my word. I received the note, sent for a coach, and
    handing the lady into it, soon conveyed her to Portman Square.
    She no sooner entered the parlor than she fell on her knees and
    besought my forgiveness. I bade her rise, and lose no time in
    revealing all she knew concerning the scheme against you. She
    then confessed that both she and Mrs. Jane, the attendant who
    had been placed about your person, were acquainted and concerned
    in all the contrivances the marchioness had laid against you,
    who scrupled not in acknowledging to them the inveterate hatred
    she bore you. Their scruples--for they pretended to have some in
    abetting her schemes--were overruled, by knowing how much it was
    in her power to injure them in any future establishment, had
    they disobliged her, and by her liberal promises of reward,
    which the housekeeper added she had never kept. But this brief
    and uncircumstantial account was by no means satisfactory to me.
    I called for materials for writing, and insisted she should, to
    the best of her recollection, relate every word or circumstance
    which had ever passed between her and the marchioness and their
    other associates relative to you. She hesitated at this. On
    those terms only I said I would grant her my forgiveness; and by
    her complying with them, not only that, but a liberal
    recompense should be hers. This last promise had the desired
    effect. She laid open, indeed, a scene of complicated iniquity;
    related the manner in which Colonel Belgrave was brought into
    the house by her and Mrs. Jane; how they had stationed
    themselves in a place of concealment to listen, by which means
    they knew what passed between you, which she now, in almost the
    very same words you made use of, repeated to me. As she spoke I
    wrote it, and made her sign the paper under a paragraph,
    purporting that it was a true confession of the part she had
    taken, and knew others to have taken, in attempting to injure
    Miss Fitzalan.

    I now mentioned Mrs. Jane, whose evidence I wished for to
    corroborate hers. This she assured me I might procure by
    promising a reward, as Mrs. Jane was much dissatisfied with the
    marchioness and Lady Euphrasia, neither of whom had recompensed
    her as she expected for her faithful services to them. She was
    now at the villa; but the housekeeper added that she would
    strike out some expedient to bring her to town in the course of
    the week, and would inform me immediately of her arrival. I told
    her the affair of the note should be no more mentioned, and gave
    a bill for fifty pounds, as the reward I had promised, and she
    eagerly expected. I told her she might promise a similar one in
    my name to Mrs. Jane, provided she also told truth. I also told
    her I would take care she should suffer no distress by quitting
    the marquis's family, which she lamented would be the
    consequence of what she had done.

    Mrs. Jane did not come to town as soon as I expected. But on
    receiving a summons to inform me of her arrival, I hastened to
    the house like an inquisitor-general with my scroll, prepared to
    take the confession of the fair culprit, which exactly
    corresponded with the housekeeper's, and I had the felicity of
    seeing her subscribe her name to it. I gave her the promised
    recompense most cheerfully, as I had not half so much trouble in
    making her tell truth as I had with the housekeeper. Mrs.
    Jennings, your old landlady, and Lady Greystock's faithful
    friend, was the next and last person whose malice I wanted to
    refute. I made my servant inquire her character in the
    neighborhood, and learned it was considered a very suspicious
    one. I went to her one morning in my carriage, well knowing that
    the appearance of rank and splendor would have greater weight in
    influencing a being like her to justice than any plea of
    conscience. She appeared lost in astonishment and confusion at
    my visit, and I saw waited with trembling expectation to have
    the reason of it revealed. I kept her not long in suspense; I
    was the friend, I told her, of a young lady, whose character she
    had vilely and falsely aspersed. Her conscience, I believed,
    would whisper to her heart the name of this lady, and send its
    crimson current to her face at the mention of Miss Fitzalan.

    The wretch seemed ready to sink to the earth. I repeated to her
    all she had said concerning you to Lady Greystock. I told her of
    the consequences of defamation, and declared she might expect
    the utmost rigor of the law, except she confessed her assertions
    were infamous falsehoods, and the motives which instigated her
    to them. She trembled with terror, and supplicated mercy. I
    desired her to deserve it by her confession. She then
    acknowledged she had grossly and cruelly wronged you by what she
    had said to Lady Greystock, and that she had many opportunities
    of being convinced, while you resided in her house, that your
    virtue and innocence were of the purest nature; but that she was
    provoked to speak maliciously against you from resentment at
    losing all the rich gifts Colonel Belgrave had promised her if
    she brought you to comply with his wishes. She related all the
    stratagems they had mutually concerted for your destruction, and
    she brought me some letters which I have kept, from him to you,
    and which she pretended you had received, lest she should lose
    the money he always gave when she was successful in delivering
    one. I bid her beware how she ever attempted to vilify
    innocence, lest the friends of those at whom she levelled the
    arrows of defamation should not be as merciful to her as Miss
    Fitzalan's had been; and was the tale of the slanderer thus ever
    to be minutely investigated, the evil might die away by degrees,
    and many hapless victims escape, who are daily sacrificed to
    malice, revenge, or envy.

    Oh! my Amanda, I cannot express the transports I felt when I
    found the difficulties, which I dreaded as intervening between
    me and happiness, thus removed. I felt myself the happiest of
    men; my heart acknowledged your worth, I was convinced of your
    love, and in my hands I held the refutation of falsehood, and
    the confirmation of your innocence.

    The period for mentioning my project was now arrived. I desired,
    the morning after my visit to Mrs. Jennings, to be indulged in a
    _tete-à-tete_ in Lady Martha's dressing-room. I believed she
    half guessed what the subject of it would be; she saw by my
    countenance there was joyful news at hand. I shall not
    recapitulate our conversation; suffice it to say, that her
    excellent feeling heart participated largely in my satisfaction;
    it did more than participate, it wished to increase it, and ere
    I could mention my project, she declared my Amanda should
    henceforth be considered as her adopted daughter, and should
    from her receive such a fortune as such a title claimed. Yes, my
    Amanda, the fortune she ever destined for me, she said she
    should now consecrate to the purpose of procuring me a treasure
    the most valuable Heaven could bestow;--the richest--the most
    valuable indeed--a treasure dearer, far dearer to my soul for
    all the dangers it has encountered. I fell at Lady Martha's feet
    in a transport of gratitude, and acknowledged that she had
    anticipated what I was going to say, as I had been determined to
    throw myself on her generosity from the time I was convinced of
    your inflexible resolution, not to unite yourself to me without
    you brought a fortune.

    It was now agreed we should keep Lord Cherbury a little longer
    ignorant of our intentions. We proposed taking the marchioness
    and Lady Euphrasia by surprise, and hoped, by so doing, to be
    able to remove from his eyes the mist which partially had
    hitherto spread before them, to obscure the defects of the
    above-mentioned ladies.

    He had hinted more than once his wishes for my paying my
    compliments at the marquis's villa. I now proposed going thither
    myself the ensuing day. He looked equally surprised and pleased
    at this proposal: Lady Martha agreed to accompany me, and his
    lordship, you may be sure, determined to be one of the party,
    that he might supply the deficiencies of his son, which he had
    heretofore found pretty manifest in such society.

    We had the happiness to find all the family at home when we
    reached the villa. The ladies all expressed themselves delighted
    at my unexpected appearance, and quite charmed by my recovered
    looks. The marquis, with his usual sang froid, declared himself
    glad to see me. Ye smiling deceivers, I cried to myself, as I
    surveyed the marchioness and Lady Euphrasia, your triumph over
    innocence and beauty will soon be over. After passing half an
    hour in uninteresting chitchat, I took the opportunity of one of
    those pauses in conversation, which so frequently happen, to
    commence my attack. It would be as painful to you as to me to
    recapitulate all which ensued in consequence of it. Rage, guilt,
    and confusion, were conspicuous in the marchioness and Lady
    Euphrasia. The marquis and Lady Greystock looked with
    astonishment, and my father seemed overwhelmed with surprise and
    consternation.

    I said (addressing the marchioness), I now trusted the
    resentment her ladyship had entertained against her unoffending
    niece was sufficiently appeased by what she had made her suffer,
    and that she would rather rejoice than regret the opportunity
    which presented itself of vindicating her fame. I wished, I
    said, as much as possible, to spare her ladyship's feelings, and
    provided she would clear Miss Fitzalan from the obloquy which
    the transactions in her house cast upon her, I was willing to
    conceal the share her ladyship had in them.

    In a voice of smothered rage, and with a look into which she
    threw as much contempt as possible, she replied, "She thanked me
    for the attention I professed myself inclined to pay her
    feelings; but she fancied I had overlooked all inclination of
    this kind when I undertook to bribe her servants to asperse her
    character, that Miss Fitzalan's might be cleared. She was
    sorry," she said, "to find I could be capable of such
    complicated baseness and weakness. Miss Fitzalan, she perceived,
    had made me her dupe again; but this was not surprising, as she
    was the professed pupil of art. Too late I should behold her in
    her native colors, and find the disgrace, which, by artifice, I
    now attempted to remove from her character, thrown back upon
    her, perhaps, to overwhelm me also by its weight."

    "She has infatuated him," said Lord Cherbury; "she will be the
    bane of his life, the destruction of my hopes." "Not Miss
    Fitzalan," cried I, assuming as much coolness as possible,
    though, like the marchioness, I found it a difficult task; "not
    Miss Fitzalan, but the enemies of Miss Fitzalan deceived me. I
    own I was the dupe of the scheme contrived against her. Anything
    so horrid, so monstrous, so execrable, I did not think could
    have entered into the minds of those who were bound by the
    united ties of kindred and hospitality to protect her, and I
    rather believed I owed my misery to the frailty than to the
    turpitude of human nature." "You see, my lord," exclaimed the
    marchioness, turning to Lord Cherbury, "Lord Mortimer
    acknowledges his passion for this wretched girl." "I do," cried
    I, "I glory in confessing it. In loving Miss Fitzalan, I love
    virtue itself. In acknowledging a passion for her, I violate no
    faith, I break no engagement; my heart ever resisted entering
    into any which it could not fulfil." "Unfortunate
    prepossession," said Lord Cherbury, sternly. "But why, why, when
    you believed her guilty, were you so infatuated as to follow her
    to Ireland? Why not calmly resign her to the infamy she
    merited?" "I followed her my lord," I replied, "in hope to
    withdraw her from her seducer's arms, and place her in her
    father's. I hoped, I trusted, I should be able also to alleviate
    the bitter destiny of poor Fitzalan. Alas! not in the arms of a
    gay, successful seducer, but apparently in the arms of death,
    did I find Amanda. I saw her at the solemn hour which consigned
    her parent to his grave, and to have doubted her protestations
    of innocence then would have been almost impious. Gracious
    Heaven! how impossible to disbelieve her truth at the very
    moment her gentle spirit seemed about to take its flight to
    heaven! From that period she has stood acquitted in my mind, and
    from that period I determined to develop, to the utmost of my
    power, the machinations which had made me doubt her innocence.
    My success in their development has been beyond my expectations;
    but Providence is on the side of suffering virtue, and assists
    those who stand up in its support." Contrary to my first
    intention, my dear Amanda, I have given you a sketch of part of
    our conversation. For the remainder, it shall suffice to say,
    that the marchioness persevered in declaring I had bribed her
    servants to blacken her character, in order to clear Miss
    Fitzalan's, an attempt, she repeatedly assured me, I would find
    unsuccessful.

    The marquis talked in high terms of the dignity of his house,
    and how impossible it was the marchioness should ever have
    disgraced it by such actions as I accused her of committing. I
    answered him in a manner equally warm, that my accusations were
    too well grounded and supported to dread refutation. That it was
    not only due to injured innocence, but essential to my own
    honor, which would soon be materially concerned in whatever
    related to Miss Fitzalan, to have those accusations made public,
    if her ladyship refused to contradict the aspersions which might
    be thrown upon Miss Fitzalan, in consequence of the scene which
    passed at his lordship's house.

    This the marchioness, with mingled rage and contempt, refused
    doing, and Lady Euphrasia, after the hint I gave of soon being
    united to you, left the room in convulsive agitation.

    Lord Cherbury, I perceived, suspected foul play, by some
    speeches which dropped from him, such as, if there had been any
    misunderstanding between her ladyship and Miss Fitzalan, it was
    better surely to have it done away, or certainly, if any mistake
    was proved relative to the affair which happened in her
    ladyship's house, it was but justice to the young lady to have
    it cleared up.

    Yet, notwithstanding the interest he felt in the cause of
    suffering innocence, it was obvious to me that he dreaded a
    rupture with the marquis's family, and appeared shocked at the
    unequivocal declaration I had made of never being allied to it.

    Lady Martha Dormer took up the cause. The testimony Lord
    Mortimer had received, she said, of Miss Fitzalan's innocence
    was incontrovertible, and exempted him alike from being
    stigmatized either as the dupe of art or love. Humanity, she was
    convinced, exclusive of every warmer feeling, would have
    influenced him to have undertaken Miss Fitzalan's cause; it was
    the cause of innocence and virtue--a cause in which every
    detester of scandal and treachery should join, since not only
    the defenceless orphan, but the protected child of rank and
    prosperity, was vulnerable to their shafts.

    I again repeated the evidence of her servants, and the
    refutation of Mrs. Jennings to her former story. I produced, to
    strengthen it, the unopened letters of Colonel Belgrave--thus
    continuing to put proof upon proof of your innocence, as Sancho
    Panza says, upon the shoulders of demonstration.

