ARUNDEL.

BY THE AUTHOR OF THE OBSERVER.

VOL. II.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR C. DILLY, IN THE POULTRY. M.DCC.LXXXIX.

[Page] ARUNDEL.

LETTER LI. Lady Louisa G. to Lady Jane S.

I HAVE kept faith with my father, and given Sir George Revel another hearing. He has just left me.

I believe the silly man thought to dazzle me by the finery of his person, for he was most sumptuously dressed; that timidity and em­barassment, which a real lover would have felt in his predicament, he did not even affect, for he approached me with a gay complacent air, and in a kind of raillying tone opened the con­versation, as follows:—

[Page 2]I hope, Lady Louisa, I have now the honor to approach you in a more favorable moment, than when we last met at the Opera; I flatter myself I am indebted to your voluntary good will for this happiness, and that I am not too presumptuous in supposing your sentiments have changed in my favor.

I must own to you I felt my heart rise against him for the manner even more than the mat­ter of this speech, and I had so strong a pro­pensity to humble his self-assurance, as well as to shorten a disagreeable conversation, that I immediately replied to him in these words:

Sir George Revel, if you want that generous indignation which naturally revolts from every favor that is extorted from the bestower, I am sorry to discover that the only valuable attri­bute, which belongs to pride, is that which you do not possess.

I perceive, Madam, by this sample of your severity, that whatever pride I may be possessed of, I shall have occasion for it all; some pride I must of necessity have had, or I could never have aspired to address the finest woman in the world, with a spirit the most implacable.

Suppose then you was to waste no more [Page 3] time upon that implacable spirit; for though you may not be inclined to consult my repose, yet it is to be presumed you have some consi­deration for your own.

All the consideration in life for both, my adorable Lady Louisa: for your's in the first place, to whose enjoyments I am prepared to dedicate every thing that fortune can purchase or pleasure bestow; to my own in the second degree, because you are all that I desire on earth, and without you I must be miserable.

You are master of my time, Sir George; I must hear whatever you are pleased to say.

Yes, Madam, you took a very early oppor­tunity of telling me this interview was extorted from you; you did not suffer me to indulge the hope that you had been assenting to it: you let me know betimes that I am not the object of your present inclinations, and your eyes directed me to find out my rival; but so mean a rival is not worth my notice; whilst I am looking up to Lady Louisa I cannot pay attention to the worm that is crawling in the dust; I must believe that my devotion and assiduities will in the end prevail, and as no in­ferior beauty can satisfy my ambition, whilst I [Page 4] have fortune and pretensions to aspire to your Ladyship, I shall persevere in spite of all re­pulses to adore you.

You have again taken upon you, without any licence, to point out an imaginary rival, which, as a creature merely of your own brain, you have my free leave to describe as you please; but believe me, Sir George Revel, it is very possible for me to decline the honor of your addresses, and yet be without the plea of any other attachment.

Ah! Madam, I am under no difficulty to account for your prejudices against me; I know how apt we are to contract the habits and opi­nions of those we live with; I cannot forget that your Ladyship has a mother, who dis­missed me from her doors; I can recollect whom she employed in that honorable office, and I must not wonder if the mother's favorite is the daughter's passion.

Your insinuations, I now replied, savour so strongly of a purposed insult, that they would warrant me in an immediate disavowal of any further intercourse or conversation with you; but the character of my mother is not to be glanced at even in the slightest manner, with­out [Page 5] a full investigation of the falsehoods upon which you ground those insinuations.

Falsehoods do you call them! is it not noto­rious to all the world—?

What, I demanded, what is notorious to all the world?

The partiality of Lady G. to her creature Arundel.

I now rose from my seat, and, whilst my heart swelled with indignation—I will not consent, said I, to hold any further discourse with the defamer of my mother; and as it is for her sake only that I have endured this interview, so I now protest that until you have atoned to her, until I see her in this very house, restored to her family, and hear from her own lips that she is heartily and sincerely reconciled to you, and joins her authority with my father's for compelling me to another conference, (which I think will not hastily happen) no force nor persuasion, not a thousand deaths, if it were possible to suffer them, shall prevail with me to commit myself to your company any more.

With these words I abruptly left him to his meditations, and retiring to my chamber, gave [Page 6] a vent to my full heart; and, having in part discharged the burthen by the relief of tears, I resort to this consolatory task, and pour forth the sorrows of my soul into the ear of a friend.

Farewell.

LETTER LII. Arundel to Charles Mortlake.

I AM setting out for Arundel-house, from which I shall write to you, and give you an account of the works going on at the Par­sonage.

As I know you have full occupation for the present at Cambridge, and must have some time to prepare yourself and take leave of your friends, I wish you not to think of coming into Kent, till you hear from me that things are in some state of readiness for your reception.

Alas, my dear Charles, I blush when I re­collect the vain and idle hope, which like a [Page 7] cloud has shrunk from my embrace: the post­script of my last letter, if you have it to refer to, will explain to you what I mean. That vision did not appear at Lady Treville's; there was no angel form for my sight, no angel voice for my ear; the phantom, which in my dream I saw, which with my hands I handled, and which in my imagination I caressed, whilst tears of love and tenderness fell from her melt­ing eyes, is vanished into air.

Nor is this all;—such things might pass away, and yet hope might be left behind; in­stead of which, despair supplies her place; for I hear with horror that the assassin of my peace hath been permitted to renew his visits.

The daemons of Ambition, Avarice and Re­venge have seized the father's heart, and he is driving an ingenuous mind upon the precipice of ruin; a noble nature will be sacrificed by the sentence of an arbitrary parent.

My heart bleeds with sorrow.—Why should I disguise the truth?—It burns with indig­nation.

Shall I repent of the chastisement, which I gave Lord G.? I disdain such meanness. I will rather glory in the share I had, when the [Page 8] temple of this Dagon was tumbled to the ground, though my hopes are crushed beneath its ruins in the fall.

I will resort to the country, and there I will strive to solace an aching heart by the placid occupation of embellishing a beautiful spot, in which it hath been my happy chance to plant a virtuous and beloved friend.

Farewell.

LETTER LIII. Lady Jane S. to Lady Louisa G.

THOU art made for love, my sweet Louisa, and love is made for thee, and still you make bad work between you. What are you puzzling about? Do not you see that Arun­del doats upon you? Do not you know that you doat upon him? What do you want to know more? Shall fathers and mothers, and aunts and cousins, sit in council upon my af­fections? Will they bear the misery of my disappointment? Shall they direct the motions of my heart? You have compromised with [Page 9] your father, so would not I: you have pro­mised not to communicate with the man you love, so would not I: you have consented to receive the stale addresses of the man you ab­hor; I would not do it, if it was to save the whole species.

How much to be preferred is my pride and my poverty, before your wealth and your hu­mility!

Thank Heaven, Scotland is still the land of matrimonial liberty. I love my brother—my God, how I love him! He is my last support in life, my best, my only friend; but was he to attempt to check the tide of my affections, he might as well turn the current of the winds, stem the flow of the ocean, or beat back the emanation of the sun, and whelm the world in darkness by the breath of his mouth.

That Sir George Revel is my aversion; I never saw him, but no matter; 'tis enough for me that he had the cowardly principle to draw his sword upon an unarmed man: had he the wealth of the world, and all the outward graces that ever centered in the human form, I would whistle him down the wind. Though I am a beggar, recollect I am a beggar en­nobled [Page 10] by the blood of Scottish kings: I'll marry honor in rags, but I'll have no com­merce with a miscreant, though in a robe of state.

I much doubt, my dear Louisa, if at this moment I have a fair Scottish pound, which I can truly call my own, and independantly command to bestow where I will; the clothes that cover and the meal that feeds me, are my brother's; but as I share his purse, I share his blood; I will do no wrong to either, nor shall any one do wrong to me. I can defend my own honor, I am competent also to make my own choice: my hero will support me with his life, but he will never think of overruling me by his will.

Arundel is a noble fellow; the man, who feared not to provoke the father whilst he ad­mired the daughter, is a man to my heart's content, and I know no authority, which na­ture has given to a parent, that can oblige me to adopt his resentments, when they spring from meanness, or prevent me from admiring that principle, which is founded in honor.

Your Arundel is the nephew of my Arun­del, of that glorious creature, who perhaps at [Page 11] this moment is bleeding in his country's ser­vice, and, with my gallant hero by his side, vollying the British thunder on our enemies, and has he not an hereditary claim upon my heart? Ah! my dear Louisa, had you my spirit of rebellion added to your propensity to the tender passion, all this combustion would have been avoided, and one resolute step strait forwards would have saved thousands, which you have now to take through crooked paths and round-about roads before you shall arrive weary and jaded at the end of your journey.

If Love assails me, which he has not yet thought fit to do to any serious porpose, I will make a short battle of it; he shall not waste my strength with manoeuvres, for I will put the affair to issue at once. 'Tis to this reso­lution I am now indebted for having brought a love-suit to its conclusion, which might else have been as tedious as a suit in Chancery; for my gentleman was one of those pruden­tial, worldly-minded dealers, who wait for bet­ter times, and look so closely to what is called the main chance, as to let all other chances go by them without thinking them worth atten­tion. I am speaking of Sir Adam Crichton, [Page 12] whom you remember dancing after me all last winter in London, and a pretty dance I led him. Fortune threw him in my way again at Edinborough: and being a person, whom few women could look upon with indifference, I confess I was not displeased to find him renew his addresses with more ardor than at the first.

Many days had not passed in this manner, when Sir Adam took his opportunity of mak­ing certain honorable proposals to me, declar­ing, in all due phrase and emphasis proper to a lover, that his fate depended on my answer, he could not survive a refusal; the happiness of his life, nay, his very life itself, was in this moment to be decided, he trembled for the issue, yet he flattered himself I was too noble to have encouraged him to hope, only to plunge him in disappointment and despair. Whilst this rhapsody was going on he kept his eyes fixt upon me, and as I was certainly not dis­pleased to see so handsome a lover at my feet, he no sooner perceived the impression he had made on a soft silly heart, which never learnt to play the hypocrite, than catching me in his arms, as if already in possession of his prize, [Page 13] he rapturously exclaimed—My life, my soul! Oh let me hope that smile consents! Oh suf­fer your transported lover thus to welcome the auspicious omen, thus to seal our happy union with a fond embrace!—

A thought now struck me (naturally enough, you will say, as my lover was a Scottish man) that in the midst of these raptures he might possibly be in a mistake as to his own disinte­restedness; for, as a vulgar error had gone out in our country, that I was to inherit my aunt Selkirk's fortune, it was not impossible but this worthy gentleman might have fallen into the trap, which one or two of his predecessors had stumbled over in time past, and therefore I thought it best to make a clear field before we proceeded to further action, by removing all such stumbling-blocks out of his way.

A few words sufficed to assure him that I was to all intents and purposes a compleat beggar, and until Jupiter sent another golden shower from the skies, likely so to remain to the end of my days. As Sir Adam was a wise and prudent man in the main, though his ideas had been a little subtilized just now by the heat of his imagination, I believe he would have been [Page 14] heartily glad to have dispensed with all the rap­tures of his late embrace, had he even clasped the goddess Venus in his arms; and though it was life or death with him but a minute before, whilst my aunt Selkirk was behind the cur­tain, yet now it was pretty clear there were some things dearer to him than life itself; and if I had not smiled quite so tenderly upon him, he would have struggled hard to survive the disappointment of his hopes: in short, at that moment I much doubt if he would not rather have taken my aunt Selkirk herself in his arms, for the next embrace, than poor needy Lady Jane.

Figure to yourself some greedy contractor, in the very moment of driving his bargain with the minister for the plunder of the pub­lic, presented by that minister with an order for refunding the peculations he had amassed, and you may form some idea of Sir Adam's countenance at this instant.

I must take some credit to myself for resist­ing a certain malicious impulse, which tempt­ed me to indulge a little raillery at his ex­pence; but charity prevailed over contempt, and, as I saw enough to convince me I was [Page 15] in company with a very sordid fellow, me­thought the sooner I was rid of such society the better.

I suspect, my good Sir Adam, said I, we are both in a mistake just now; you in supposing me not so poor as I really am, I in believing you more disinterested than in fact you are: let us therefore content ourselves with the dis­covery we have mutually made of each other's disposition: I am satisfied you could have lik­ed me, if it had been your interest so to do; you are satisfied I could have liked you, if you had not preferred your interest. Thus then the account stands between us—You have offered marriage, and taken an embrace by way of earnest and in pledge of faith: take your offer back again, I release you from it; and as for the embrace, much good may it do you, let it pass! my aunt Selkirk is in the fault of that; therefore you may return it to her the first time you meet, or to any other rich old dowager like her, whose money-bags may tempt you to bestow it on their owner.—Exit Sir Adam: he is off, good man! My life! my soul! my idol!—all those charming words are vanished into air, and your poor [Page 16] solitary Jane remains like her poor solitary tree— ‘To wail the winter of her hopes.’ Apropos to that tree; my dear Louisa, would you believe that in my visit to it this evening, as the sun was setting under the western moun­tains, I encountered a slip-shod Sybil under its branches in the very act of meagre inspiration, chaunting out the following doleful ditty to the tune of Rosline Castle. I took the words from her mouth, and as you are well ac­quainted with the strain, I send you the Sy­bil's ditty, which you may apply to the tune, supposing the first stanza to be my question, and the last your answer to it; observing only that the two last lines of each stanza are to be repeated in the strain.

I.
What means this languor? tell me why
Thy bosom draws this heaving sigh;
Art thou deserted or betray'd?
Say, who can wrong thee, gentle maid!
Is thy love absent or unkind?
What anguish racks Louisa's mind?
II.
If you would know what prompts this sigh,
Enquire of Time, and bid him fly;
Bid him stretch all his pinions out
To bring the lagging hours about;
And when with the dear youth I'm blest,
Then let Time stop and take his rest.

Farewell.

LETTER LIV. Lady Louisa G. to the Countess of G.

ALAS, my dearest mother, to what extre­mities have I been driven since our last unhappy parting!

My father, though divested of his office, and no longer courting parliamentary support, is not divested of his partiality for Sir George Revel: he resents my behavior to him in a very high degree, and hath again broke out [Page 18] into the bitterest invectives against you and Mr. Arundel, for being in a combination against him, and even hinted (with indigna­tion I repeat it to you), that you engaged Mr. Arundel in a preconcerted quarrel with Sir George, that by dispatching him out of the way you might make an opening for your favorite, as he calls that gentleman, to carry on a design, which he pretends to believe you had formed of marrying him to me.

Inveterate against him for the speech he made in parliament, of which the town yet rings with applause, he keeps no measures in his resentment, but throws out certain insinua­tions, which no one, who had not bidden fare­well to truth and delicacy, could have suggest­ed, and which with just abhorrence I forbear to mention.

In conclusion, he drove me to the painful al­ternative, either to admit Sir George Revel to renew his addresses, or to be excluded from any farther correspondence or communication with you. I submitted to receive the visits of that odious man again, for this is temporizing only;—but if I would consent to his proposals, and close with the full wishes of my deluded [Page 19] father, then I might effect a reconciliation in my family, then I might restore a banished mother to her home, his arms should be open to receive you, and all be peace and harmony again.

The self-fame day presented me with the sight of my unwelcome visitor Sir George: abject as he is to sue to me, who had before discarded him, still he could not so keep down his proud spirit as tamely to endure the slights I put upon him. At last he gave a loose to his audacious tongue, charging me with hav­ing attached my heart to some more happy ri­val, and presuming to say I had contracted that attachment by copying your Ladyship in your prepossession for a certain favorite, plainly pointing at Mr. Arundel.

This insolent insinuation stung me to the quick, and, whilst my blood boiled with indig­nation, I declared to him no force should pre­vail over me to admit the man into my pre­sence, who dared to revile the character of my mother. It was on your account, I plainly told him, that I then suffered his visit, and until he had completely atoned to you for his calumnious insinuation, till I saw you again [Page 20] reinstated in your family, and received from your lips an assurance of reconciliation, I would never see him more, whatever I might undergo from the displeasure of my father.

With this denunciation I abruptly left him; and here the matter rests at present.

And now, my beloved, my indulgent mo­ther, what remains but that I open all my heart to you? Amidst all the falsehoods this calumniator uttered, still I must acknowledge he is fatally too right in one conjecture.—Ah! Madam, it is my hard fate to love and to despair: a secret passion preys upon my heart, my health sinks under it. Would you know the real source of all those strange vicis­situdes, those incoherencies, by which my spirits have been agitated for some time past, date your account of them from the very hour in which I first encountered the all-conquer­ing eyes of Arundel.

You know him well; you with cooler ob­servation have more nearly contemplated the perfection of his character, the charms of his person. I am the victim of a hopeless passion, and lost without redemption. If necessity did not now extort it from me, it had still re­mained [Page 21] a secret even from you; but as I fore­see you will be applied to by Sir George Re­vel very speedily, not improbably by my fa­ther himself, it would be unjust not to apprize you of the real situation of my heart; at the same time it would be ungenerous to convey a wish that you should sacrifice a moment, that is now the crisis of your reconciliation, to any unavailing efforts in my desperate cause. No, my dearest mother, make your peace with my father, and leave me to struggle with my fate.

The breach between him and Arundel is now become incurable: no circumstances can ever move him to espouse the cause of one so hostile, so obnoxious, one whom he has of­fended, and by whom he is offended beyond reparation. At the same time, no passion however strong, no treatment however severe, shall drive me upon clandestine, desperate measures, which, though the precedents, al­ready numerous, were multiplied by numbers more, I never will resort to.

Return therefore in peace, and be once more in the bosom of your family: I will gladly pay the ransom for your deliverance, [Page 22] and shall glory in my sufferings. If I must be made the victim of compulsion, if my father, obstinately bent upon his purpose, will drag me to the altar, he shall shortly after have the task of carrying me to the grave.

Farewell.

LETTER LV. The Countess of G. to Lady Louisa G.

RENT with ten thousand agonizing sensa­tions, a mother's bleeding heart blesses and bids adieu to her beloved child.