    The passions of the marchioness rose at last to frantic
    violence. She persisted in alleging her integrity, and vilifying
    yours; but with a countenance so legibly impressed with guilt
    and confusion, that a doubt of her falsehood could not be
    entertained even by those who wished to doubt it.

    The scene of violence we now became witness to was painful to
    me, and shocking to Lady Martha. I therefore ordered the horses
    immediately to her ladyship's chariot, in which, accompanied by
    me, she had preceded Lord Cherbury's coach, from the idea that
    our continuance at the villa might not be quite so long as his
    lordship's.

    As we expected, his lordship stayed behind, with the hope, I
    perceived, of being able to calm the perturbations of the
    marchioness, and lessen the breach between us. He returned the
    next day to town. I have so long dwelt upon disagreeable scenes,
    that to go over any others would be dreadful; nor should I hint
    to you that I had such scenes to encounter, was it not to excuse
    and account to you for my absence from Castle Carberry. Our
    difficulties (you see I already unite your interests with mine)
    began to decrease, and are at last happily overcome. Lady Martha
    made me write her intentions relative to you, and his lordship
    was quite satisfied with them. He authorizes me to assure you he
    longs to receive you into his family, at once a boast and
    acquisition to it, and he says, he shall consider himself under
    obligations to you, if you hasten, as much as possible, the
    period of becoming one of its members, thus giving him an
    opportunity of making early amends, by attention to the
    daughter, for the injustice he did the father.

    Lady Martha Dormer's intentions I have only hinted to you; in
    the letter, which I have the pleasure of enclosing, she is more
    explicit concerning them. I have given you this long narrative
    on paper, that when we meet our conversation may be unembittered
    by any painful retrospect, and that we may enjoy uninterrupted
    the bright prospect which now lies before us.

    But ere I close my letter, I must inform you that, knowing you
    could never be selfishly wrapped up in your own enjoyments, I
    made every possible inquiry relative to your brother, and was at
    length referred by the agent of his late regiment to an officer
    in it; with some difficulty I found he had quitted his quarters
    on leave of absence. I wrote immediately to his family
    residence, and after waiting long and impatiently for an answer
    to my letter, I dispatched a special messenger to learn whether
    he was there or not. The courier returned with a polite note
    from the officer's father, informing me his son was gone on an
    excursion of pleasure with some friends, and that if he knew
    where to find him, he would have transmitted my letter, which I
    might depend on being answered the moment he returned. I have no
    doubt but we shall receive intelligence from him concerning Mr.
    Fitzalan. It shall then be our business, if his situation is not
    already pleasing, to change it, or render it as much so as
    possible to him. Keep up your spirits, therefore, about him, for
    by the time we arrive in England I expect a letter from his
    friend, and let me not be any more pained by seeing your
    countenance clouded with care or anxiety. As a reward for
    reining in my impatience to see you this evening, be propitious
    to my request for early admission to-morrow. If charitable, you
    will allow me to breakfast with you, for I shall take none
    except with you; and without an express command to the contrary,
    shall take it for granted I am expected. 'Tis said that contrast
    heightens pleasure, and I believe the saying--I believe that,
    without having felt pain in all its acuteness, as I have done, I
    never should have felt such pleasure as I now enjoy. After so
    often giving you up, so often lamenting you as lost forever, to
    think I shall soon call you mine, is a source of transport which
    words cannot express. Mine, I may say, is the resurrection of
    happiness, for has it not been revived from the very grave of
    despair? But I forgot that you have Lady Martha Dormer's letter
    still to peruse. I acknowledge that, for old friendship's sake,
    I supposed you would give mine the preference; but in all reason
    it is time I should resign my place to her ladyship. But ere I
    bid you adieu, I must tell you that Araminta is a sincere
    participator in our happiness. She arrived from Wales but a few
    minutes previous to my leaving London, and I would not allow her
    time, as she wished, to write to you. I almost forgot to tell
    you that the marquis's family, amongst whom Lady Greystock is
    still numbered, instead of returning to town, set out for
    Brighthelmstone. I have learned, contrary to my and their
    expectations, that neither the housekeeper nor Mrs. Jane have
    been dismissed, but both sent to a distant seat of the
    marquis's. As we know the marchioness's revengeful disposition,
    it is plain she has some secret motive for not gratifying it
    immediately by their dismission; but what it is can be of little
    consequence for us to learn, since we are both too well guarded
    to suffer from any future plot of hers. Like every other which
    was formed against my dear Amanda, I trust they will ever prove
    abortive. I was disturbed within a few miles of Castle Carberry
    by a gentleman passing on horseback, who either strongly
    resembled, or was Colonel Belgrave. My blood boiled in my veins
    at his sight. I left the carriage, mounted one of my servant's
    horses, and endeavored to overtake him. He certainly avoided me
    by taking some cross-road, as his speed could not have
    outstripped mine. My efforts to discover his habitation were
    equally unsuccessful. As to your personal security I had no
    apprehensions, having heard constantly from my good friend the
    doctor about you; but I dreaded the wretch, if it were really
    him, might disturb your tranquillity, either by forcing into
    your presence, or writing. Thank Heaven, from all intrusions or
    dangers of this kind my Amanda will now be guarded. But again am
    I trespassing on the time you should devote to Lady Martha's
    letter. Adieu, and do not disappoint my hopes of being allowed
    to visit you early.

    MORTIMER.

Amanda perused this letter with emotions which can be better conceived
than described. She could scarcely have parted with it without a second
reading, had not Lady Martha's demanded her attention. She snatched it
hastily from the ground where it hitherto lay neglected, and read to the
following purpose:--

    That I warmly and sincerely congratulate my dear and amiable
    Miss Fitzalan on the happy revolution in her affairs, she will
    readily believe, persuaded as she must be of the deep interest I
    take in whatever concerns a person on whom the happiness of him
    whom I have loved from childhood so materially--so entirely, I
    may say--depends.

    Yet do not suppose me, my dear Miss Fitzalan, so selfish as not
    to be able to rejoice at your happiness on your own account,
    exclusive of every consideration relative to Lord Mortimer. Long
    since I was taught by description to esteem and admire you, and
    even when the hope of being connected with you became extinct, I
    could not so totally forego that admiration as to feel
    uninterested about you. Oh I how truly do I rejoice at the
    revival of the hope I have just mentioned, and at its revival
    with every prospect of its being speedily realized! I shall
    consider Lord Mortimer as one of the most fortunate of men in
    calling you his, and to think I have been able to promote his
    happiness gives me a satisfaction which never was, nor ever will
    be, equalled by any circumstance in my life.

    Though I cannot give my adopted daughter a fortune by any means
    equal to that which Lady Euphrasia Sutherland will possess, Lord
    Cherbury is fully sensible that her perfections will abundantly
    make up for any deficiency in this respect. Ten thousand pounds,
    and one thousand a year, is at present to be her portion, and
    the reversion of the remainder of my fortune is to be secured to
    her and Lord Mortimer; the final adjustment of all affairs is to
    take place at my house in the country, whither I propose going
    immediately, accompanied by Lady Araminta, and where we shall
    both most impatiently expect your arrival, which, we mutually
    entreat, may be hastened as much as possible, consistent with
    your health and convenience. Lord Cherbury has promised to
    follow us in a few days, so that I suppose he will also be at
    Thornbury to receive you. Would to Heaven, my dear Miss
    Fitzalan, injured virtue and innocence may always meet with such
    champions to vindicate them as Lord Mortimer. Was that the case,
    we should see many lovely victims of scorn and reproach raising
    their heads with triumph and satisfaction. But pardon my
    involuntarily adverting to past scenes, though, at the same
    time, I think you have reason to rejoice at your trials, which
    served as so many tests and proofs of the estimable qualities
    you possess. Farewell, my dear Miss Fitzalan. I have been brief
    in my letter, because I know I should not be pardoned by a
    certain person, if I engrossed too much of your time. I told him
    I would give you a hint of the impetuosity of his disposition;
    but he told me, perhaps to prevent this, that you were already
    acquainted with it. In one instance I shall commend him for
    displaying it: that is, in hastening you to Thornbury, to the
    arms of your sincere and affectionate friend,

    MARTHA DORMER.

Amanda's happiness was now almost as great as it could be in this world;
almost I say, for it received alloy from the melancholy consideration
that her father, that faithful and affectionate friend who had shared
her troubles, could not be a partaker of her joys; but the sigh of
unavailing regret which rose in her mind she checked, by reflecting,
that happiness all perfect was more than humanity could either support
or expect, and with pious gratitude she bent to the Power who had
changed the discolored prospect, by which she had been so long
surrounded, into one of cheerfulness and beauty.

If her pride was wounded by the hint, though so delicately conveyed,
which Lord Mortimer had given of the difficulties he encountered in
gaining Lord Cherbury's approbation, it was instantly relieved by the
flattering commendations of Lady Martha Dormer, and to be connected with
her and Lady Araminta, she looked upon amongst the most valuable
blessings she could enjoy.

To express what she felt for Lord Mortimer would be impossible--language
could not do justice to her feelings--she felt love, gratitude, and
admiration for him, all in the fullest extent, and all united, and she
wept in the fulness of her heart over the joyful assurance of being his.
With the two letters in her hand, she repaired to the prioress's
apartment, whom she found alone. The good old lady saw the traces of
tears on Amanda's face, and exclaimed, in a voice which evinced her
sympathy in her concerns, "Oh! I fear, my child, something has happened
to disturb you!" Amanda presented her the letters, and bid her judge
from them whether she had not reason to be agitated. As the prioress
read, her sudden and broken exclamations manifested her surprise and
pleasure, and frequently were her spectacles removed to wipe from off
them the tears of joy by which they were bedewed. When she finished the
welcome packet, she turned to Amanda, who had been attentively watching
the various turns in her countenance, and gave her a congratulatory
embrace. "Lord Mortimer is worthy of you, my child," said the prioress,
"and that is the highest eulogium I can pass on him." After commenting
upon different parts of the letter, she asked Amanda a little archly,
"whether she intended sending an express command to his lordship against
coming early in the morning?" Amanda honestly confessed she had no such
intention, and expressed her wish to behold him. The prioress said she
would have breakfast prepared for them in the garden parlor, and that
she would take care they should not be interrupted. She also promised to
keep everything secret till matters were arranged for Amanda's removal
from St. Catherine's.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

  "Thus let me hold thee to my heart,
   And every care resign;
   And shall we never--never part,
   Oh! thou my all that's mine."--GOLDSMITH.


Joy is as great an enemy to repose as anxiety. Amanda passed an almost
sleepless night, but her thoughts were too agreeably employed to allow
her to suffer from want of rest; early as she arose in the morning, she
was but a short time in the parlor before Lord Mortimer arrived. He
appeared with all the transports of his soul beaming from his eyes, and
was received by Amanda with tender and trembling emotion. He caught her
to his heart as a treasure restored to him by the immediate hand of
Heaven. He pressed her to it with silent ecstasy. Both for a few moments
were unable to speak; but the tears which burst from Amanda, and those
that stopped on the glowing cheeks of Lord Mortimer, expressed their
feelings more forcibly than any language could have done.

Amanda at length found utterance, and began to thank his lordship for
all the difficulties he had gone through in vindicating her fame. He
hastily stopped those effusions of gratitude, by bidding her ask her
heart whether he had not been serving himself as well as her by what he
had done.

From the soft confusion into which his transports threw her, Amanda
endeavored to recover herself by repairing to the breakfast table, on
which the good sisters had spread all the niceties (adapted for a
morning repast) which the convent could produce: but her hand was
unsteady, she spilt the tea in pouring it out, and committed twenty
blunders in helping Lord Mortimer. He laughed a little archly at her
embarrassment, and insisted on doing the honors of the table himself, to
which Amanda, with a deep blush, consented; but breakfast was little
attended to. Amanda's hand was detained in Lord Mortimer's, while his
eyes were continually turning towards her, as if to assure his heart
that, in the lovely evidence of his happiness, there was no deception;
and the tenderness Amanda had no longer reason to restrain beamed from
her looks, which also evinced her perfect sensibility of her present
felicity--a felicity heightened by her approving conscience testifying
she had merited it. The pure, the delightful satisfaction resulting from
this reflection gave such radiance to her complexion, that Lord Mortimer
repeatedly declared her residence at St. Catherine's had made her more
beautiful than ever. Twelve o'clock struck, and found them still
loitering over the breakfast table. "The nuns will think we have made a
tolerable feast," cried Lord Mortimer, smiling, while Amanda rose with
precipitation. "I need not," continued he, following her, "like Sterne,
ask nature what has made the meal so delicious; I need only ask my own
heart, and it will inform me, love and tenderness." Amanda blushed, and
they went together into the garden. She would have walked before the
windows of the convent, but Lord Mortimer forced her gently into a dark,
sequestered alley. Here their conversation became more connected than it
had been hitherto. The generous intentions of Lady Martha Dormer, and
the arrangements she had made for the reception and nuptials of Amanda,
were talked over. The marriage was to take place at Thornbury, Lady
Martha's seat; they were to continue there for a month after its
solemnization, and from thence to go to an estate of Lord Cherbury's for
the remainder of the summer; a house in one of the squares was to be
taken and prepared for their residence in winter, and Lady Martha Dormer
had promised, whenever she came to town, which was but seldom, she would
make their house her home, provided they would promise to spend every
Christmas, and three months at least in summer, with her at Thornbury.
Lord Mortimer said he had his choice of any of the earl's seats, but
chose none, from an idea of the Hall being more agreeable to Amanda. She
assured him it was, and he proceeded to mention the presents which Lady
Martha had prepared for her, also the carriages and retinue he had
provided, and expected to find at Thornbury against she reached it,
still asking if the arrangements he had made met her approbation.

Amanda was affected even to tears by the solicitude he showed to please
her; and he, perceiving her emotions, changed the discourse to talk
about her removal from St. Catherine's. He entreated her not to delay it
longer than was absolutely necessary to adjust matters for it. She
promised compliance to this entreaty, acknowledging that she but obeyed
her inclinations in doing so, as she longed to be presented to her
generous patroness, Lady Martha, and to her amiable and beloved Lady
Araminta. Lord Mortimer, delicately considerate about all which
concerned her, begged she would speak to the prioress to procure a
decent female, who should be a proper attendant for her in her journey.
They should travel together in one chaise, and he would follow them in
another. Amanda promised she would lose no time in making this request,
which, she had no doubt, would be successful.

Lord Mortimer presented her with a very beautiful embroidered purse,
containing notes to the amount of five hundred pounds. Amanda blushed
deeply, and felt her feelings a little hurt at the idea of being obliged
to Lord Mortimer for everything. He pressed her hand, and in a voice of
soothing tenderness, told her he should be offended if she did not, from
this moment, consider her interest inseparable from his. The notes, he
said, of right belonged to her, as they amounted to but the individual
sum he had already devoted to her use. He requested she would not curb
in the least her generous spirit, but fulfil, to the utmost extent, all
the claims which gratitude had upon her. The benevolent sisters of St.
Catherine's were the foremost in the list of those who had conferred
obligations upon her, and he desired she would not only reward them
liberally at present, but promise them an annual stipend of fifty
pounds.

Amanda was truly delighted at this. To be able to contribute to the
comfort of those who had so largely promoted hers, was a source of
exquisite felicity. Lord Mortimer presented her with his picture, which
he had drawn in London for that purpose. It was a striking likeness, and
most elegantly set with brilliants, which formed, a cipher upon a plait
of hair at the back. This was indeed a precious present to Amanda, and
she acknowledged it was such. Lord Mortimer said, that "in return for it
he should expect hers at some future time;" but added, smiling, "I shall
not heed the shadow till I procure the substance." He also gave her a
very beautiful ring, with an emblematical device, and adorned in the
same manner as his picture, which Lady Martha had sent as a pledge of
future friendship; and he now informed her, "that her ladyship,
accompanied by Lady Araminta, intended meeting them at Holyhead, that
all due honor and attention might be paid to her adopted daughter."

In the midst of their conversation the dinner-bell rang from the
convent. Amanda started, and declared she had not supposed it half so
late. The arch smile which this speech occasioned in Lord Mortimer,
instantly made her perceive it had been a tacit confession of the
pleasure she enjoyed in their _tete-à-tete_.

She blushed, and telling him she could not stay another moment, was
hurrying away. He hastily caught her, and holding both her hands,
declared she should not depart, neither would he to his solitary dinner,
till she promised he might return to her early in the evening. To this
she consented, provided he allowed her to have the prioress and Sister
Mary at least at tea. This was a condition Lord Mortimer by no means
liked to agree to, and he endeavored to prevail on her to drop it; but
finding her inflexible, he said she was a provoking girl, and asked her
if she was not afraid that, when he had the power, he would retaliate
upon her for all the trials she put his patience to. But since she would
have it so, why, it must be so to be sure, he said; but he hoped the
good ladies would have too much conscience to sit out the whole evening
with them. That was all chance, Amanda said. The bell again rang, and he
was forced to depart.

She took the opportunity of being alone with the prioress for a few
minutes, to speak to her about procuring a female to attend her in her
journey. The prioress said she doubted not but she could procure her an
eligible person from the neighboring town, and promised to write there
that very evening, to a family who would be able to assist her
inquiries.

Both she and Sister Mary were much pleased by being invited to drink tea
with Lord Mortimer. He came even earlier than was expected. Poor Amanda
was terrified, lest her companions should overhear him repeatedly asking
her, whether they would not retire immediately after tea. Though not
overheard, the prioress had too much sagacity not to know her departure
was desired; she, therefore, under pretence of business, retired and
took Mary along with her.

Amanda and Lord Mortimer went into the garden. He thanked her for not
losing time in speaking to the prioress about her servant, and said that
he hoped, at the end of the week at farthest, she would be ready to
begin her journey. Amanda readily promised to use all possible dispatch.
They passed some delightful hours in rambling about the garden, and
talking over their felicity.

The prioress's expectation was answered relative to a servant. In the
course of two days she produced one in every respect agreeable to
Amanda, and things were now in such forwardness for her departure, that
she expected it would take place as soon as Lord Mortimer had mentioned.
His time was passed almost continually at St. Catherine's, never leaving
it except at dinner-time, when he went to Castle Carberry. His residence
there was soon known, and visitors and invitations without number came
to the castle, but he found means of avoiding them.

Amanda, laughing, would often tell him he retarded the preparations for
her journey by being always with her; this, he said, was only a pretext
to drive him away, for that he rather forwarded them by letting her lose
no time.

Lord Mortimer, on coming to Amanda one evening as usual, appeared
uncommonly discomposed, his face was flushed, and his whole manner
betrayed agitation. He scarcely noticed Amanda; but seating himself,
placed his arm upon a table, and leaned his head dejectedly upon it.
Amanda was inexpressibly shocked--her heart panted with apprehension of
ill; but she felt too timid to make any inquiry. He suddenly knit his
brows, and muttered between his teeth, "Curse on the wretch!"

Amanda could no longer keep silence. "What wretch," she exclaimed, "or
what is the meaning of this disorder?" "First tell me, Amanda," said he,
looking very steadfastly at her, "have you seen any stranger here
lately?" "Good Heaven!" replied she, "what can you mean by such a
question? But I solemnly assure you I have not." "Enough," said he,
"such an assurance restores me to quiet; but, my dear Amanda," coming
over to her, and taking her hands in his, "since you have perceived my
agitation, I must account to you for it. I have just seen Belgrave; he
was but a few yards from me on the Common when I saw him; but the mean
despicable wretch, loaded as he is with conscious guilt, durst not face
me. He got out of my way by leaping over the hedge which divides the
Common from a lane with many intricate windings. I endeavored, but
without success, to discover the one he had retreated through." "I see,"
said Amanda, pale and trembling, "he is destined to make me wretched. I
had hoped indeed that Lord Mortimer would no more have suffered his
quiet to be interrupted by him; it implies such a doubt," said she,
weeping, "as shocks my soul! If suspicion is thus continually to be
revived, we had better separate at once, for misery must be the
consequence of a union without mutual confidence." "Gracious Heaven!"
said Lord Mortimer, "how unfortunate I am to give you pain. You mistake
entirely, indeed, my dearest Amanda, the cause of my uneasiness. I swear
by all that is sacred, no doubt, no suspicion of your worth, has arisen
in my mind. No man can think more highly of a woman than I do of you;
but I was disturbed lest the wretch should have forced himself into your
presence, and lest you, through apprehension for me, concealed it from
me."

This explanation calmed the perturbation of Amanda. As an atonement for
the uneasiness he had given her, she wanted Lord Mortimer to promise he
would not endeavor to discover Belgrave. This promise he avoided giving,
and Amanda was afraid of pressing it, lest the spark of jealousy, which
she was convinced existed in the disposition of Lord Mortimer, should be
blown into a flame. That Belgrave would studiously avoid him she
trusted, and she resolved that if the things that she had deemed it
necessary to order from the neighboring town were not finished, to wait
no longer for them, as she longed now more than ever to quit a place she
thought dangerous to Lord Mortimer. The ensuing morning, instead of
seeing his lordship at breakfast, a note was brought to her couched in
these words:

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    I am unavoidably prevented from waiting on my dear Amanda this
    morning, but in the course of the day she may depend on either
    seeing or hearing from me again. She can have no excuse now on
    my account about not hastening the preparations for her journey,
    and when we meet, if I find that her time has not been employed
    for this purpose, she may expect a severe chiding from her
    faithful

    MORTIMER.

This note filled Amanda with the most alarming disquiet. It was evident
to her that he was gone in pursuit of Belgrave. She ran into the hall to
inquire of the messenger about his master, but he was gone. She then
hastened to the prioress and communicated her apprehensions to her.

The prioress endeavored to calm them, by assuring her she might be
convinced that Belgrave had taken too many precautions to be discovered.

Amanda's breakfast, however, remained untouched, and her things
unpacked, and she continued the whole morning the picture of anxiety,
impatiently expecting the promised visit or letter. Neither came, and
she resolved to send, after dinner, the old gardener to Castle Carberry
to inquire about Lord Mortimer. While she was speaking to him for that
purpose, the maid followed her into the garden, and told her there was a
messenger in the parlor from Lord Mortimer. She flew thither, but what
words can express her surprise when the supposed messenger, raising a
large hat, which shadowed his face, and removing a handkerchief, which
he had hitherto held up to it, discovered to her view the features of
Lord Cherbury? She could only exclaim, "Gracious Heaven! has anything
happened to Lord Mortimer?" ere she sunk into a chair in breathless
agitation.



CHAPTER XL.

                      "My heavy heart
   The prophetess of woe, foretells some ill
   At hand."


Lord Cherbury hastened to support and calm her agitation, by assuring
her Lord Mortimer was in perfect safety. Recovering a little by this
assertion, she asked him "how he was assured of this?" He answered,
"because he had seen him, though without being perceived by him, about
an hour ago." Amanda, restored to her faculties by being assured he was
uninjured, began to reflect on the suddenness of Lord Cherbury's visit.
She would have flattered herself he came to introduce her to his family
himself, had not his looks almost forbid such an idea. They were gloomy
and disordered; his eyes were fastened on her, yet he appeared unwilling
to speak.

Amanda felt herself in too awkward and embarrassing a situation to break
the unpleasant silence. At last Lord Cherbury suddenly exclaimed, "Lord
Mortimer does not, nor must not, know of my being here." "Must not!"
repeated Amanda, in inconceivable astonishment.

"Gracious Heaven!" said Lord Cherbury, starting from the chair on which
he had thrown himself opposite her, "how shall I begin, how shall I tell
her! Oh! Miss Fitzalan," he continued, approaching her, "I have much to
say, and you have much to hear which will shock you. I believed I could
better in an interview have informed you of particulars, but I find I
was mistaken. I will write to you." "My lord," cried Amanda, rising, all
pale and trembling, "tell me now; to leave me in suspense, after
receiving such dreadful hints, would be cruelty. Oh! surely, if Lord
Mortimer be safe--if Lady Martha Dormer--if Lady Araminta is well--I can
have nothing so very shocking to hear." "Alas!" replied he, mournfully
shaking his head, "you are mistaken. Be satisfied, however, that the
friends you have mentioned are all well. I have said I would write to
you. Can you meet me this evening amongst the ruins?" Amanda gave an
assenting bow. "I shall then," pursued he, "have a letter ready to
deliver you. In the mean time, I must inform you no person in the world
knows of my visit here but yourself, and of all beings Lord Mortimer is
the last I should wish to know it. Remember, then, Miss Fitzalan,"
taking her hand, which he grasped with violence, as if to impress his
words upon her heart, "remember that upon your secrecy everything most
estimable in life, even life itself, perhaps, depends."

With these dreadful and mysterious words he departed, leaving Amanda a
picture of horror and surprise. It was many minutes ere she moved from
the attitude in which he left her, and when she did, it was only to walk
in a disordered manner about the room, repeating his dreadful words. He
was come, perhaps, to part her and Lord Mortimer, and yet, after
consenting to their union, surely Lord Cherbury could not be guilty of
such treachery and deceit. Yet, if this was not the case, why conceal
his coming to Ireland from Lord Mortimer? Why let it be known only to
her? And what could be the secrets of dreadful import he had to
communicate?

From these self-interrogations, in which her reason was almost
bewildered, the entrance of the prioress drew her.

She started at seeing the pale and distracted looks of Amanda, and
asked, "if she had heard any bad tidings of Lord Mortimer?"

Amanda sighed heavily at this question, and said, "No." The secrecy she
had been enjoined to she durst not violate, by mentioning the mysterious
visit to her friend. Unable, however, to converse on any other subject,
she resolved to retire to her chamber. She placed her illness and
agitation to the account of Lord Mortimer, and said a little rest was
absolutely necessary for her, and begged, if his lordship came in the
course of the evening, he might be told she was too ill to see him.

The prioress pressed her to stay for tea. She refused, and, as she
retired from the room, desired nothing might be said of the person who
had just seen her to Lord Mortimer, saying, with a faint smile, "she
would not make him vain by letting him know of her anxiety about him."
She retired to her chamber, and endeavored to control her perturbations,
that she might be the better enabled to support what she had so much
reason to apprehend. Neither the prioress nor the nuns, in obedience to
her injunctions, intruded upon her, and at the appointed hour she softly
opened the chamber door, and, every place being clear, stole softly from
the convent.

She found Lord Cherbury waiting for her amidst the solitary ruins. He
had a letter in his hand, which he presented to her the moment she
appeared.