May that protecting Being, to whose throne my supplications shall ascend in your behalf, direct and graciously support you in this dan­gerous crisis! I can no longer help you; the only duty I can now perform is to remove a stumbling-block from your path; the only offering I can make is to bless and to pray for you.

[Page 23]Yet before I totally resign the duties of a parent, and secede from a world which I renounce, to an asylum where I shall be shel­tered from the malice and even from the re­membrance of my oppressors, I leave with you my solemn exhortation and protest against your marriage with that worthless Revel.

Mark me, Louisa! if ever you consent to yield your hand to him, and stamp your con­science with a lie before the altar of your God, expect the vengeance you deserve!

Was your father now before me, I should not hold back a tittle of the truth which I ut­ter: judge then if we can reunite; judge if our meeting would not blow these flames into a fiercer heat, and own with me it is the wisest, kindest measure I can take in this extremity, to avoid an interview by concealing myself in some foreign country from his search.

And now it only remains, as the last mater­nal duty which is left me, to speak to you of Arundel.

Ah! why would you conceal from me your passion for the most engaging, the most ami­able of men? Alas, my child, why would you not confide to me the very first emotions [Page 24] he created in your heart? But let that pass! late as your confession is, I thank you for it from my soul, and with the same sincerity of heart I seal your choice with my most absolute consent, and sanctify it with my ardent prayers for its success.

In his virtue you will find a guide, in his courage a protector, in his arms a blessing: to him I bequeath you; he alone deserves you; with him you will be happy.

More I might add; much more would not exhaust the topic; but let this suffice!

Farewell.

LETTER LVI. Arundel to the Countess of G.

WERE I to follow the impulse of my heart upon the receipt of your most flattering letter, the person not the pen of Arundel would have the happy office of ex­pressing [Page 25] to you my sensibility of your good­ness, and giving vent to a devoted heart, that overflows with gratitude; frown not, most ex­alted of your sex, if I presume to add—with affection.

Let me recollect what I was, till you con­descended to regard me with kindness, to fos­ter me by your compassion, to transplant me into the soil, where I have flourished by your favor: Consider me in the next place, as I now am, a man who by nature am endowed with the warmest feelings of the heart, by gratitude inspired with every ardent emotion, whilst I am only meditating on your bounty, how then shall I command myself, when pre­sent with you? When I shall see your eyes suffused with tears, and the purest bosom in creation labouring with sighs, will not my spirit be in arms to avenge those wrongs that have provoked your sorrows? Had nature formed me of less penetrable stuff, or not compounded you with every tender grace, with every soft expressive character of female loveliness, I might controul my temper, though I pitied your afflictions: as it is, my desperation might only aggravate your sufferings, and the resent­ment [Page 26] of your Lord, that I have now drawn upon myself alone, might then be directed with accumulated malice against you.

There is such venom in some hearts against you, and so ready are they to seize the smallest opening for giving vent to it, that I declare to you I scarce dare to turn my eyes, much less my steps, towards that quarter of the country where you inhabit: the poison is pre­pared, an opportunity is only wanting to ad­minister it.

Having stated this, I remain at your com­mand. Danger is only terrible to me as it af­fects you. If you, who are armed in inno­cence, set it at defiance, I, who am all devo­tion, hold every thing but your commands beneath my notice.

Farewell.

LETTER LVII. The Countess af G. to Arundel.

YES, Arundel, I adopt your counsel; my eyes are open to my danger and we meet no more.

Though my affection for you, (why should I not own what you must have discovered?) yes, let me say, though my affection for you were inconsiderate enough to brave all conse­quences, yet I cannot bear the thought of sa­crificing you; and that self-denial, which per­haps is insufficient for my own preservation, for your's becomes unconquerable.

I conjure you by all that is sacred to man not to stir a step towards me this day; to-mor­row I shall be out of your reach: my abode will not be known to you, nor to my family; it will not be in England.

Start not at this measure, for it is a necessary one; you will see all my motives and admit [Page 28] the justice of them, when I disclose to you a secret, which is of the last importance both to your peace of mind and to my own—Louisa loves you.—Now, Arundel, have I not reason for what I do? That I may yield up every wish of my heart, and transfer them all entire and unperverted to the happiness of my child, and to the completion of her future union with the object of her love, I retire to secret soli­tude and healing meditation.

If I did not know Louisa's worth, I could not bring myself to form a wish that she may be your's; but believe me, Arundel,for I de­clare it to you in the fullness and sincerity of my heart, a nobler nature is not to be found en earth: she is generous in the best sense of the word, of a clear and candid spirit, pure in principle, but alive to all the tender passions to excess: I speak to you without reserve; there is your only danger, it is there you must apply your strictest guard; to you I consign a trust, you (if Heaven grants my prayer) will fill that place, which hard necessity now forces me to recede from.

In this and all things else I rely upon your honor, faithfulness and discretion; if I recover [Page 29] my tranquillity in the retirement to which I am going, you shall hear from me again, if not, farewell for ever.

LETTER LVIII. The Earl to the Countess of G.

LADY Louisa having consented to restore peace and harmony to her family by yield­ing to a renewal of Sir George Revel's ad­dresses, with a reference to your Ladyship for your voice and acquiescence in the matter, nothing is now wanting to put that most de­sirable match in train but your concurrence and advice; you have it therefore now in your power in the same instant to establish your daughter in a most enviable situation, open my arms to welcome you once more into the hearts of your family, and for ever annihilate all differences between us.

As there have been some unlucky misunder­standings between you and Sir George Revel, [Page 30] which ought now to be put an end to, that gentleman proposes waiting upon you in per­son, as a mark of his respect, and I will not doubt of your receiving his compliment in such a manner, as shall lay the foundation of a lasting cordiality between you for the time to come.

G.

LETTER LIX. The Countess to ths Earl of G.

THE conditions of my consenting to Loui­sa's union with Sir George Revel would be very tempting, if I were not satisfied that her happiness would thereby be sacrificed to our reconciliation: in this persuasion, I will never selfishly yield that consent, which is to make her miserable, but on the contrary do in the most solemn manner protest against the match.

L. G.

LETTER LX. Sir George Revel to the Earl of G.

SOME business having occurred, which may probably detain me a day or two from town, I beg leave to report to your Lordship the event of my expedition into Kent.

On my arrival at the house which Lady G. had inhabited, I was informed by a servant, that she had just left it to return no more: I desired to know to what place she had remov­ed; he could not tell where his Lady was gone, he had been paid his wages and was discharged. Perceiving he was a clownish country fellow, I offered him money if he would inform me of the truth; he persisted in the same answer: I asked him who accompa­nied his Lady on her journey; a maid-servant was in the post-chaise with her, and one man attended on horseback; nobody else was of the party. Did he know any body who could inform me where she was gone, as I had busi­ness [Page 32] of importance; he knew nobody who could give me that information; he was sure none of his fellow-servants had been in the se­cret, else he should have known it from them: upon recollection, he said perhaps the gentle­man, for whom he had a letter, might be able to tell: upon asking the name of the gentle­man for whom he had the letter, he said it was Arundel, and that he had the letter then in his charge, which he was ordered to carry to Arun­del-house and deliver with his own hands.

A thought then struck me to ask him if he knew the person of Mr. Arundel, and the fel­low saying he did not, I thought it an allowa­ble fraud in such a case to tell him, that was very true, else he would have known he was now speaking to that very person, for I was Mr. Arundel and had come purposely to en­quire for the letter, which I was in expectation of; upon which I slipped a few pieces into his hand and got possession of the letter.

As there seems some mystery in this corre­spondence with your Lady and Mr. Arundel, knowing the terms your Lordship is upon with that ingrateful gentleman, I hope I shall not incur your displeasure by the means I took for [Page 33] intercepting a letter, which may very possibly explain some particulars you may wish to be informed of, and at least discover where it is she has removed to: I now inclose it to your Lordship, sealed and entire as I received it, that you may open it or not as you see fit.

It does not become me to be officious in matters of family concern, and I hope your Lordship will believe I am the last person to offend your delicacy in that respect; but I cannot avoid a remark upon the time, which Mr. Arundel chose for going into the country, neither is it to be overlooked that her Lady­ship chose a residence within a few miles of this gentleman's house: Is it to be supposed that he is not in the secret of this sudden mea­sure, which had it been the measure of any other person than of Lady G. I should take the liberty to call an absolute elopement? But if I could have doubted of his knowledge of the scheme from the respect which I am in­clined to bear to every member of your Lord­ship's family, I could not now have persisted in my incredulity since the discourse I have held with Lady G.'s servant, and the facts which he has related to me with such an air of [Page 34] natural simplicity, as will not suffer me to doubt of his veracity.

If Lady G. has written confidentially and explicitly to your Lordship, all things may be well, and for that reason I forbear to trouble you with the deposition of this domestic evi­dence for the present; but if this is not done to your satisfaction, I should presume it will be proper to enquire into facts, and hear the man himself; for which purpose I shall keep him in my hands, till I am further informed of your pleasure.

Farewell.

LETTER LXI. The Earl of G. to Sir George Revel.

NOTHING could be more fortunate than your intercepting that letter, which has revealed a plot of the darkest and most diabolical nature: I entreat of you to come to me directly, that we may consult how to tra­verse [Page 35] this insidious proceeding; I shall reserve the letter for our meeting, let it suffice for the present when I inform you, with no less indig­nation than horror, that our very worst conjec­tures are too fully verified, and that my cast-off Secretary has been conspiring with my cast-off wife to seduce the affections of my daughter, and violate the honor of my family by mixing my blood with that of a fellow, whom I detest above every thing that walks the earth.

Farewell.

LETTER LXII. Arundel to Charles Mortlake.

AN event has taken place so distressing to my mind, that it has incapacitated me for writing to you till this moment. Lady G. who had retired to a small house in this neigh­bourhood, where she lived in solitude ever since her separation, is gone suddenly out of England, without communicating to any of [Page 36] her friends what place she purposes to fix upon for her retreat. Let your mind form no con­jectures upon this step, but such as shall put the purest of all possible constructions upon her ingenuous and noble conduct: she is a sainted being, and it would be a sin unpardon­able to attaint her character. The overbear­ing temper of her husband, the just abhorrence which she entertains for Sir George Revel, and the protest she has solemnly made against her daughter's union with that wretch, whom Lord G. adopts with so much eagerness, are amongst the chief reasons for her secession: wherever she shall go, whilst virtue is the care of Heaven, she must experience its peculiar protection.

The pleasing employment I have found at the Parsonage, in preparing it for your recep­tion, has been a happy resource at this time, when my spirits have been heavily oppressed. I flatter myself you will find it a very comfort­able abode, when the works which I have set a going are completed: as your predecessor left behind him an admirable collection of books, well chosen and in fine condition, I have agreed to purchase them of his heir, and [Page 37] a proper person is now making a catalogue and valuation of them. I shall take the liberty however to reverse the order of your apart­ments and promote them to better quarters; for which purpose I am converting the best parlour into a library, and by some alterations and additions shall make it a spacious and very pleasant room, for its windows command the river, Arundel-house and park, a beautiful view of the country bounded by a very bold and lofty horizon. The variety of cultivation under your eye, the hop-grounds, apple-orch­ards, arable, meadow and wood lands, and the charming river glittering through the land­scape, make it quite enchanting. On the north side of your house stands the church, which through a vista of evergreens by which it is encompassed presents its venerable tower to your view; the rest of the edifice is con­cealed: to the south your garden falls off by an easy declivity to the river, and your library windows enjoy this aspect. As you tell me you have taken a course of lectures at our physic-gardens, I shall hope you will be a florist, and here you will find both soil and sun to set your genius at work; I hope you will find [Page 38] something in hand that will serve for a begin­ning, for I have turned my uncle's head gar­dener and some laborers into the vineyard, with full powers to do all that the time will allow, you must compleat and shape the whole. I have been lucky enough to get you a very excellent fellow to manage every thing with­out doors, and take care of your glebe and stock of all sorts; all the living creatures, cows, pigs and poultry, which your predecessor died possest of, have a kind of claim to the tenure, and I have accordingly continued them in their rights without disturbing one of them.

Your parishoners will be ready to receive you with cordial respect; I have had the prin­cipal farmers with me and heard them discourse on the subject of their tithes, which they are in hopes you will not make any advance upon; this you know is always the first object in their thoughts, and the only string that can disturb the harmony of your connection with them; though I could safely pledge myself for the liberality of your sentiments, yet in this parti­cular I thought it best to be silent, that the whole merit might be your own and not seem [Page 39] to spring from my influence with you in their favor. We have had a cricket-match in the park, which my uncle dedicates to their amuse­ment, and sets apart a particular fine spot for the purpose; I flatter myself you will not re­gret that this spot is exactly in the eye of your windows, as I think a more chearful spectacle cannot be seen in nature, than a set of athletic youths all in action, surrounded by a ring of spectators, animated with the sports and shout­ing their applause at every turn and incident of the game.

As you are a brother Westminster and a waterman of course, I shall send down a four­oared cutter from our friend Roberts to navi­gate the silver Medway, and I promise myself many parties with you upon this delicious river: I have it in meditation to get my uncle John to purchase me a sailing yacht, when he comes home, as we can row up to Rochester and embark from thence upon expeditions to see the fleet, and run through the Downs to Spithead and the Isle of Wight. What a de­lightful excursion would it be to run down to his ship, when it comes in, and perhaps con­gratulate him and his brave crew upon the [Page 40] capture of some stout Spaniard or Frenchman anchored under his victorious stern: Heaven grant it may be so! If victory is the meed of valour, woe to the enemy on whose ribs his thunder shall be poured.

Rejoice with me, my dear Charles! of a certainty my wish was breathed with a pro­phetic spirit. I have an express this moment with an account of his having engaged two Spanish men of war with his single line of bat­tle ship, supported by the young Earl of S. in a forty-four gun frigate, and after an obstinate fight having captured them both, with an im­mense treasure in bullion on board from the Havannah; one of these was an eighty gun ship, which fell to his share, the other a sixty, armed en flute, and this was taken by the fri­gate. I have no letters, but the General or­dered the Gazette Extraordinary to be sent to me by express. It is a glorious account, and what compleats my joy is, that they are come in to St. Helen's safe with their prizes in tow, and both commanders as it should seem in health and unhurt; The carnage on board the [Page 41] Spaniards is very great, and both captains are said to be mortally wounded: my uncle has lost his first; lieutenant, and above two hundred men killed and wounded. His letter, over which I have wept and smiled by turns, is a model of the old-fashioned sea stile, very laco­nic and modest towards himself, but rapturous in praise of his own brave people, and the be­havior of his gallant comrade; he speaks handsomely of his enemy, and concludes with a very manly lamentation for the loss of his lieutenant and men, who had the honor, as his own words express it, to perish gloriously.—But why need I retail this to you, when the Gazette will be in your hands before this letter reaches them.

I shall set out for London immediately, and in truth there is no time to be lost, for I have a very bad account of the poor General, and this, with other matters, which weigh heavy on my heart, sadly damps my joy.

Before I close my letter let me tell you, that I could wish you would put yourself in motion for this place as soon as is convenient to you, for though your own house may not be fit for you on account of the workmen who are in it, [Page 42] you will find an apartment ready prepared for your reception at Arundel-house, from whence you will not have more than half a mile's walk to your own; and as I cannot make any longer stay on the spot, your eye will be very necessary to superintend what is going forward.

I need not remind you to write to me im­mediately on your arrival. My chaise is at the door.

Farewell.

LETTER LXIII. Lady Louisa G. to Lady Jane S.

ALL joy to my beloved friend! Your gallant brother has acquired both fame and fortune under the auspices of Captain Arundel. What happy star is this, that seems to shine with such peculiar favor on that illus­trious name! The nephew triumphs in elo­quence, [Page 43] the uncle conquers in arms. All Lon­don is in a tumult of joy; the same bonfires, which blaze for the victory, usher in the au­spicious commencement of a new Administra­tion: the overthrow is compleat, the whole cabinet is dissolved, and not a wreck left be­hind; my father does not fall alone; this is his only consolation.

I take for granted you will now come out of Scotland to embrace and welcome your be­loved hero. I hear prodigious accounts of the treasure captured in the Spanish prizes. The breaches time has made in the fortune of your antient house will be now repaired, and the old castle itself feel a renovation of its pristine splendor. Above all things it de­lights me to reflect upon the mortification, which your mercenary lover will experience. Wretch, who puts no value on the treasures of the mind, whose callous heart, not the charms of the most lovely form can touch! let him dig for happiness in the bowels of the earth, let him ransack the veins of the mine for the vir­tues of the heart. Mean as he is, I shall not wonder if he has the audacity to renew his ad­dresses to you.

[Page 44]I thank the poetic sybil for her song; it sooths my melancholy; I hope soon to meet her transformed into a young and blooming muse: I will then salute her with the tune of Rosline Castle to her own pathetic words.

My poor mother is gone suddenly from her house in Kent, and left England—Alas! I know not whither she has turned her exiled steps. All is mysterious and sad. Sir George Revel, vainly hoping to make his peace, set out in search of her, but came too late; she had departed that morning. I believe he is still in the neighbourhood; something is on foot between him and my father, but what I know not: a cloud is gathering; time will develope its contents; I shall meet it with firmness.

Farewell.

LETTER LXIV. The Earl of G. to Sir George Revel.

IT is clear to me, me dear Sir George, that this letter you intercepted is only one of a number, that have passed between Arundel and my wife to the same wicked and insidious pur­poses: the prejudices their cabal has pro­duced in my daughter's mind are too stubborn to give way to gentle efforts; these have been tried to no purpose, and it is now time to take more lively measures for bringing her to a sense of her own happiness as well as of her duty to me.

I say to you in confidence, that my suspi­cions of Arundel go to all possible lengths: I believe he has been a traitor to me and the se­ducer of my wife's honor: What else could be the purport of that secret correspondence, which was carried on to the very moment of Lady G.'s flight out of England? What could provoke her to that flight, except to pursue her scandalous commerce with more security [Page 46] in a foreign kingdom? Why does she con­ceal the place of her destination from her whole family? Arundel, and only Arundel, is privy to it, and thus the virulence of his nature will be gratified with a double revenge, having corrupted my wife he will possess himself of my daughter—Vengeance seize the villain! such injuries are too deep: Oh, that my age, my rank and condition in life were not such as tie up my hands against taking personal re­venge upon such a traitor.