"In this letter, Miss Fitzalan," said he, "I have opened to you my whole
heart. I have disburdened it of secrets which have long oppressed it. I
have intrusted my honor to your care. From what I have said, that its
contents are of a sacred nature, you may believe, should they be
considered in any other light by you, the consequence may, nay, must be
fatal." He said this with a sternness that made Amanda shrink. "Meditate
well on the contents of that letter, Miss Fitzalan," continued he, with
a voice of deep solemnity, "for it is a letter which will fix your
destiny and mine. Even should the request contained in it be refused,
let me be the first acquainted with the refusal. Then indeed I shall
urge you no more to secrecy, for what will follow, in consequence of
such a refusal, must divulge all." "Oh! tell me, tell me," said Amanda,
catching hold of his arm, "tell me what is the request or what it is I
am to fear. Oh! tell me all at once, and rid me of the torturing
suspense I endure." "I cannot," he cried, "indeed, I cannot. To-morrow
night I shall expect your answer here at the same hour."

At this moment Lord Mortimer's voice calling upon Amanda was heard. Lord
Cherbury dropped her hand, which he had taken, and instantly retired
amongst the windings of the pile, from whence Lord Mortimer soon
appeared, giving Amanda only time to hide the fatal letter.

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed he, "what could have brought you hither, and
who was the person who just departed from you?" It was well for Amanda
that the twilight gave but an imperfect view of her face. She felt her
color come and go; a cold dew overspread her forehead; she leaned
against a rude fragment of the building, and faintly exclaimed, "the
person----" "Yes," said Lord Mortimer, "I am sure I heard retreating
footsteps." "You are mistaken," repeated Amanda, in the same faint
accent. "Well," said he, "though you may dispute the evidence of my
ears, you cannot the evidence of my eyes. I see you here, and I am
astonished at it." "I came here for air," said Amanda. "For air!"
repeated Lord Mortimer; "I own I should have thought the garden better
adapted for such a purpose; but why come hither in a clandestine manner?
Why, if you have the fears you would persuade me you have, expose
yourself to danger from the wretch who haunts the place, by coming here
alone. When I went to the convent I was told you were indisposed, and
could not be disturbed. I could not depart, however, without making an
effort to see you; but you can easier imagine than I describe the
consternation I felt when you could not be found. It was wrong, indeed,
Amanda, it was wrong to come here alone, and affect concealment."
"Gracious Heaven!" said Amanda, raising her hands and eyes, and bursting
into tears, "how wretched am I!"

She was indeed at this moment superlatively wretched. Her heart was
oppressed by the dread of evil, and she perceived suspicions in Lord
Mortimer which she could not attempt to remove, lest an intimation of
the secret she was so awfully enjoined to keep should escape.

"Ah! Amanda," said Lord Mortimer, losing in a moment the asperity with
which he had addressed her at first, "ah! Amanda, like the rest of your
sex, you know too well the power of your tears not to use them. Forget,
or at least forgive, all I have said. I was disappointed in not seeing
you the moment I expected, and that put me out of temper. I know I am
too impetuous, but you will in time subdue every unruly passion. I put
myself into your hands, and you shall make me what you please."

He now pressed her to his bosom, and finding her tremble universally,
again implored her forgiveness, as he imputed the agitation she betrayed
entirely to the uneasiness he had given her. She assured him, with a
faltering voice, he had not offended her. Her spirits were affected, she
said, by all she had suffered during the day. Lord Mortimer placing, as
she wished, those sufferings to his own account, declared her anxiety at
once pained and pleased him; adding, he would truly confess what
detained him from her during the day as soon as they returned to the
convent.

Their return to it relieved the sisterhood, who had also been seeking
Amanda, from many apprehensions. The prioress and Sister Mary followed
them into the parlor, where Lord Mortimer begged "they would have
compassion on him, and give him something for his supper, as he had
scarcely eaten anything the whole day." Sister Mary instantly replied,
"he should be gratified, as Amanda was in the same predicament, and she
hoped he would be now able to prevail on her to eat." The cloth was
accordingly laid, and a few trifles placed upon it. Sister Mary would
gladly have stayed, but the prioress had understanding enough to think
the supper would be more palatable if they were absent, and accordingly
retired.

Lord Mortimer now, with the most soothing tenderness, tried to cheer his
fair companion, and make her take some refreshment; but his efforts for
either of those purposes were unsuccessful, and she besought him not to
think her obstinate, if she could not in a moment recover her spirits.
To divert his attention a little from himself, she asked him to perform
his promise, by relating what had kept him the whole day from St.
Catherine's.

He now acknowledged "he had been in search of Belgrave; but the
precautions he had taken to conceal himself baffled all inquiries, which
convinces me," continued Lord Mortimer, "if I wanted conviction about
such a matter, that he has not yet dropped his villanous designs upon
you; but the wretch cannot always escape the vengeance he merits." "May
he never," cried Amanda, fervently yet involuntarily, "meet it from your
hands." "We will drop that part of the subject," said Lord Mortimer, "if
you please. You must know," continued he, "after scouring the whole
neighborhood, I fell in, about four miles hence, with a gentleman who
had visited at the Marquis of Roslin's last summer. He immediately asked
me to accompany him home to dinner. From his residence in the country I
thought it probable he might be able to give some account of Belgrave,
and therefore accepted the invitation; but my inquiries were as
fruitless here as elsewhere. When I found it so, I was on thorns to
depart, particularly as all the gentlemen were set in for drinking, and
feared I might be thrown into an improper situation to visit my Amanda.
I was on the watch, however, and, to use their sporting term, literally
stole away." "Thank Heaven!" said Amanda, "your inquiries proved
fruitless. Oh! never, never repeat them. Think no more about a wretch so
despicable." "Well," cried Lord Mortimer, "why don't you hurry me from
the neighborhood? Fix the day, the moment for our departure. I have been
here already five days. Lady Martha's patience is, I dare say, quite
exhausted by this time, and should we delay much longer, I suppose, she
will think we have both become converts to the holy rites of this
convent, and that I, instead of taking the vows which should make me a
joyful bridegroom, am about taking those which shall doom me to
celibacy. Seriously, what but want of inclination can longer detain
you?" "Ah!" said Amanda, "you know too well that my departure cannot be
retarded by want of inclination." "Then why not decide immediately upon
the day?" Amanda was silent; her situation was agonizing; how could she
fix upon a day, uncertain whether she did not possess a letter which
would prevent her ever taking the projected journey!

"Well," said Lord Mortimer, after allowing her some time to speak, "I
see I must fix the day myself; this is Tuesday--let it be Thursday."
"Let us drop the subject this night, my lord," said Amanda; "I am really
ill, and only wait for your departure to retire to rest." Lord Mortimer
obeyed her, but with reluctance, and soon after retired.



CHAPTER XLI.

  "As one condemned to leap a precipice,
   Who sees before his eyes the depths below,
   Stops short, and looks about for some kind shrub
   To break his dreadful fall."--DRYDEN.


Amanda went to her chamber the moment Lord Mortimer departed: the nuns
were already retired to rest, so that the stillness which reigned
through the house added to the awfulness of her feelings, as she sat
down to peruse a letter which she had been previously informed would fix
her fate.

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    To destroy a prospect of felicity, at the very moment its
    enveloping glooms are dispersed, is indeed the source of pangs
    most dreadful; yet such are the horrors of my destiny, that
    nothing but intervening between you, Mortimer and happiness, can
    save me from perdition. Appalled at this dreadful assertion, the
    letter drops from your trembling hands; but oh! dear Miss
    Fitzalan, cast it not utterly aside till you peruse the rest of
    the contents, and fix the destiny of the most wretched of
    mankind, wretched in thinking he shall interrupt not only your
    peace, but the peace of a son so noble, so gracious, so idolized
    as Mortimer is by him; but I will not longer torture your
    feelings by keeping you in suspense; the preface I have already
    given is sufficient, and I will be explicit: gambling, that
    bane of fame and fortune, has been my ruin; but whilst I
    indulged, so well did I conceal my propensity for it, that even
    those I called my friends were ignorant of it. With shame I
    confess I was ever foremost to rail against this vice, which was
    continually drawing sums in secret from me, that would have
    given comfort and affluence to many a child in want. For some
    time my good and bad fortune were so equal, that my income
    suffered no considerable diminution. About five years ago a Mr.
    Freelove, a particular friend of mine, died, and left to my care
    his only son, whom, I dare say, you may recollect having seen at
    my house last winter. This young man's property was consigned to
    my care, to manage as much for his advantage as I could; it
    consisted of a large estate and fifty thousand pounds. At the
    period Freelove became my ward, I had had a constant run of
    ill-luck for many months. The ardor of gaming (unlike every
    other passion) is rather increased than diminished by
    disappointment. Without being warned, therefore, by ill-success,
    I still went on, till all I could touch of my own property was
    gone. Did I then retire, ashamed of my folly? No. I could not
    bear to do so, without another effort to recover my losses, and
    in that effort risked something more precious than I had ever
    yet done--namely, my honor, by using the money which lay in my
    hands belonging to Freelove; the long period which was to elapse
    ere he came of age, emboldened me to this. Ere that period I
    trusted I should have retrieved my losses, and be enabled not
    only to discharge the principal, but whatever interest it would
    have brought, if applied to another purpose. I followed the bent
    of my evil genius, sum after sum taken up, and all alike buried
    in the accursed vortex which had already swallowed so much from
    me! But when I found all was gone, oh, Miss Fitzalan! I still
    tremble at the distraction of that moment.

    All, as I have said before, that I could touch of my property
    was gone; the remainder was so settled I had no power over it,
    except joined by my son. Great as was the injury that he would
    sustain by mortgaging it, I was confident he never would
    hesitate doing so if acquainted with my distress; but to let him
    know it was worse than a death of torture could be to me; his
    early excellence, the nobleness of his principles, mingled in
    the love I felt for him a degree of awe; to confess myself a
    villain to such a character, to acknowledge my life had been a
    scene of deceit; to be abashed, confounded in the presence of my
    son--to meet his piercing eye--to see the blush of shame mantle
    his cheeks for his father's crimes--Oh, horrible!--most
    horrible! I raved at the idea, and resolved, if driven by
    necessity to tell him of my baseness, not to survive the
    confession. At this critical juncture the Marquis of Roslin came
    from Scotland to reside in London. An intimacy which had been
    dormant for years between our families was then revived, and I
    soon found that an alliance between them would be pleasing. The
    prospect of it raised me from the very depth of despair. But my
    transports were of short continuance, for Mortimer not only
    showed but expressed the strongest repugnance to such a
    connection. Time and daily experience, I trusted, would so
    forcibly convince him of the advantages of it, as at last to
    conquer this repugnance. Nor did the hope of an alliance taking
    place entirely forsake my heart, till informed that his was
    already bestowed upon another object. My feelings at this
    information I shall not attempt to describe. All hope of saving
    myself from dishonor was now cut off; for though dutiful and
    attentive to me in the highest degree, I could not flatter
    myself that Mortimer would blindly sacrifice his reason and
    inclination to my will. The most fatal intentions again took
    possession of my mind; but the uncertainties he suffered on your
    account kept me in horrible suspense as to their execution.
    After some months of torture, I began again to revive, by
    learning that you and Mortimer were inevitably separated. And
    such is the selfish nature of vice; so abandoned is it to all
    feelings of humanity, that I rather rejoiced at, than lamented
    the supposed disgrace of the daughter of my friend. But the
    persevering constancy of Mortimer--rather let me say the
    immediate interposition of Providence--soon gave her reason to
    triumph over the arts of her enemies, and I was again reduced to
    despair. Mortimer, I dare say, from motives of delicacy, has
    concealed from you the opposition I gave to his wishes after
    your innocence was cleared, and the intentions of Lady Martha
    Dormer relative to you were made known. At last I found I must
    either seem to acquiesce in these wishes and intentions, or
    divulge my real motive for opposing them; or else quarrel with
    my son and sister, and appear in their eyes the most selfish of
    human beings. I, therefore, to appearance acquiesced, but
    resolved in reality to throw myself upon your mercy, believing
    that a character so tender, so perfect, so heroic-like as yours
    has been, through every scene of distress, would have compassion
    on a fallen fellow-creature. Was my situation otherwise than it
    now is--were you even portionless--I should rejoice at having
    you united to my family, from your own intrinsic merit. Situated
    as I now am, the fortune Lady Martha Dormer proposes giving you
    can be of no consequence to me. The projected match between you
    and Mortimer is yet a secret from the public--of course it has
    not lessened his interest with the Roslin family. I have already
    been so fortunate as to adjust the unlucky difference which took
    place between them, and remove any resentment they entertained
    against him; and I am confident the first overture he should
    make for a union with Lady Euphrasia would be successful. The
    fortune which would immediately be received with her is sixty
    thousand pounds, and five thousand a-year. The first would be
    given up to me in place of the settlement I should make on Lord
    Mortimer; so that you see, my dear Miss Fitzalan, his marriage
    with Lady Euphrasia would at once extricate me from all my
    difficulties. Freelove in a few months will be of age, and the
    smallest delay in settling with him, after he attains that
    period, must brand me with dishonor. I stand upon the verge of a
    dreadful abyss, and it is in your power only to preserve me from
    plunging into it--you who, like an angel of mercy, may bid me
    live, and save me from destruction. Yet think not in resigning
    Lord Mortimer, if, indeed, such a resignation should take place,
    you sacrifice your own interest. No; it shall be my grateful
    care to secure to you independence; and I am confident, among
    the many men you must meet, sensible of your worth, and
    enraptured with your charms, you may yet select one as
    calculated to render you happy as Mortimer; while he,
    disappointed of the object of his affections, will, I have no
    doubt, without longer hesitation, accept the one I shall again
    propose to him. But should you determine on giving him up, you
    ask how, and by what means, you can break with him after what
    has passed, without revealing your real motive for doing so to
    him. That is indeed a difficulty; but after going so far, I must
    not hesitate in telling you how it can be removed. You must
    retire secretly from his knowledge, and leave no clue behind by
    which you can be traced. If you comply with the first of my
    requests, but stop short here, you will defeat all that your
    mercy, your pity, your compassion, would do to save me, since
    the consequence of any hesitation must be a full explanation,
    and I have already said it, and now repeat it in the most solemn
    manner, that I will not survive the divulgement of my
    secret--for never, no, never will I live humbled in the eyes of
    my son. If, then, you comply, comply not in part. Pardon me,
    dear Miss Fitzalan, if you think there is anything arbitrary in
    my style. I would have softened, if I could, all I had to say,
    but the time, the danger, the necessity, urged me to be
    explicit. I have now to you, as to a superior Being, opened my
    whole heart. It rests with you whether I shall live to atone
    for my follies, or by one desperate action terminate them.
    Should you show me mercy, unworthy as I am of it--should you in
    compassion to poor Mortimer, comply with a request which can
    only save him from the pangs he would feel at a father's
    quitting life unbidden, my gratitude, my admiration, my
    protection whilst I live, will be yours, and the first act of my
    restored life will be to secure you a competence. I shall wait
    with trembling anxiety for your appearance tomorrow night. Till
    then, believe me

    Your sincere, though most unhappy friend,

    CHERBURY.