The curse of it is, that this letter, which you have stopt, discloses nothing of their con­nection, which can criminate him with my wife. I insert a copy of it for your perusal.

To Francis Arundel, Esq.

I am this instant setting out, but cannot depart without bidding you farewell.

Avail yourself with discretion of the in­telligence I have imparted to you with re­spect to Louisa: Do not provoke Lord G. to further resentment; conciliate, if it be possible, a nature, which, though hard, I hope is not impenetrable.

[Page 47]Above all things, I conjure you, avoid embarassments with Sir George Revel; a spirit, so inflated by prosperity and pride, can ill brook disappointment.

Farewell.

This is the letter; a delicate method her Ladyship takes of teaching him to cajole her husband: how you stand with her is pretty clear, and duely considerate she seems to be of the safety of her favorite. What would I not give for the sight of that intelligence which respects Louisa! This plainly points to you the tenor of their correspondence. Where is that servant, from whom you got the letter? He might be a very useful man; if we could fix strong circumstances of guilt upon Arun­del, it is not in the nature of things, that Louisa could think of him but with loathing and abhorrence. If you can work the truth out of that fellow, I shall not shrink from it: be the consequences what they may, I am for fathoming this foul business to the very dregs.

I have told Louisa nothing of the inter­cepted letter, nor shall I till I have further communication with you.

Farewell.

LETTER LXV. Sir George Revel to the Earl of G.

THE servant you are so desirous of exa­mining, is now in my hands. He is a stubborn, unwilling informer, but I am more ready to believe he speaks the truth, from the pains it requires to extort it from him. Alas! my Lord, it is a very black affair; consult your heart a second time, and consider well be­fore you call upon me for the facts. If you will follow my advice, you will remain in voluntary ignorance.

Farewell.

LETTER LXVI. The Earl of G. to Sir George Revel.

HAVE I not already told you that I am prepared to meet the worst? Why will you dally with my patience, as if I wanted re­solution, [Page 49] or still harboured an unmanly weak­ness for a guilty wife. Let me hear the fel­low's deposition.

Farewell.

LETTER LXVII. Sir George Revel to the Earl of G.

BY a confession with difficulty obtained from Lady G.'s servant it appears, that an assignation was made, and a meeting had in consequence within a certain grove at the bot­tom of her garden, where there is a small plea­sure-house, conveniently equipt for the pur­pose. The person of Mr. Arundel, though he had attempted to disguise it, was known to her ladyship's London servant, and from her my informer was certified as to his identity; that he did actually come to the place appointed, was admitted to your Lady in the pleasure-house, and was there alone with her for the space of an hour, to these facts he was himself a witness. It seems her Ladyship gave hush-money [Page 50] to her woman, who was privy to the assignation, and she betrayed it (as is the com­mon practice of such gentry) to this fellow, who was her lover and no doubt in her good graces.

And is it now possible the delicacy of Lady Louisa's nature shall not revolt with horror from the seducer of a mother's virtue?

I am aware this charge cannot be imparted to her without its coming to the knowledge of Mr. Arundel; her Ladyship will probably put that out of question; but let the guilty tremble; I fear not his resentment; my part in the business I am ready to avow; as the investigator of truth, I am fearless as to consequences; in the character of your Lord­ship's friend, and in hope of being honored with a still nearer name, I am not only pre­pared, but forward to face the worst of dan­gers, that can result from the rage and despe­ration of a detected villain. Let him face me point to point; other arguments I have held with him, others I will hold no more; the war of words is not my war; in defending and proving by the logic of the schools I am not expert; I have not lived with gownsmen; the [Page 51] sword has been my study; it was once my profession; the more accursed he, who drove me out of that profession!

In three several affairs at home and abroad I have come off untouched, and as many times left my antagonist on the ground. So let it be with Arundel! To that fate I devote him.

Farewell.

P. S. As you may possibly require to see this man, and receive his deposition from his mouth, I have taken all possible pains to re­tain him for that purpose; but the fellow, fearful of the revenge, which Mr. Arundel or his friends might take means to execute against him, would not be persuaded to ut­ter a word, till I promised him his free li­berty upon declaring the truth: of that he has availed himself, and is out of my reach.

LETTER LXVIII. The Earl of G. to Sir George Revel.

HOW shall I express my thanks to you for developing this dark and infamous affair? At length the horrid truth comes out; and the world, which with its usual misjudging malignity has hitherto stampt my behavior to Lady G. with the false character of cruelty, will now of force acknowledge the justice of my resentment, and at the same time admire the mildness of it, if once the infamy of that woman becomes public: but whether I should carry the matter to that length or not, is with me a very serious question. I have had too much experience of the world's way of judging in these affairs, not to be aware that the husband always makes a very contemp­tible figure on the occasion. People are very willing to find excuses in his conduct for the offending party, and with this view take great pains to scrape together all the dirty stories [Page 53] they can collect on the score of retaliation: in the mean time the broad shame stares him in the face and every body hoots the cuckold as he passes.

Now this is a degree of ignominy, which I cannot stand, neither is it to be presumed that I can have so strictly squared my actions by the rule of moral purity, as to say that no breach of nuptial fidelity has occurred on my part; this falls to the lot of few men to boast of, and some things, I am sensible, have passed with me of too public a nature to be controverted. Lady G. to do her justice, has been a very discreet and prudent woman, this affair only excepted; she has been altogether so quiet and unofficious in her high station, that she has made no enemies, and many friends: on the contrary, I have been long held up to the public in an unpopular point of view, and am now recently stript of that power and place which would else be some protection to me; stript by the very hands of that political phaenomenon, who is the author of my shame, and the object of the world's unbounded flattery, who at this very moment is conspicuously the favorite of fame and for­tune. [Page 54] Is there an instance upon record of any young man starting forth on a sudden into such a career, such an unexpected display of talents as to distance all our most admired and best established orators upon his very first essay in the house? Of force I must confess there is no such instance. I protest to you, my dear Sir George (with bitterness of heart I speak it), it was his hand that first shook our fabric to the foundation; and now, mark his indignant spirit! he refuses office, he re­sists any share of the spoil, (Destruction seize his pride!) he glories in his independance, and in the revolution of a few months, emer­ging from the obscurity of a college, becomes the man of the people, and the fine gentleman of the age: all this while Fortune showers down upon him her favors without ceasing: Sir Francis Arundel is now dying, and his son by a chance blow is removed out of the course of succession, that this nephew may in­herit the family estate: his other uncle goes out upon a cruise, and the same happy chance throws a prize into his teeth, that is the richest capture of the war: in short, the very winds conspire to waft wealth and prosperity [Page 55] into his arms. And now if I were to bring my appeal against his treachery before the pub­lic, prejudice would cry me down, and whilst a few moralizing sentimentalists shook their heads at the account and silently condemned him, the bulk of mankind would take part with him, and all the fashionable world would speak scornfully of me, and call him a very fine fellow for the gallantry of the deed.

These are amongst the consequences which I foresee would ensue, if we were to make the affair public; and therefore as the secret is known only to you, with you I would wish it to rest for the present at least, and until I am compelled to draw it forth in my own de­fence.

But as there is nothing which I more ar­dently desire than to have the honor of calling you my son-in-law, nor any thing on this side hell which I so hate and abhor as this violator of my honor, this incendiary, who has abused the protection of my house for the traiterous purpose of seducing the affections of my only child, there is no step I would not take to frustrate his evil intentions, and promote your honorable, ones.

[Page 56]On my part there can be no repugnance to expose this infamous transaction to Louisa; but, as I must thereby commit you, I cannot take upon my conscience the consequences that may follow; so that at all events I shall wait till I have the honor of seeing you: then if it is done, it must be your own act, or (which is the same thing) I must commu­nicate it at your special desire. Though I have all possible confidence in your courage and skill, yet I am apt to think the fellow you will have to deal with does not want that spirit, which will push him upon extremities; at least he has those at his elbow who will prompt him to it; for Captain Arundel and the Earl of S. are now in the same house with him.

I am afflitted, I confess, but not sur­prized.—I must regret the conditions by which the informer got his release. Had he been forthcoming, the onus probandi would have laid on him, you would have been clear of all responsibility; by his secession the affair becomes personal. I beseech you, my dear Sir George, let not your zeal for my honor carry you beyond the bounds of prudence; [Page 57] weigh the matter well: I shall not let a syl­lable transpire till we meet.

Farewell.

LETTER LXIX. Charles Mortlake to Arundel.

I TAKE the first opportunity of informing you, that I arrived at Arundel-house last night, and found a very comfortable recep­tion from the good old housekeeper, who ful­filled your orders very faithfully and took great care of me.

I think it a grand and venerable mansion; and with the park and grounds about it I am quite in raptures. This morning betimes I took my walk to the parsonage, or rather to the rural palace, which your lavish generosity is preparing for a very humble and unsuitable possessor. In the name of wonder, my dear Arundel, what do you take me for? If I were as great as Thomas à Becket I might make [Page 58] bold to live in it, but being only plain Charles Mortlake, I am ashamed to look it in the face. In truth I can't conceive that any parson will be fit to inhabit it, unless one of the blood-royal shall in future time take or­ders and turn parish priest under your patron­age. Your master-workman shewed me the plan he was upon, and asked me if I had any additions to make to it; I was then standing in the library, like Abon Hassan in the Ca­liph's apartment, doubting whether I was awake or in a dream, when the question rousing me from my reverie, I stared the man full in the face—Additions, Sir, cried I, I presume you mean retrenchments.—Pardon me, Sir, replied he, unless you have any im­provements to propose, we must exactly pur­sue Mr. Arundel's directions.—Be it so, I an­swered, execute his orders—and immediately I turned into the garden, attracted by the most enchanting view that ever met my eyes:—a noble river rolled at my feet; beyond it the country took a gradual ascent, expanding its various beauties in all the pride and wanton­ness of nature: but what enraptured me most was to find it was not inanimate nature, not [Page 59] simply groves, lawns, or river, I was to feed my sight with, but a prospect warm and alive with human habitations, farms and cottages interspersed; a scene glowing with rural hap­piness, a landscape for the heart no less than for the eye.—I stood and gazed—the contem­plation overpowered me; the torrent of thy bounty rushed upon my soul; it was the resist­less impulse of gratitude, and the tears flowed from my eyes. This is the gift of Arundel, I cried—‘Deus nobis haec otia fecit.’

At this instant I was accosted by a venerable old man with silver locks, who was super­intending a set of laborers employed in beau­tifying and dressing the charming spot I was upon: I readily understood he was your uncle's gardener; but instead of talking to me about the works he was engaged in, with joy painted in his countenance he immediately broke forth—Oh Sir! we have this instant got the news, the glorious news; and we hope you will give us leave to set the bells a-ring­ing in honor of Captain John's victory. By all means, my good friend, by all means, I [Page 60] replied; and let the people break off work, and be merry; and to make them so, take this money in my purse; let the whole village have a holiday: the heart that is not warmed on such an occasion is not the heart of an Englishman.—Sir, replied he, Reverend Sir, I beg your pardon; pray you be not offended at my boldness; you are an honorable gentle­man, and a generous; but how should you not, seeing you are the friend of our young master?—But indeed, Sir, I must beg leave to return your money; his Honor has sent us down wherewithal to make a day of it: there is meat to be dressed and beer to be drank, enough for all the neighbourhood: I pray you, Sir, let me not affront you, nor get anger of my master.—Be satisfied, my good friend, I replied, I will not intrude upon the generosity of your master; he is my patron, let him be your's also, and let no other name have a share in the festivity of this day but the name of Arundel.—I beg your pardon, Sir, replied the veteran, we shall make bold to drink a health to our new rector, and shall not forget your bounty, though we dare not accept it.—Having said this, he gave a signal to his [Page 61] men; down at once fell spades, houghs, and pickaxes, away flew the whole bevy at a word; in the same moment out burst the hive from the house-door, carpenters, bricklayers, and laborers; the bells began their peal, six in number, and to my great joy very musical; the people shouted in chorus, Long live the brave Captain Arundel! And all the noble family, cried the old gardener.—Amen! echoed my heart; Amen, it now re-echoes again.

LETTER LXX. Arundel to Charles Mortlake.

I AM delighted to hear of your holiday at Arundel. Yesterday in the forenoon, as I was walking to the Admiralty upon enquiry after my uncle, just as I was entering the court, a large old tumbril of a coach with six horses and three postilions was driving to the gate; two sailors were seated on the box, in [Page 62] scarlet jackets, and upon the roof two more in flowered cotton waistcoats with long silk handkerchiefs round their necks, loose and fluttering in the wind. I made one of a mul­titude, which soon collected round the gate, and immediately heard a cry of Captain Arun­del for ever! echoed by three cheers from the fellows aloft.

My heart bounded with joy and I darted through the throng to the coach-door, which no sooner opened, than out bolted my uncle John, and in an instant I sprung into the hero's arms. With rapture I beheld him safe, sound, and in health; he was accompanied by the young Earl of S. (the Captain of his brave frigate), an old seaman with a wrapper round his head, and two noble boys in mid­shipmen's uniform. As soon as we got into the hall, which was a work of some time, my uncle presented me to Lord S. crying out to me, Here, Frank, I present you to a noble officer, who is an honor to the navy of Bri­tain;—then turning to Lord S. he added, My Lord, I beg you will love this boy for my sake. We embraced, and if Lord S. felt the same emotions as I did, our friendship is [Page 63] established for life. My uncle then demanded if Sir Francis was alive and well? Alive, I told him he was, but little more: he shook his head, and cried, The worse luck, repeat­ing it more than once.—I told him in few words my situation with Sir Francis, sinking however the catastrophe of my cousin.—This seemed to please him much, and he said, If you are upon such terms, all's well! Go home and leave us to do our business here; tell my brother I shall come to dinner and bring my friend Lord S. with me: these youngsters must scout away to their fathers and mothers, naming two noble families, which it seems they belonged to.

Immediately I left the place, and hastening back to Grosvenor square, informed my uncle of my happy rencontre. The gallant old Ge­neral, though in a very feeble state, would be carried into the eating-parlour to receive his visitors at dinner-time; and thanks be to God! one day of true enjoyment was added to his life; for his senses seemed to brighten with the pleasure, and we passed some hours together of so superior a sort, that even sick­ness and infirmity could not dash his joys.

[Page 64]He insisted with my uncle, that both him­self and Lord S. should take up their lodging in his house; this was readily accepted by him, and at last agreed to by his Lordship also; and this morning I attended upon them both to the King's levee, where I was witness to the very gracious reception which my sovereign gave to these deserving officers. My uncle John, whose athletic figure is more formed for the quarter-deck than the court, attracted every body's eyes, and, considering it was a first performance, acquitted himself to admi­ration. You must picture to yourself a rough and martial figure above six feet high, his head bald to the crown, and a few grey curling locks in his neck, with a deep cut across his fore­head, over which he wears a black patch; and to this you must affix a face, which defies the winds of heaven, let them visit it as rough­ly as they may; and such is my uncle John; a majestic figure on his proper element, but rather uncouth in a courtly circle. When the royal hand was stretched out for the custom­ary ceremonial, the zealous hero fell on his knees, and seizing it with more good-will than grace, saluted it with a smack, not quite [Page 65] so loud as the morning gun, yet smart enough to surprize the delicate nerves of the well-bred personages there assembled. I confess it rather startled me, but seeing it received with a smile of so much condescension and benevolence, I was the better reconciled to the unusual cor­diality, which accompanied the performance. In the dialogue of the scene, the hero's mo­desty was no less conspicuous than his ardor had been in the action of it; that counte­nance, which the enemies of his country could not compel to change its hue, now coloured at the gracious praises of his sovereign, and was overspread with blushes, that would not have disgraced the maiden cheek, when first presented to the salute of majesty; and my ears tingled whilst I heard him utter these words, in reply to the many gracious speeches that had been made to him:—Sir, your Ma­jesty's goodness over-rates my small deserts; the humblest of your subjects has no honor to boast of, but the honor of commanding a ship's company in perfect discipline, and bravely officered; and I had been the most abject of beings, if the gallant support I received from the Earl of S. my noble col­league, [Page 66] had not inspired me to emulate his valor, and jointly exert myself in the service of the most gracious sovereign on earth.—I did not lose the look with which this was received; it was more than words could have uttered, it would have repaid the triumphs of a Rodney or the discoveries of a Cook.

It was now in turn for the brave Earl of S. to receive those praises, which the father of his people and the patron of merit knows so well to bestow. I never saw a finer person than this young nobleman, fashioned as if he had lived all his days in a court, yet with all the manli­ness that marks the hero, he seems formed for conquests over both the sexes: he is of the noblest blood in Scotland, though the fortune of his house, by a variety of events in time past, has been so impaired as to leave him a very scanty inheritance for the support of his dig­nity. He has served under my uncle from the time he went first to sea, and seems to bear him all the duty and affection of a son; he was promoted to a sloop for his gallantry in boarding an enemy's ship, when he was my uncle's first lieutenant, and this cruize was the first he had taken in the capacity of post-cap­tain; [Page 67] the rich capture he has now made will restore the splendor of his family, and furnish him the means of generosity to an only sister, to whom he is most affectionately devoted: he talks of her in raptures, and seems to rejoice in his good fortune only as he may share it with her. Lady Jane S. is now on her road out of Scotland and he expects her hourly; Sir Francis tells me she is a most lovely girl, the very image of his Lordship, and, what endears her to me more than all, the friend of my adored Louisa.

Insolent!—to dare to call her my Louisa; and yet, believe me, I would not barter the hope that now brightens in my prospect for all the treasures of the world.—Hear me only and then judge.