The fatal letter fell from Amanda. A mist overspread her eyes, and she
sunk senseless on her chair; but the privation of her misery was of
short duration, and she recovered as if from a dreadful dream. She felt
cold, trembling, and terrified. She looked round the room with an eye of
apprehension and dismay, bewildered as to the cause of her wretchedness
and terror, till the letter at her feet again struck her sight.

"Was there no way," she asked herself, as she again examined the
contents, "was there no way by which the dreadful sacrifice it doomed
her to could be avoided?" Lady Martha and Lord Mortimer would unite
their efforts to save the honor of their wretched relative; they would
soothe his feelings; they would compassionate his failings; they
would----; but she started in the midst of these ideas--started as from
ideas fraught with guilt and horror, as those fatal words rushed upon
her mind--"I will not survive the divulgement of my secret;" and she
found that to save the father she must resign the son. How unworthy of
such a sacrifice! engaged as she was to Lord Mortimer, she began to
doubt whether she had a right to make it. What a doubt! She shuddered
for having conceived it, and reproached herself for yielding a moment to
the suggestions of tenderness which had given rise to it. She resolved
without a farther struggle to submit to reason and to virtue, convinced
that, if accessory to Lord Cherbury's death, nothing could assuage her
wretchedness, and that the unhappiness Lord Mortimer would suffer at
losing her would be trifling compared to that he would feel if he lost
his father by an act of suicide.

"In my fate," exclaimed she, in the low and broken accent of despair,
"there is no alternative. I submit to it without a farther struggle; I
dare not call upon one being to advise me. I resign him, therefore," she
continued, as if Lord Cherbury was really present to hear her
resignation; "I resign Lord Mortimer, but, oh, my God!" raising her
hands with agony to heaven, "give me fortitude to bear the horrors of my
situation! Oh, Mortimer! dear, invaluable Mortimer! the hand of fate is
against our union, and we must part, never, never more to meet! From
the imputation of ingratitude and guilt I shall not be allowed to
vindicate myself. No, I am completely the victim of Lord Cherbury--the
cruel, perfidious Cherbury, whose treachery, whose seeming acquiescence
in the wishes of his son, has given me joy but to render my misery more
acute!"

That Lord Mortimer would impute withdrawing herself from him to an
attachment for Belgrave she was convinced, and that her fame as well as
peace should be sacrificed to Lord Cherbury, caused such a whirl of
contending passions in her mind, that reason and reflection for a few
minutes yielded to their violence, and she resolved to vindicate herself
to Lord Mortimer. This resolution, however, was of short continuance. As
her subsiding passions again gave her power to reflect, she was
convinced that by trying to clear herself of an imaginary crime, she
should commit a real one--since to save her own character Lord
Cherbury's must be stigmatized; and the consequence of such an act he
had already declared--so that not only by the world, but by her own
conscience, she should forever be accused of accelerating his death.

"It must, it must be made!" she wildly cried; "the sacrifice must be
made, and Mortimer is lost to me forever." She flung herself on the bed,
and passed the hours till morning in agonies too great for description.
From a kind of stupefaction rather than sleep, into which she had
gradually sunk towards morning, she was roused by a gentle tap at her
chamber door, and the voice of Sister Mary informing her that Lord
Mortimer was below, and impatient for his breakfast.

Amanda started from the bed, and bid her tell his lordship she would
attend him immediately. She then adjusted her dress, tried to calm her
spirits, and, with uplifted hands and eyes, besought Heaven to support
her through the trials of the day.

Weak and trembling she descended to the parlor. The moment she entered
it, Lord Mortimer, shocked and surprised by her altered looks,
exclaimed, "Gracious Heaven! what is the matter?" Then feeling the
feverish heat of her hands, continued, "Why, why, Amanda, had you the
cruelty to conceal your illness? Proper assistance might have prevented
its increasing to such a degree." With unutterable tenderness he folded
his arms about her, and, while her drooping head sunk on his bosom,
declared he would immediately send for the physician who had before
attended her.

"Do not," said Amanda, while tears trickled down her cheeks, "do not,"
continued she, in a broken voice, "for he could do me no good." "No
good!" repeated Lord Mortimer, in a terrified accent. "I mean," cried
she, "he would find it unnecessary to prescribe anything for me, as my
illness only proceeds from the agitation I suffered yesterday. It made
me pass an indifferent night, but quietness to-day will recover me."

Lord Mortimer was with difficulty persuaded to give up his intention;
nor would he relinquish it till she had promised, if not better before
the evening, to inform him, and let the physician be sent for.

They now sat down to breakfast, at which Amanda was unable either to
preside or eat. When over, she told Lord Mortimer she must retire to her
chamber, as rest was essential for her; but between nine and ten in the
evening she would be happy to see him. He tried to persuade her that she
might rest as well upon the sofa in the parlor as in her chamber, and
that he might then be allowed to sit with her; but she could not be
persuaded to this, she said, and begged he would excuse seeing her till
the time she had already mentioned.

He at last retired with great reluctance, but not till she had several
times desired him to do so.

Amanda now repaired to her chamber, but not to indulge in the supineness
of grief, though her heart felt bursting, but to settle upon some plan
for her future conduct. In the first place, she immediately meant to
write to Lord Cherbury, as the best method she could take of acquainting
him with her compliance, and preventing any conversation between them,
which would now have been insupportable to her.

In the next place, she designed acquainting the prioress with the sudden
alteration in her affairs, only concealing the occasion of that
alteration, and, as but one day intervened between the present and the
one fixed for her journey, meant to beseech her to think of some place
to which she might retire from Lord Mortimer.

Yet such was the opinion she knew the prioress entertained of Lord
Mortimer, that she almost dreaded she would impute her resignation of
him to some criminal motive, and abandon her entirely. If this should be
the case (and scarcely could she be surprised if it was), she resolved
without delay to go privately to the neighboring town, and from thence
proceed immediately to Dublin. How she should act there, or what would
become of her, never entered her thoughts; they were wholly engrossed
about the manner in which she should leave St. Catherine's.

But she hoped, much as appearances were against her, she should not be
deserted by the prioress. Providence, she trusted, would be so
compassionate to her misery, as to preserve her this one friend, who
could not only assist but advise her.

As soon as she had settled the line of conduct she should pursue, she
sat down to pen her renunciation of Lord Mortimer, which she did in the
following words:--

    TO THE EARL OF CHERBURY.

    MY LORD,--To your wishes I resign my happiness; my happiness, I
    repeat, for it is due to Lord Mortimer to declare that a union
    with such a character as his must have produced the highest
    felicity. It is also due to my own to declare, that it was
    neither his rank nor his fortune, but his virtues, which
    influenced my inclination in his favor.

    Happy had it been for us all, my lord, but particularly for me,
    had you continued steady in opposing the wishes of your son. My
    reverence for paternal authority is too great ever to have
    allowed me to act in opposition to it. I should not then, by
    your seeming acquiescence to them, have been tempted to think my
    trials all over.

    But I will not do away any little merit your lordship may
    perhaps ascribe to my immediate compliance with your request, by
    dwelling upon the sufferings it entails on me. May the
    renunciation of my hopes be the means of realizing your
    lordship's, and may superior fortune bring superior happiness to
    Lord Mortimer!

    I thank your lordship for your intentions relative to me; but
    whilst I do so, must assure you, both now and forever, I shall
    decline having them executed for me.

    I shall not disguise the truth. It would not be in your
    lordship's power to recompense the sacrifice I have made you;
    and, besides, pecuniary obligations can never sit easy upon a
    feeling mind, except they are conferred by those we know value
    us, and whom we value ourselves. I have the honor to be, your
    lordship's obedient servant,

    AMANDA FITZALAN.

The tears she had with difficulty restrained while writing, now burst
forth. She rose and walked to the window, to try if the air would remove
the faintness which oppressed her. From it she perceived Lord Mortimer
and the prioress in deep conversation, at a little distance from the
convent. She conjectured she was their subject; for, as Lord Mortimer
retired, the prioress, whom she had not seen that day before, came into
her chamber. After the usual salutations--"Lord Mortimer has been
telling me you were ill," said she. "I trusted a lover's fears had
magnified the danger; but truly, my dear child, I am sorry to say that
this is not the case. Tell me, my dear, what is the matter? Surely now,
more than ever, you should be careful of your health." "Oh, no!" said
Amanda, with a convulsive sob. "Oh, no" wringing her hands, "you are
sadly mistaken." The prioress grew alarmed, her limbs began to tremble,
she was unable to stand, and, dropping on the nearest chair, besought
Amanda, in a voice expressive of her feelings, "to explain the reason of
her distress."

Amanda knelt before her, she took her hands, she pressed them to her
burning forehead and lips, and bedewed them with her tears, while she
exclaimed, "she was wretched." "Wretched!" repeated the prioress. "For
Heaven's sake be explicit--keep me no longer in suspense--you sicken my
very heart by your agitation--it foretells something dreadful!"

"It does indeed," said Amanda. "It foretells that Lord Mortimer and I
shall never be united!"

The prioress started, and surveyed Amanda with A look which seemed to
say, "she believed she had lost her senses;" then, with assumed
composure, begged "she would defer any farther explanation of her
distress till her spirits were in a calmer state." "I will not rise,"
cried Amanda, taking the prioress's hand, which, in her surprise, she
had involuntarily withdrawn. "I will not rise till you say that,
notwithstanding the mysterious situation in which I am involved, you
will continue to be my friend. Oh! such an assurance would assuage the
sorrows of my heart."

The prioress now perceived that it was grief alone which disordered
Amanda; but how she had met with any cause for grief, or what could
occasion it, were matters of astonishment to her. "Surely my dear
child," cried she, "should know me too well to desire such an assurance;
but, however mysterious her situation may appear to others, she will
not, I trust and believe, let it appear so to me. I wait with impatience
for an explanation." "It is one of my greatest sorrows," exclaimed
Amanda, "that I cannot give such an explanation. No, no," she continued
in an agony, "a death-bed confession would not authorize my telling you
the occasion of Lord Mortimer's separation and mine." The prioress now
insisted on her taking a chair, and then begged, as far as she could,
without farther delay, she would let her into her situation.

Amanda immediately complied. "An unexpected obstacle to her union with
Lord Mortimer," she said, "had arisen, an obstacle which, while
compelled to submit to it, she was bound most solemnly to conceal." It
was expedient, therefore, she should retire from Lord Mortimer, without
giving him the smallest intimation of such an intention, lest, if he
suspected it, he should inquire too minutely, and by so doing, plunge
not only her but himself into irremediable distress. To avoid this, it
was necessary all but the prioress should be ignorant of her scheme: and
by her means she hoped she should be put in away of finding such a
place of secrecy and security as she should require. She besought the
prioress, with streaming eyes, not to impute her resignation of Lord
Mortimer to any unworthy motive; to that Heaven, which could alone
console her for his loss, she appealed for her innocence. She besought
her to believe her sincere; to pity, but not condemn her; to continue
her friend now, when her friendship was most needful in this her deep
distress, and she assured her, if it was withdrawn, she believed she
could no longer struggle with her sorrows.

The prioress remained silent for a few minutes, and then addressed her
in a solemn voice. "I own, Miss Fitzalan, your conduct appears so
inexplicable, so astonishing, that nothing but the opinion I have formed
of your character, from seeing the manner in which you have acted since
left to yourself, could prevent my esteem from being diminished; but I
am persuaded you cannot act from a bad motive, therefore, till that
persuasion ceases, my esteem can know no diminution. From this
declaration you maybe convinced that, to the utmost of my power, I will
serve you; yet, ere you finally determine and require such service,
weigh well what you are about; consider in the eyes of the world you are
about acting a dishonorable part, in breaking your engagement with Lord
Mortimer without assigning some reason for doing so. Nothing short of a
point of conscience should influence you to this." "Nothing short of it
has," replied Amanda; "therefore pity, and do not aggravate my feelings,
by pointing out the consequences which will attend the sacrifice I am
compelled to make; only promise (taking the prioress's hand),--only
promise, in this great and sad emergency, to be my friend."