Last night Lord S. and I went to Lady Treville's: my good uncle John, having per­formed his court ceremonies to his heart's content, was so exhilarated on the occasion, and made such frequent libations to his Ma­jesty's health, to the navy of Old England, and a string of sea-toasts, which he is humo­rously expert in, together with all the manual accompaniments thereunto belonging, that [Page 68] though he could not drive my Lord and me beyond the verge of sobriety, he fairly pushed us to the utmost edge of it, so that I went to the good old Lady's animated at least, if not elevated; and finding a party assembled ac­cording to custom for a little concert, whom should my eyes encounter, ready seated at the harpsichord, but the Cecilia, the saint of har­mony and my soul's idol, my divine Louisa? A lover's sight hath the rapidity of lightning; my eyes instantaneously caught her charming form, and every other object became invisible to me.—Oh Charles, Charles! such a glowing blush mounted in her cheeks, such a gleam of sunshine darted from her eyes, and I saw my silent welcome in a smile of so much sweet­ness, (let me not boast too much if I presume to say) of so much love, that I was transported out of myself: wild as I was and out of all government of discretion, I flew to the en­chanting object of my adoration with an enthu­siasm, that obeyed no forms, and should cer­tainly have dropt upon my knee at her feet, if she had not been more quick to foresee and prevent my design, than I was to execute it—Mr. Arundel! she cried, in that tone of alarm, [Page 69] which to the ear of sensibility communicates a volume in a word: it was enough; I recollect­ed myself in the instant, and her glove having fallen from her lap, or more probably she having designedly dropt it, the attitude I had devoted to other purposes was very aptly ap­plied to a more ordinary act of common polite­ness. Enough however had passed to throw her into a confusion, that whilst it made me blush for what she suffered, perfectly enchanted me with the lovely manner of it.—Oh Charles, there was a magic in it, that was irrresistibly charming; she rallied me with such eyes, she recovered herself with so much exquisite ad­dress, and intuitively discovering all that was passing in my mind, and no less quick in dis­cerning the elevation of my spirits, with an archness in her look and tittering at the same time, she said to me half aloud—You have been dining, Mr. Arundel!—Then addressing herself to Lord S. she added—I think your Lordship kissed hands to-day.—Yes, Madam, said he, and I expected to have seen Arundel repeat the ceremony to-night.—To so fair a sovereign, I replied, the adoration of the heart is the fitter service, and I stand corrected.— [Page 70] Well, well, returned she, if you are a loyal subject, let me have a proof of your obedience by taking up your instrument at the word of command and gratifying this good company with the sound of it. Upon the word I flew to my post, the charmer of all ears as well as eyes selected the very song, she first performed at Spring Grove, and whispering me as she ar­ranged it on her desk, said, This song is be­come a great favorite with me; I hope you will not like it the less for being an old ac­quaintance;—but harkye, Mr. Arundel, added she, do not leave me in the passages, for I am so fluttered I scarce know how to attempt it.—By Heaven! I murmured in her ear, by Heaven you are an angel, you have the beauty of an angel and the forbearance of one, or you would order me out of the room.—No, no, she answered, we cannot part from you; you have a plea for your good spirits; I give you joy of your happiness, you cannot possess more than I wish you.—But hush!—not another word; so begin.

If I was ever vain enough to approve of my own performance, it was at this moment; I supported her till I found she had the full [Page 71] command of her voice, and then I only gave such occasional aids as added to its brilliancy: nothing could exceed the stile in which she sung; every body was charmed, every ear was feasted, every eye seemed to gaze upon her with delight; it was a circle of friends in per­fect good-humour with each other—of harmo­ny in every sense of the word; not a glance of envy, not a scowl of jealousy to cloud the sun­shine of the soul; I never knew a moment of such heart-felt rapture.

When the song was over, Lady Louisa beckoned Lord S. to her, and with a smile, in which benevolence and beauty contended for the pre-eminence, told him she had a little ballad written by a Scottish muse, a dear friend of his and her's, adapted also to a Scottish tune, which she would give him for the sake of the author; and then turning to me bade me take up my violin and make out an extem­porary accompaniment to the old air of Ros­line Castle; she then began a little plaintive ballad, which Lady Jane S. had written, be­ginning with the words—

What means this languor? tell me why
Thy bosom draws this heaving sigh—

[Page 72] Which, though she addressed to Maria, I have a shrewd suspicion was a substitution of her own in place of Louisa. I filled up an accom­paniment as well as I could impromptu, and when the words were concluded went on with variations upon the motiva, as the musicians call it, which in the flow of spirits I then felt came spontaneously, and with so free a fancy as well as execution, that I really believe I acquitted myself very tolerably; but whether it deserved praise or not, the good-humour of the audience bestowed it, and the lovely Louisa putting two enchanting hands together, which, if their delicacy could have provoked applause, meant to bestow it, I was so bewitch­ed with the sweet sight of it, that I could no longer resist the impulse, but gently enclosing the beauteous captives within mine, I again released them with an ardent kiss.

Summer never showered fresher roses on the vale of Sharan, than this saucy action spread upon her cheeks, nay, Charles, her very bo­som took the dye and glittered through the gauze that shaded it.—Upon my word! she said—and smiled a heavenly smile—Sacred be the impression upon my lips for ever! never [Page 73] shall they violate the purity of that celestial touch, whilst they can utter breath: I stand in wonder at myself whilst I reflect upon the deed; I think the world could not have brib­ed me to attempt it at any preceding moment of my life: I was certainly beside myself.

A sudden tremor seized me, fearing I had offended; but, oh my dear Charles, she cheared me with such a look, how was it that I did not run delirious at the sight of it? My hand shakes, my very brain turns, as I reflect upon it.—I will remove this enchantress out of your sight.—The scene presses to its exit; Lady Treville had stept up to her, and in a whisper, which was meant for me to overhear, said, My dear Lady Louisa, you and your chaperon, Mrs. Courtenhall, must do me the honor to sup; I shall ask nobody but Lord S. and per­haps this scraper, but that will be accordingly as he behaves. It shall be quite a private party.—Ten thousand thanks to my good Lady Treville, replied Lady Louisa; I need not say how happy it would make me, but it is impossible: I am absent from home upon sufferance, and perhaps, added she, turning her intelligent and soft eyes upon me, I have [Page 74] already too far trespassed upon a forbidden pleasure; I must be gone this instant.—These words were uttered with a sigh, which opened all my fate upon me and dashed my joys at once into sadness.

Desperate however against all appearances, I followed her out of the room, and offered my hand to conduct her down the stairs; she ac­cepted it most complacently, nay, she even seemed to have expected it, and instead of speaking to her servants, turned with me into the eating parlour, which opened to the hall. Ah Lady Louisa! said I as we entered, I am shocked to think that I am the interdicted ob­ject, which expels you from society; suffer me, I beseech you, this instant to leave the house.—Not for the world, she replied; but, without wasting more words upon a subject, which I must not enlarge upon, permit me to ask you if you have seen my mother, for I understand you have been in her neighbourhood.—I told her I had not.—Could I tell where she was gone?—I assured her I could not; I under­stood it was out of England, but I could form no guess at the place; and I was sorry to per­ceive by her question that it was equally a [Page 75] secret from her.—It is indeed, she replied, and as you cannot give me information, I despair of it by any other channel, for I confess to you I supposed you was in correspondence with her.—There was something in her manner of saying this, that determined me to be explicit as to the letters I had received from Lady G. as well as with respect to the other particulars she had enquired into; I therefore said—Upon my honor, Lady Louisa, I am totally without a guess where that excellent lady, whose situa­tion is so painful to my mind, has thought fit to retire to; I thought it due to the respect and gratitude I bear her to write to her before my coming into the country, distantly to sound her inclinations, if a visit might be acceptable to her; this drew a short but very gracious answer from her Ladyship, in which she seem­ed to allow of it; but upon my arrival at Arun­del-house, I thought it an attention, which I owed to the peculiarity of her situation, to write a second time, submitting it to her dis­cretion to reconsider of the proposal; and I trust the real motives for my hesitation need not be justified to you, but that they speak for themselves.—To this she assented with a nod, [Page 76] and I then concluded by telling her I had re­ceived an answer to this note, in which Lady G. acquiesced in the propriety of those motives, and informed me that she was going out of England without telling me where.—I am glad you have told me this, she replied, be­cause I think it not impossible I shall hear the story differently stated, and I am deter­mined to believe nothing to the contrary of what you have told me; and now, concluded she, I am afraid I must take leave of you. Oh, Lady Louisa, I exclaimed, and at the same time pressed her unresisting hand, may I hope I have not offended you?—Heavens, Mr. Arundel, offended me! where was your observation, if you could suspect it?—I know you are all goodness, condescension, gentle­ness; but the sudden joy of seeing you was too much for me; you conquer every sense at once; you are mistress over every heart.—And yet there is but one, Mr. Arundel, on which I wish to leave a lasting impression.—The look she gave me pointed the application, I had been insensible could I have missed it; again I pressed my lips upon her hand, and with faultering voice replied—Am I too pre­sumptuous, [Page 77] Lady Louisa, when I say your image is indelibly imprinted on my heart? when I aspire to tell the most exalted of her sex, that I doat upon you to distraction? yes, Madam, hopeless as I am, unapproachable though you are, an angel moving in a sphere above my reach, still I will adore you, still my prayers shall follow you, and my devoted heart, though fated to despair, persist to love till the hand of death shall stop its motion.—As I was pronouncing these words I felt a tear drop upon my hand, when directing my eyes to the fount from which it fell, I saw her beau­teous countenance surrendered to the tenderest and fondest emotions; as she stood in a pos­ture inclining towards me, I expected she would fall, and was prepared to catch her in my arms; but a sudden recollection seemed to awaken her, and casting her eyes upon Mrs. Courtenhall, who was waiting in the room, Mr. Arundel, she said, if you really feel the love which you express, you need not yield to the despair you seem to apprehend; I never studied to disguise my feelings, and you can­not fail to have discovered them; interpret them therefore in the way most acceptable to [Page 78] yourself, and believe me incapable of dissimu­lation. On this you may depend, that though I will never take a step in direct disobedience to a father's authority, I will not sacrifice my happiness in life to a compliance with his par­tiality for any man, whom my heart cannot approve.