Her looks, her words, her agonies, stopped short all the prioress was
going to say. She thought it would be barbarity any longer to dwell upon
the ill consequences of an action, which she was now convinced some
fatal necessity compelled her to; she therefore gave her all the
consolation now in her power, by assuring her she would immediately
think about some place for her to retire to, and would keep all that had
passed between them a profound secret. She then insisted on Amanda's
lying down, and trying to compose herself; she brought her drops to
take, and drawing the curtains about her, retired from the room. In two
hours she returned. Though she entered the chamber softly, Amanda
immediately drew back the curtain, and appeared much more composed than
when the prioress had left her. The good woman would not let her rise,
but sat down on the bed to tell her what she had contrived for her.

"She had a relation in Scotland," she said, "who, from reduced
circumstances, had kept a school for many years. But as the infirmities
of age came on, she was not able to pay so much attention to her pupils
as their friends thought requisite, and she had only been able to retain
them by promising to get a person to assist her. As she thought her
cousin (the prioress) more in the way of procuring such a one than
herself, she had written to her for that purpose. A clever, well-behaved
young woman, who would be satisfied with a small salary, was what she
wanted. I should not mention such a place to you," said the prioress,
"but that the necessity there is for your immediately retiring from Lord
Mortimer leaves me no time to look out for another. But do not imagine I
wish you to continue there. No, indeed; I should think it a pity such
talents as you possess should be buried in such obscurity. What I think
is, that you can stay there till you grow more composed, and can look
out for a better establishment." "Do not mention my talents," said
Amanda; "my mind is so enervated by grief, that it will be long before I
can make any great exertion, and the place you have mentioned is, from
its obscurity, just such a one as I desire to go to." "There is,
besides, another inducement," said the prioress, "namely, its being but
a few miles from Port-Patrick, to which place a fair wind will bring you
in a few hours from this. I know the master of a little wherry, which is
perpetually going backwards and forwards. He lives in this neighborhood,
and both he and his wife consider themselves under obligations to me,
and will rejoice, I am sure, at an opportunity of obliging me. I shall
therefore send for him this evening, informing him of the time you wish
to go, and desire his care till he leaves you himself at Mrs.
Macpherson's."

Amanda thanked the prioress, who proceeded to say, "that on the
presumption of her going to her cousin's, she had already written a
letter for her to take; but wished to know whether she would be
mentioned by her own or a fictitious name."

Amanda replied, "By a fictitious one," and, after a little
consideration, fixed on that of Frances Donald, which the prioress
accordingly inserted, and then read the letter:--

    TO MRS. MACPHERSON.

    DEAR COUSIN,--The bearer of this letter, Frances Donald, is the
    young person I have procured you for an assistant in your
    school. I have known her some time, and can vouch for her
    cleverness and discretion. She is well born, and well educated,
    and has seen better days: but the wheel of fortune is
    continually turning, and she bears her misfortunes with a
    patience that to me is the best proof she could give of a real
    good disposition. I have told her you give but ten pounds
    a-year. Her going proves she is not dissatisfied with the
    salary. I am sorry to hear you are troubled with rheumatic
    pains, and hope, when you have more time to take care of
    yourself, you will grow better. And all the sisters join me in
    thanking you for your kind inquiries after them. We do tolerably
    well in the little school we keep, and trust our gratitude to
    Heaven for its present goodness will obtain a continuance of it.
    I beg to hear from you soon; and am, my dear cousin, your
    sincere friend and affectionate kinswoman,

    ELIZABETH DERMOT.

    St. Catherine's.

"I have not said as much as you deserve," said the prioress; "but if the
letter does not meet your approbation, I will make any alteration you
please in it." Amanda assured her it did, and the prioress then said,
"that Lord Mortimer had been again at the convent to inquire after her,
and was told she was better." Amanda said, "she would not see him till
the hour she had appointed for his coming to supper." The prioress
agreed, that as things were changed, she was right in being in his
company as little as possible, and, to prevent her being in his way, she
should have her dinner and tea in her own room. The cloth was
accordingly laid in it, nor would the good-natured prioress depart till
she saw Amanda eat something. Sister Mary, she said, was quite anxious
to come in, and perform the part of an attendant, but was prevented by
her.

The distraction of Amanda's thoughts was now abated, from having
everything adjusted relative to her future conduct, and the company of
the prioress, who returned to her as soon as she had dined, prevented
her losing the little composure she had with such difficulty acquired.

She besought the prioress not to delay writing after her departure, and
to relate faithfully everything which happened in consequence of her
flight. She entreated her not to let a mistaken compassion for her
feelings influence her to conceal anything, as anything like the
appearance of concealment in her letter would only torture her with
anxiety and suspense.

The prioress solemnly promised she would obey her request, and Amanda,
with tears, regretted that she was now unable to recompense the kindness
of the prioress and the sisterhood, as she had lately intended doing by
Lord Mortimer's desire, as well as her own inclination. The prioress
begged her not to indulge any regret on that account, as they considered
themselves already liberally recompensed, and had, besides, quite
sufficient to satisfy their humble desires.

Amanda said she meant to leave a letter on the dressing-table for Lord
Mortimer, with the notes which he had given her enclosed in it. "The
pictures and the ring," said she, with a falling tear, "I cannot part
with;" for the things which she had ordered from the neighboring town,
she told the prioress she would leave money in her hands, also a present
for the woman, who had been engaged to attend her to England, as some
small recompense for her disappointment. She meant only to take some
linen and her mourning to Scotland; the rest of her things, including
her music and books, at some future and better period might be sent
after her.

Amanda was in debt to the sisterhood for three months' board and
lodging, which was ten guineas. Of the two hundred pounds which Lord
Mortimer had given her on leaving Castle Carberry, one hundred and
twenty pounds remained, so that though unable to answer the claims of
gratitude, she thanked Heaven she was able to fulfil those of justice.
This she told the prioress, who instantly declared, "that, in the name
of the whole sisterhood, she would take upon her to refuse anything from
her." Amanda did not contest the point, being secretly determined how to
act. The prioress drank tea with her. When over, Amanda said she would
lie down, in order to try and be composed against Lord Mortimer come.
The prioress accordingly withdrew, saying, "she should not be disturbed
till then."

By this means Amanda was enabled to be in readiness for delivering her
letter to Lord Cherbury at the proper hour. Her heart beat with
apprehension as it approached. She dreaded Lord Mortimer again
surprising her amongst the ruins, or some of the nuns following her to
them. At last the clock gave the signal for keeping her appointment. She
arose, trembling, from the bed, and opened the door. She listened, and
no noise announced any one's being near. The moments were precious. She
glided through the gallery, and had the good fortune to find the
hall-door open. She hastened to the ruins, and found Lord Cherbury
already waiting there. She presented him the letter in silence. He
received it in the same manner; but when he saw her turning away to
depart, he snatched her hand, and, in a voice that denoted the most
violent agitation, exclaimed: "Tell me, tell me, Miss Fitzalan, is this
letter propitious?" "It is," replied she, in a faltering voice. "Then
may Heaven eternally bless you," cried he, falling at her feet, and
wrapping his arms about her. His posture shocked Amanda, and his
detention terrified her.

"Let me go, my lord," said she. "In pity to me, in mercy to yourself,
let me go; for one moment longer and we may be discovered."

Lord Cherbury started up--"From whom," cried he, "can I hear about
you?" "From the prioress of St. Catherine's," replied Amanda, in a
trembling voice; "she only will know the secret of my retreat."

He again snatched her hand and kissed it with vehemence. "Farewell, thou
angel of a woman!" he exclaimed, and disappeared amongst the ruins.
Amanda hurried back, dreading every moment to meet Lord Mortimer; but
she neither met him nor any other person. She had scarcely gained her
chamber ere the prioress came to inform her his lordship was in the
parlor. She instantly repaired to it. The air had a little changed the
deadly hue of her complexion, so that from her looks he supposed her
better, and her words strengthened the supposition. She talked with him,
forced herself to eat some supper, and checked the tears from falling,
which sprang to her eyes, whenever he mentioned the happiness they must
experience when united, the pleasure they should enjoy at Thornbury, and
the delight Lady Martha and Lady Araminta would experience whenever they
met.

Amanda desired him not to come to breakfast the next morning, nor to the
convent till after dinner, as she should be so busy preparing for her
journey she would have no time to devote to him. He wanted to convince
her he should not retard her preparations by coming, but she would not
allow this.

Amanda passed another wretched night. She breakfasted in the morning
with the nuns, who expressed their regret at losing her--a regret,
however, mitigated by the hope of shortly seeing her again, as Lord
Mortimer had promised to bring her to Castle Carberry as soon as she had
visited his friends in England. This was a trying moment for Amanda. She
could scarcely conceal her emotions, or keep herself from weeping aloud,
at the mention of a promise never to be fulfilled. She swallowed her
breakfast in haste, and withdrew to her chamber on pretence of settling
her things. Here she was immediately followed by the nuns, entreating
they might severally be employed in assisting her. She thanked them with
her usual sweetness, but assured them no assistance was necessary, as
she had but few things to pack, never having unlocked the chests which
had come from Castle Carberry. They retired on receiving this assurance,
and Amanda, fearful of another interruption, instantly sat down to write
her farewell letter to Lord Mortimer.

    TO LORD MORTIMER.

    MY LORD,--A destiny, which neither of us can control, forbids
    our union. In vain were obstacles encountered and apparently
    overcome; one has arisen to oppose it which we never could have
    thought of, and, yielding to it, as I am compelled by dire
    necessity to do, I find myself separated from you, without the
    remotest hope of our ever meeting again--without being allowed
    to justify my conduct, or offer one excuse which might, in some
    degree, palliate the abominable ingratitude and deceit I may
    appear guilty of; appear, I say, for in reality my heart is a
    stranger to either, and is now agonized at the sacrifice it is
    compelled to make; but I will not hurt your lordship's feelings
    by dwelling on my own sufferings. Already have I caused you too
    much pain, but never again shall I cross your path to disturb
    your peace, and shade your prospect of felicity; no, my lord,
    removed to a tedious distance, the name I love no more will sink
    upon my ear, the delusive form of happiness no more will mock
    me.

    Had everything turned out according to my wishes, perhaps
    happiness, so great, so unexpected, might have produced a
    dangerous revolution in my sentiments, and withdrawn my thoughts
    too much from heaven to earth: if so, oh! blessed be the power
    that snatched from my lips the cup of joy, though at the very
    moment I was tasting the delightful beverage.

    I cannot bid you pity me, though I know myself deserving of
    compassion; I cannot bid you forbear condemning me, though I
    know myself undeserving of censure. In this letter I enclose the
    notes I received from your lordship; the picture and the ring I
    have retained; they will soon be my only vestiges of former
    happiness. Farewell, Lord Mortimer, dear and invaluable friend,
    farewell forever. May that peace, that happiness you so truly
    deserve to possess, be yours, and may they never again meet with
    such interruptions as they have received from the unfortunate

    AMANDA M. FITZALAN.

This letter was blistered with her tears; she laid it in a drawer till
evening, and then proceeded to pack whatever she meant to take with her
in a little trunk. In the midst of this business the prioress came in to
inform her she had seen the master of the wherry, and settled everything
with him. He not only promised to be secret, but to sail the following
morning at four o'clock, and conduct her himself to Mrs. Macpherson's.
About three he was to come to the convent for her; he had also promised
to provide everything necessary on board for her.

Matters being thus arranged, Amanda told the prioress, to avoid
suspicion, she would leave the money she intended for the woman who had
been engaged to accompany her to England on her dressing-table, with a
few lines purporting who it was for. The prioress approved of her doing
so, as it would prevent any one from suspecting she was privy to her
departure. She was obliged to leave her directly, and Amanda took the
opportunity of putting up fifteen guineas in a paper--five for the
woman, and ten for the nuns. She wished to do more for them, but feared
to obey the dictates of generosity, while her own prospect of provision
was so uncertain. She wrote as follows to the prioress:--

    TO MRS. DERMOT.

    DEAR MADAM,--Was my situation otherwise than it now is, be
    assured I never should have offered the trifle you will find in
    this paper as any way adequate to the discharge of my debt; to
    you and your amiable companions, I regret my inability (more
    than I express) of proving my gratitude to you and them for all
    your kindness--never will they be obliterated from my
    remembrance; and He who has promised to regard those that
    befriend the orphan, will reward you for them. I have also left
    five guineas for the woman you were so good as to engage to
    attend me to England. I trust she will think them a sufficient
    recompense for any trouble or disappointment I may have
    occasioned her.

    Farewell, dear Mrs. Dermot, dear and amiable inhabitants of St.
    Catherine's farewell. As Amanda will never forget you in hers,
    so let her never be forgotten in your orisons, and never cease
    to believe her.

    Grateful, sincere, and affectionate,

    A. M. FITZALAN.

By this time she was summoned to dinner. Her spirits were sunk in the
lowest dejection at the idea of leaving the amiable women who had been
so kind to her, and above all at the idea of the last sad evening she
was to pass with Lord Mortimer.

His lordship came early to the convent. The dejected looks of Amanda
immediately struck him, and renewed all his apprehensions about her
health. She answered his tender inquiries by saying she was fatigued.

"Perhaps," said he, "you would like to rest one day, and not commence
your journey to-morrow!"

"No, no," cried Amanda, "it shall not be deferred. To-morrow," continued
she, with a smile of anguish, "I will commence it."

Lord Mortimer thanked her for a resolution, he imagined, dictated by an
ardent desire to please him; but at the same time again expressed his
fears that she was ill.

Amanda perceived that if she did not exert herself her dejection would
lead him to inquiries she would find it difficult to evade; but as to
exert herself was impossible, in order to withdraw his attention in some
degree from herself, she proposed that, as this was the last evening
they would be at the convent, they should invite the nuns to drink tea
with them. Lord Mortimer immediately acquiesced in the proposal, and the
invitation being sent was accepted.

But the conversation of the whole party was of a melancholy kind. Amanda
was so much beloved among them, that the prospect of losing her filled
them with a regret which even the idea of seeing her soon again could
not banish. About nine, which was their hour for prayers, they rose to
retire, and would have taken leave of Lord Mortimer, had he not informed
them, that on Miss Fitzalan's account, he would not commence the
journey next day till ten o'clock, at which time he would again have the
pleasure of seeing them.

When they withdrew he endeavored to cheer Amanda, and besought her to
exert her spirits. Of his own accord, he said, he would leave her early,
that she might get as much rest as possible against the ensuing day. He
accordingly rose to depart. What an agonizing moment for Amanda; to
hear, to behold the man, so tenderly beloved, for the last time; to
think that ere that hour the next night she should be far, far away from
him, considered as a treacherous and ungrateful creature, despised,
perhaps execrated, as a source of perpetual disquiet and sorrow to him!
Her heart swelled at those ideas with feelings she thought would burst
it: and when he folded her to his bosom, and bid her be cheerful against
the next morning, she involuntarily returned the pressure, by straining
him to her heart in convulsive agitation, whilst a shower of tears burst
from her. Lord Mortimer, shocked and surprised at these tears and
emotions, reseated her, for her agitation was contagious, and he
trembled so much he could not support her; then throwing himself at her
feet, "My Amanda! my beloved girl!" cried he, "what is the matter? Is
any wish of your heart yet unfulfilled? If so, let no mistaken notion of
delicacy influence you to conceal it--on your happiness you know mine
depends; tell me, therefore, I entreat, I conjure you, tell me, is there
anything I can do to restore you to cheerfulness?" "Oh, no!" said
Amanda, "all that a mortal could do to serve me you have already done,
and my gratitude, the fervent sense I have of the obligations I lie
under to you, I cannot fully express. May Heaven," raising her streaming
eyes,--"may Heaven recompense your goodness by bestowing the choicest of
its blessings on you!" "That," said Lord Mortimer, half smiling, "it has
already done in giving you to me, for you are the choicest blessing it
could bestow; but tell me, what has dejected you in this manner!
something more than fatigue, I am sure."

Amanda assured him "he was mistaken;" and, fearful of his further
inquiries, told him, "she only waited for his departure to retire to
rest, which she was convinced would do her good."

Lord Mortimer instantly rose from his kneeling posture: "Farewell, then,
my dear Amanda," cried he, "farewell, and be well and cheerful against
the morning."

She pressed his hand between hers, and laying her cold wet cheek upon
it: "Farewell," said she; "when we next meet I shall, I trust, be well
and cheerful; for in heaven alone (thought she at that moment) we shall
ever meet again."

On the spot in which he left her Amanda stood motionless, till she heard
the hall-door close after him; all composure then forsook her, and, in
an agony of tears and sobs, she threw herself on the seat he had
occupied. The good prioress, guessing what her feelings at this moment
must be, was at hand, and came in with drops and water, which she forced
her to take, and mingled the tears of sympathy with hers.

Her soothing attentions in a little time had the effect she desired.
They revived in some degree her unhappy young friend, who exclaimed,
"that the severest trial she could ever possibly experience was now
over." "And will, I trust and believe," replied the prioress, "even in
this life be yet rewarded."

It was agreed that Amanda should put on her habit, and be prepared
against the man came for her. The prioress promised, as soon as the
house was at rest, to follow her to her chamber. Amanda accordingly went
to her apartment and put on her travelling dress. She was soon followed
by the prioress, who brought in bread, wine, and cold chicken; but the
full heart of Amanda would not allow her to partake of them, and her
tears, in spite of her efforts to restrain them, again burst forth. "She
was sure," she said, "the prioress would immediately let her know if any
intelligence arrived of her brother, and she again besought her to write
as soon as possible after her departure, and to be minute."

She left the letters--one for Lord Mortimer and the other for the
prioress--on the table, and then with a kind of melancholy impatience
waited for the man, who was punctual to the appointed hour of three, and
announced his arrival by a tap at the window. She instantly rose and
embraced the prioress in silence, who, almost as much affected as
herself, had only power to say, "God bless you, my dear child, and make
you as happy as you deserve to be."

Amanda shook her head mournfully, as if to say she expected no
happiness, and then, softly stepping along the gallery, opened the
hall-door, where she found the man waiting. Her little trunk was already
lying in the hall. She pointed it out to him, and as soon as he had
taken it they departed.

Never did any being feel more forlorn than Amanda now did. What she
suffered when quitting the marchioness's was comparatively happiness to
what she now endured. She then looked forward to the protection,
comfort, and support of a tender parent; now she had nothing in view
which could in the least cheer or alleviate her feelings. She cast her
mournful eyes around, and the objects she beheld heightened, if
possible, her anguish. She beheld the old trees which shaded the grave
of her father waving in the morning breeze, and oh! how fervently at
that moment did she wish that by his side she was laid beneath their
shelter!

She turned from them with a heart-rending sigh, which reached the ear of
the man who trudged before her. He instantly turned, and seeing her pale
and trembling, told her he had an arm at her service, which she gladly
accepted, being scarcely able to support herself. A small boat was
waiting for them about half a mile above Castle Carberry. It conveyed
them in a few moments to the vessel, which the master previously told
her would be under weigh directly. She was pleased to find his wife on
board, who conducted Amanda to the cabin, where she found breakfast laid
out with neatness for her. She took some tea and a little bread, being
almost exhausted with fatigue. Her companion, imputing her dejection to
fears of crossing the sea, assured her the passage would be very short,
and bid her observe how plainly they could see the Scottish hills, now
partially gilded by the beams of the rising sun; but, beautiful as they
appeared, Amanda's eyes were turned from them to a more interesting
object,--Castle Carberry. She asked the woman if she thought the castle
could be seen from the opposite coast? and she replied in the negative.

"I am sorry for it," said Amanda, mournfully. She continued at the
window for the melancholy pleasure of contemplating it, till compelled
by sickness to lie down on the bed. The woman attended her with the most
assiduous care, and about four o'clock in the afternoon informed her
they had reached Port-Patrick. Amanda arose, and sending for the master,
told him, as she did not wish to go to an inn, she would thank him to
hire a chaise to carry her directly to Mrs. Macpherson's. He said she
should be obeyed; and Amanda having settled with him for her passage, he
went on shore for that purpose, and soon returned to inform her a
carriage was ready. Amanda, having thanked his wife for her kind
attention, stepped into the boat, and entered the chaise the moment she
landed. Her companion told her he was well acquainted with Mrs.
Macpherson, having frequently carried packets from Mrs. Dermot to her.
She lived about five miles from Port-Patrick, he said, and near the
sea-coast. They accordingly soon reached her habitation. It was a
small, low house, of a grayish color, situated in a field almost covered
with thistles, and divided from the road by a rugged-looking wall. The
sea lay at a little distance from it. The coast hereabouts was extremely
rocky, and the prospect on every side wild and dreary in the extreme.

Amanda's companion, by her desire, went first into the house to prepare
Mrs. Macpherson for her reception. He returned in a few minutes, and
telling her she was happy at her arrival, conducted her into the house.
From a narrow passage, they turned into a small, gloomy-looking parlor,
with a clay floor. Mrs. Macpherson was sitting in an old-fashioned
arm-chair--her face was sharp and meagre--her stature low, and, like
Otway's ancient Beldame, doubled with age; her gown was gray stuff, and,
though she was so low, it was not long enough to reach her ankle; her
black-silk apron was curtailed in the same manner, and over a little
mob-cap she wore a handkerchief tied under the chin. She just nodded to
Amanda on her entrance, and, putting on a pair of large spectacles,
surveyed her without speaking. Amanda presented Mrs. Dermot's
introductory letter, and then, though unbidden, seated herself on the
window-seat till she had perused it. Her trunk, in the mean time, was
brought in, and she paid for the carriage, requesting at the same time
the master of the vessel to wait till she had heard what Mrs. Macpherson
would say. At length the old lady broke silence, and her voice was quite
as sharp as her face.

"So, child," said she, again surveying Amanda, and then elevating her
spectacles to have a better opportunity of speaking, "why, to be sure I
did desire my cousin to get me a young person, but not one so young, so
very young, as you appear to be." "Lord bless you!" said the man, "if
that is a fault, why, it is one will mend every day." "Ay, ay," cried
the old dame, "but it will mend a little too slow for me. However,
child, as you are so well recommended, I will try you. My cousin says
something of your being well born, and having seen better days. However,
child, I tell you beforehand, I shall not consider what you have been,
but what you are now. I shall therefore expect you to be mild, regular,
and attentive--no flaunting, no gadding, no chattering, but staid,
sober, and modest." "Bless your heart," said the man, "if you look in
her face you will see she'll be all you desire." "Ay, ay, so you may
say; but I should be very sorry to depend upon the promise of a
face--like the heart, it is often treacherous and deceitful; so pray,
young woman, tell me, and remember I expect a conscientious answer,
whether you think you will be able to do as I wish?" "Yes, madam,"
replied Amanda, in a voice almost choked by the variety of painful
emotions she experienced.

"Well, then, we are agreed, as you know the salary I give." The master
of the vessel now took his leave, never having been asked by Mrs.
Macpherson to take any refreshment.

The heart of Amanda sunk within her from the moment she entered Mrs.
Macpherson's door. She shuddered at being left with so unsocial a being
in a place so wild and dreary. A hovel near St. Catherine's she would
have thought a palace in point of real comfort to her present
habitation, as she then could have enjoyed the soothing society of the
tender and amiable nuns. The presence of the master of the vessel, from
the pity and concern he manifested for her, had something consolatory in
it, and when he left the room she burst into tears, as if then, and not
till then, she had been utterly abandoned. She hastily followed him out.
"Give my love, my best love," said she, sobbing violently, and laying
her trembling hand on his, "to Mrs. Dermot, and tell her, oh! tell her
to write directly, and give me some comfort."

"You may depend on my doing so," replied he, "but cheer up, my dear
young lady; what though the old dame in the parlor is a little cranky,
she will mend, no doubt; so Heaven bless you, and make you as happy as
you deserve to be."

Sad and silent, Amanda returned to the parlor, and seating herself in
the window, strained her eyes after the carriage which had brought her
to this dismal spot.



CHAPTER XLII.

  "Of joys departed, never to return,
   How bitter the remembrance!"--BLAIR.


"Well, child," said Mrs. Macpherson, "do you choose to take anything?"
"I thank you, madam," replied Amanda, "I should like a little tea." "Oh!
as to tea, I have just taken my own, and the things are all washed and
put by; but, if you like a glass of spirits and water, and a crust of
bread, you may have it." Amanda said she did not. "Oh! very well,"
cried Mrs. Macpherson, "I shall not press you, for supper will soon be
ready." She then desired Amanda to draw a chair near hers, and began
torturing her with a variety of minute and trifling questions relative
to herself, the nuns, and the neighborhood of St. Catherine's.

Amanda briefly said, "her father had been in the army, that many
disappointments and losses had prevented his making any provision for
her, and that on his death, which happened in the neighborhood of the
convent, the nuns had taken her out of compassion, till she procured an
establishment for herself." "Ay, and a comfortable one you have procured
yourself, I promise you," said Mrs. Macpherson, "if it is not your own
fault." She then told Amanda, "she would amuse her by showing her her
house and other concerns." This indeed was easily done, as it consisted
but of the parlor, two closets adjoining it, and the kitchen, on the
opposite side of the entry; the other concerns were a small garden,
planted with kail, and the field covered with thistles. "A good,
comfortable tenement this," cried Mrs. Macpherson, shaking her head with
much satisfaction, as she leaned upon her ebony-headed cane, and cast
her eyes around. She bid Amanda admire the fine prospect before the
door, and, calling to a red-haired and bare-legged girl, desired her to
cut some thistles to put into the fire, and hasten the boiling of the
kail. On returning to the parlor she unlocked a press, and took out a
pair of coarse, brown sheets to air for Amanda. She herself slept in one
closet, and in the other was a bed for Amanda, laid on a half-decayed
bedstead, without curtains, and covered with a blue-stuff quilt. The
closet was lighted by one small window, which looked into the garden,
and its furniture consisted of a broken chair, and a piece of
looking-glass stuck to the wall.

The promised supper was at length served. It consisted of a few heads of
kail, some oaten bread, a jug of water, and a small phial half full of
spirits, which Amanda would not taste, and the old lady herself took but
sparingly. They were lighted by a small candle, which, on retiring to
their closets, Mrs. Macpherson cut between them.

Amanda felt relieved by being alone. She could now without restraint
indulge her tears and her reflections; that she could never enjoy any
satisfaction with a being so ungracious in her manners and so contracted
in her notions, she foresaw; but, disagreeable as her situation must be,
she felt inclined to continue in it, from the idea of its giving her
more opportunities of hearing from Mrs. Dermot than she could have in
almost any other place, and by these opportunities alone could she
expect to hear of Lord Mortimer; and to hear of him, even the most
trifling circumstance, though divided, forever divided from him, would
be a source of exquisite though melancholy pleasure.

To think she should hear of him, at once soothed and fed her melancholy.
It lessened the violence of sorrow, yet without abating its intenseness;
it gave a delicious sadness to her soul she thought would be ill
exchanged for any feelings short of those she must have experienced, if
her wishes had been accomplished. She enjoyed the pensive luxury of
virtuous grief, which mitigates the sharp

           "With gracious drops
   Of cordial pleasure,"

and which Akenside so beautifully describes; nor can I forbear quoting
the lines he has written to illustrate the truth--

                    "Ask the faithful youth
   Why the cold urn of her, whom long he loved
   So often fills his arms, so often draws
   His lonely footsteps at the silent hour,
   To pay the mournful tribute of his tears?
   O, he will tell thee, that the wealth of worlds
   Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego
   That sacred hour, when, stealing from the noise
   Of care and envy, sweet remembrance soothes
   With virtue's kindest looks his aching heart,
   And turns his tears to rapture."

Fatigued by the contending emotions she experienced, as well as the
sickness she went through at sea, Amanda soon retired to her flock bed,
and fell into a profound slumber, in which she continued till roused in
the morning by the shrill voice of Mrs. Macpherson, exclaiming, as she
rapped at the door, "Come, come, Frances, it is time to rise."

Amanda started from her sleep, forgetting both the name she had adopted
and the place where she was; but Mrs. Macpherson again calling her to
rise, restored her to her recollection. She replied she would attend her
directly, and, hurrying on her clothes, was with her in a few minutes.
She found the old lady seated at the breakfast-table, who, instead of
returning her salutation, said, "that on account of her fatigue she
excused her lying so long in bed this morning, for it was now eight
o'clock; but in future she would expect her to rise before six in
summer, and seven in winter, adding, as there was no clock, she would
rap at her door for that purpose every morning."

Amanda assured her "she was fond of rising early, and always accustomed
to it." The tea was now poured out; it was of the worst kind, and
sweetened with coarse brown sugar; the bread was oaten, and there was no
butter. Amanda, unused to such unpalatable fare, swallowed a little of
it with difficulty, and then, with some hesitation, said "she would
prefer milk to tea." Mrs. Macpherson frowned exceedingly at this, and,
after continuing silent a few minutes, said, "she had really made tea
for two people, and she could not think of having it wasted; besides,
she added, the economy of her house was so settled she could not
infringe it for any one." She kept no cow herself, and only took in as
much milk as served her tea and an old tabby-cat.

Amanda replied, "it was of no consequence," and Mrs. Macpherson said,
indeed she supposed so, and muttered something of people giving
themselves airs they had no pretensions to. The tea-table was removed
before nine, when the school began; it consisted of about thirty girls,
most of them daughters of farmers in the neighborhood. Amanda and they
being introduced to each other (and she being previously informed what
they were taught), was desired to commence the task of instructing them
entirely herself that day, as Mrs. Macpherson wanted to observe her
manner--a most unpleasant task indeed for poor Amanda, whose mind and
body were both harassed by anxiety and fatigue. As she had undertaken
it, however, she resolved to go through it with as much cheerfulness and
alacrity as possible. She accordingly acquitted herself to the
satisfaction of Mrs. Macpherson, who only found fault with her too great
gentleness, saying, the children would never fear her. At two the school
broke up, and Amanda, almost as delighted as the children to be at
liberty, was running into the garden to try if the air would be of use
to a very violent headache; when she was called back to put the forms
and other things in order. She colored, and stood motionless, till
recollecting that if she refused to obey Mrs. Macpherson a quarrel would
probably ensue, which, circumstanced as she was, without knowing where
to go to, would be dreadful, she silently performed what she had been
desired to do. Dinner was then brought in; it was as simple and as
sparing as a Braman could desire it to be. When over, Mrs. Macpherson
composed herself to take a nap in the large chair, without making any
kind of apology to Amanda.

Left at liberty, Amanda would now have walked out; but it had just begun
to rain, and everything looked dreary and desolate. From the window in
which she pensively sat she had a view of the sea; it looked black and
tempestuous, and she could distinguish its awful and melancholy roaring
as it dashed against the rocks. The little servant-girl, as she cleaned
the kitchen, sung a dismal Scotch ditty, so that all conspired to
oppress the spirits of Amanda with a dejection greater than she had
before ever experienced; all hope was now extinct, the social ties of
life seemed broken, never more to be reunited. She had now no father, no
friend, no lover, as heretofore, to soothe her feelings, or alleviate
her sorrows. Like the poor Belvidera she might have said,

                              "There was a time
                               Her cries and sorrows
   Were not despised, when, if she chanced to sigh,
   Or but look sad, a friend or parent
   Would have taken her in their arms,
   Eased her declining head upon their breasts,
   And never left her till they found the cause;
   But now let her weep seas,
   Cry till she rend the earth, sigh till she burst
   Her heart asunder, she is disregarded."

Like a tender sapling, transplanted from its native soil, she seemed to
stand alone, exposed to every adverse blast. Her tears gushed forth, and
fell in showers down her pale cheeks. She sighed forth the name of her
father: "Oh! dear and most benignant of men," she exclaimed, "my father
and my friend; were you living, I should not be so wretched; pity and
consolation would then be mine. Oh! my father, one of the dreariest
caverns in yonder rocks would be an asylum of comfort were you with me;
but I am selfish in these regrets, certain as I am that you exchanged
this life of wretchedness for one of eternal peace, for one where you
were again united to your Malvina."

Her thoughts adverted to what Lord Mortimer, in all probability, now
thought of her; but this was too dreadful to dwell upon, convinced as
she was, that, from appearances, he must think most unfavorably of her.
His picture was hung in her bosom, she drew it out. She gazed with
agonizing tenderness upon it. She pressed it to her lips, and prayed for
its original. From this indulgence of sorrow she was disturbed by the
waking of Mrs. Macpherson. She hastily wiped away her tears, and hid the
beloved picture. The evening passed most disagreeably. Mrs. Macpherson
was tedious and inquisitive in her discourse, and it was almost as
painful to listen as to answer her. Amanda was happy when the hour for
retiring to bed arrived, and relieved her from what might be called a
kind of mental bondage.

Such was the first day Amanda passed in her new habitation, and a week
elapsed in the same manner without any variation, except that on Sunday
she had a cessation from her labors, and went to the kirk with Mrs.
Macpherson. At the end of the week she found herself so extremely ill
from the fatigue and confinement she endured, as Mrs. Macpherson would
not let her walk out, saying, "gadders were good for nothing"--that she
told her, except allowed to go out every evening, she must leave her, as
she could not bear so sedentary a life. Mrs. Macpherson looked
disconcerted, and grumbled a good deal; but as Amanda spoke in a
resolute manner, she was frightened lest she should put her threats into
execution, she was so extremely useful in the school; and at last told
her she might take as much exercise as she pleased every day after
dinner.

Amanda gladly availed herself of this permission. She explored all the
romantic paths about the house; but the one she chiefly delighted to
take was that which led to the sea. She loved to ramble about the beach;
when fatigued to sit down upon the fragment of a rock and look towards
the opposite shore. Vainly then would she try to discover some of the
objects she knew so well. Castle Carberry was utterly undistinguishable,
but she knew the spot on which it stood, and derived a melancholy
pleasure from looking that way. In these retired rambles she would
freely indulge her tears, and gaze upon the picture of Lord Mortimer.
She feared no observation; the rocks formed a kind of recess about her,
and in going to them she seldom met a creature.

A fortnight passed in this way, and she began to feel surprise and
uneasiness at not hearing from Mrs. Dermot. If much longer silent, she
resolved on writing, feeling it impossible to endure much longer the
agony her ignorance of Lord Mortimer's proceedings gave her. The very
morning previous to the one she had fixed for writing she saw a sailor
coming to the house, and believing he was the bearer of a letter to her,
she forgot everything but her feelings at the moment, and starting from
her seat ran from the room. She met him a few yards from the house, and
then perceived he was one of the sailors of the vessel she had come over
in. "You have a letter for me, I hope?" said Amanda. The man nodded, and
fumbling in his bosom for a moment, pulled out a large packet, which
Amanda snatched with eager transport from him; and knowing she could
not attempt to bring him into the house for refreshment, gave him a
crown to procure it elsewhere, which he received with thankfulness, and
departed. She then returned to the parlor, and was hastening to her
closet to read the letter, when Mrs. Macpherson stopped her. "Hey-day,"
cried she, "what is the matter?--what is all this fuss about? Why, one
would think that was a love letter, you are so very eager to read it."
"It is not, then, I can assure you" said Amanda. "Well, well; and who is
it from?" Amanda reflected that if she said from Mrs. Dermot a number of
impertinent questions would be asked her. She therefore replied: "From a
very particular friend." "From a very particular friend! Well, I suppose
there is nothing about life or death in it, so you may wait till after
dinner to read it; and pray sit down now, and hear the children their
spelling lessons." This was a tantalizing moment to Amanda. She stood
hesitating whether she should obey, till reflecting that if she went now
to read the packet, she should most probably be interrupted ere she had
got through half the contents, she resolved on putting it up till after
dinner. The moment at last came for Mrs. Macpherson's usual nap, and
Amanda instantly hastened to a recess amongst the rocks, where seating
herself, she broke the seal. The envelope contained two letters. The
first she cast her eyes upon was directed in Lord Cherbury's hand. She
trembled, tore it open, and read as follows:--

    TO MISS FITZALAN.

    In vain, my dear madam, do you say you never will receive
    pecuniary favors from me. It is not you, but I, should lie under
    obligations from their acceptance. I should deem myself the most
    ungrateful of mankind if I did not insist on carrying this
    point. I am but just returned to London, and shall immediately
    order my lawyer to draw up a deed entitling you to three hundred
    pounds a year, which, when completed, I shall transmit to the
    prioress (as I have this letter) to send to you. I am sensible,
    indeed, that I never can recompense the sacrifice you have made
    me. The feelings it has excited I shall not attempt to express,
    because language could never do them justice; but you may
    conceive what I must feel for the being who has preserved me
    from dishonor and destruction. I am informed Lord Mortimer has
    left Ireland, and therefore daily expect him in town. I have now
    not only every hope, but every prospect, of his complying with
    my wishes. This, I imagine, will be rather pleasing to you to
    hear, that you may know the sacrifice you have made is not made
    in vain, but will be attended with all the good consequences I
    expected to derive from it. I should again enjoy a tolerable
    degree of peace, were I assured you were happy; but this is an
    assurance I will hope soon to receive; for if you are not happy,
    who has a right to expect being so?--you whose virtue is so
    pure, whose generosity is so noble, so heroic, so far superior
    to any I have ever met with!

    That in this world, as well as the next, you may be rewarded for
    it, is, dear madam, the sincere wish of him who has the honor to
    subscribe himself your most grateful, most obliged, and most
    obedient, humble servant,

    CHERBURY.

"Unfeeling man!" exclaimed Amanda, "how little is your heart interested
in what you write, and how slight do you make of the sacrifice I have
made you; how cruelly mention your hopes, which are derived from the
destruction of mine! No, sooner would I wander from door to door for
charity, than be indebted to your ostentatious gratitude for
support--you, whose treachery and vile deceit have ruined my happiness."
She closed the letter, and committing it to her pocket, took up the
other, which she saw by the direction was from her dear Mrs. Dermot.

    TO MISS DONALD.

    Ah! my dear child, why extort a promise from me of being minute
    in relating everything which happened in consequence of your
    departure--a promise so solemnly given that I dare not recede
    from it; yet most unwillingly do I keep it, sensible as I am
    that the intelligence I have to communicate will but aggravate
    your sorrows. Methinks I hear you exclaim at this: "Surely, my
    dear Mrs. Dermot, you who know my disposition and temper so
    well, might suppose I would receive such intelligence with a
    fortitude and patience that would prevent its materially
    injuring me." Well, my dear, hoping this will be the case, I
    begin, without further delay, to communicate particulars. You
    left me, you may remember, about three o'clock. I then went to
    bed, but so fatigued and oppressed I could scarcely sleep, and
    was quite unrefreshed by what I did get. After prayers I
    repaired to the parlor, where the assiduous care of Sister Mary
    had already prepared everything for your breakfast and Lord
    Mortimer's. I told the sisters not to appear till they were sent
    for. I had not been long alone when Lord Mortimer came
    in--cheerful, blooming, animated. Never did I see happiness so
    strongly impressed in any countenance as in his. He looked,
    indeed, the lover about receiving the precious reward of
    constancy. He asked me had I seen you? I answered, No. He soon
    grew impatient, said you were a lazy girl, and feared you would
    make a bad traveller. He then rang the bell, and desired the
    maid to go and call you. Oh! my dear girl, my heart almost died
    within me at this moment. I averted my head, and pretended to be
    looking at the garden to conceal my confusion. The maid returned
    in a few minutes, and said you were not above. "Well," said Lord
    Mortimer, "she is in some other apartment; pray search, and
    hasten her hither." In a few minutes after she departed, Sister
    Mary, all pale and breathless, rushed into the room. "Oh,
    heavens!" cried she, "Miss Fitzalan cannot be found; but here
    are two letters I found on her dressing-table--one for you,
    madam, and one for Lord Mortimer." I know not