So saying, she turned hastily away, and see­ing me about to follow her to the door, she bade me stay where I was till she was gone, and taking hold of Mrs. Courtenhall's arm hastened out of the room, bestowing on me a look at parting, that said Farewell in a lan­guage, that no eyes can speak so eloquently as hers.

I rejoined the company up stairs, who were too delicate to make the least remark upon my absence, and after a little more music our party dispersed, leaving nobody but Lord S. and myself with Lady Treville, who was just telling his Lordship, that she hoped his sister would accept of an apartment in her house upon her arrival in town, and that she had written a letter for that purpose to be given to her at Hatfield, where she would change horses; when our attention being called off by [Page 79] a rapping at the door, whilst we were protest­ing against the admission of so unseasonable a visitor, who should enter the room but Lady Jane herself? Instantly she flew into her bro­ther's arms, who ran to her with equal tran­sport—My Archibald, my hero, she exclaim­ed, thus may we ever meet! thus may I ever glory in my brother!—I marked her counte­nance, it was illuminated with joy, the fires that sparkled in her eyes would not admit a tear to quench them; she was the very model of a Roman sister, congratulating a beloved brother on his triumph:—again she clasped him in her arms and cried—Well done, my Archibald! well done; And all this victory gained without a wound? thank Heaven! that honor I can well away with.—She now ad­dressed herself to Lady Treville in a stile of po­liteness that quite charmed me; for this young lady, Charles, has a peculiar grace in all she does, which I cannot well describe to you: when Lady Treville presented me to her, she received me with a most sweet, yet penetrat­ing look, which seemed to tell me she was no stranger to my ambitious love. Though she had scarce allowed herself to rest upon her [Page 80] journey, she would not own to any fatigue, and after we had supped her spirits were so gay and fresh, and she had so many enquiries to make about the action, so many civil things to say to the lady of the house, and talked in so delightful a stile of my adored Louisa, whilst she archly contrived to draw out my whole heart upon the subject, that the minutes post­ed so fast away upon the wings of joy, that time was totally forgotten by all but our good old hostess, who was best acquainted with it, and had most reason to remember it; at length she brought us to a proper sense of Lady Jane's repose, and with an air of mo­therly authority, in her lively good-humoured manner, cried out—Be gone, young men, to your quarters; be gone this moment: though Lady Jane is a goddess, she cannot live with­out sleep.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXI. Arundel to Charles Mortlake.

THIS morning at six o'clock my bounte­ous benefactor closed his eyes for ever: Sir Francis Arundel is no more: death, whom he had so often braved in the field, stole upon him unawares in his sleep, and extinguished him without a groan. Few are the days I have lived with him and known him, many and vast are the obligations I owe him. He has been a dying man ever since the fatal event, which bereft him of his son; the happy day he passed with my uncle John on his ar­rival was the last enjoyment he had of his senses, and except the time he accompanied me to the House of Commons, he has never been out of his doors since I have been with him.

As his corpse must be interred in the family vault at Arundel, I shall come down to at­tend the funeral; and, that all things may be [Page 82] in proper order for that solemnity, I intend to leave town to-morrow, and shall be accom­panied by my uncle John: you will be so good to inform the housekeeper of this, that she may provide accordingly and expect us by dinner-time.

As soon as the funeral is over, Lord S. has promised to come down to us, and if we can prevail upon Lady Treville to accompany Lady Jane, (which I do not despair of) they will be of the party; should that take place, you will have an opportunity of seeing old age and youth in their most amiable characters: guard your heart well, for if it is as open to love as it is to friendship and benevolence, farewell to its tranquillity, if you come within the glance of Lady Jane's bright eyes.

Adieu.

LETTER LXXII. Lady Jane S. to Lady Louisa G.

WAS it not a most obliging act of Lady Treville to come with me hither, by which I was enabled to accompany my bro­ther, and enjoy the society of some of the most amiable people living, in one of the most de­lightful scenes?

I am greatly struck with the natural beau­ties of this place, and though the mansion is antient, yet it is in a stately stile, and the prin­cipal apartments are really very fine.

The funeral was over before our arrival, and the worthy General now sleeps with his ances­tors; his corpse was attended to the vault by the heir and Captain Arundel, and the service performed by Mr. Mortlake, the new rector of this parish and the bosom friend of his pa­tron: Mr. Arundel's father, now Sir Joseph, declined being present either at the funeral, or at the opening of the will; I suspect he is a [Page 84] very unpleasant kind of being [...] Captain John informs me, that the estate is a good nine thousand a year in land, and he thinks the ready money cannot be less than twenty thou­sand pounds to the heir, when all legacies are paid—and if you add to this, said he, the pick­ings of my old carcase, when the fates have disposed of it, Frank will be a warm fellow.

I have told my dear Louisa how much I was pleased with the man of her heart at our first meeting; I now find there is no less to love than to admire in him. Do you know, Louisa, that Lord S. and I agree in thinking him extremely like you? Can I speak in higher commendation of his person, than when I protest to you, I am not conscious that I flatter him? I must be­lieve you are destined for each other. Oh, that my dear Louisa was here with us! my poor head will be quite turned by the attentions, which are paid me; think only what a contrast to the dreary solitude of my native castle! Here am I Queen regent of an empire, which I trust is destined to a fitter as well as fairer sovereign; every face I meet reflects the smile of benevolence upon me: Is it not the very quintessence of human happiness to be center­ed [Page 85] in the hearts of those we love, to be em­bosomed in the society of the Virtues?

As Sir Francis had a well-regulated family of servants, and lived in a stile very suitable to his fortune, our friend has very little trouble with his domestic arrangements; the works he is carrying on at the Parsonage House seem to be his principal occupation at present, and for the present he turns a deaf ear to all projects for the embellishment of his own domain.—It is the first object with me, (he said this morning, as we were walking in the park) to make Mortlake happy in his situation; as for this old mansion and its premisses, I will do no­thing more than keep it in its present good repair, till the time may come that I may con­sult a better taste than my own for the im­provement of it. Then pausing for a few mo­ments, with a sigh he exclaimed—But what are these presumptuous hopes, which I in­dulge? Ah, Lady Jane, I delude myself; I do but walk in a vain shadow: all the favors of fortune are but lost upon me; I cannot enjoy them; Was ever man so courted by prospe­rity? See how happiness solicits me! Look at those heroes!—here he pointed to his uncle [Page 86] and my brother, who were walking together arm in arm towards the river—How am I honored in calling one uncle, and the other friend? Carry your eye up to that house, which hangs over the river they are going to: Is it not a charming spot? and how ought I to be blest in the friend which possesses it! What a delightful sensation do I feel when I contemplate that habitation, and say within myself, in that asylum I have placed the friend of my heart, the gentlest, kindest, best of hu­man beings! Oh, Lady Jane, if ever there was a faultless creature, Mortlake is the man.—This methinks is blessing enough for any one person's share in life; but, as if fortune woul [...] never be weary of her favors to me, she has added to her other gifts the happiness and ho­nor, which I am this moment enjoying with a friend as amiable as she is noble, in whose heart I do not despair at humble distance to participate with my Louisa herself—I give you his own flattering words, my dear, though I ought to blush for my assurance. Shall I pro­ceed? stand aside, vanity! and I will—Yes, Lady Jane, he continued, you have a wo­man's feelings, and an angel's pity, you can [Page 87] understand and commiserate the inquietudes of a heart so empassioned as mine is; you can suffer me to talk of my soul's idol, you can hear me with patience, and can allow for the extravagancies of a discourse, which observes no order—but I will restrain myself, he add­ed, let us join your brother.

He and the old Captain were at that instant very busily employed upon the launch of a new boat, just arrived from London: these heroes, who had so lately triumphed over the flag of Spain, were stript to their shirts and oc­cupied in the humble office of tallowing the bottom of a wherry; and so ardent were they both in their task, that I doubt if the very odour of their work was not grateful to their nostrils: a country fellow was standing by them, gaping with surprize, but totally out of employment. As the weather is supremely fine, we propose to go upon the Medway this evening, and under such command, I should not tremble to encounter Scylla and Charybdis in all their poetical terrors.

Mortlake was standing on the opposite bank, upon a terrace in his garden which butts against the river: at the end of this ter­race [Page 88] there is a landing-place, where a little boat, which serves to ferry him over the wa­ter, was moored to the shore; and as we ap­proached, we heard the old Captain roaring out to the Doctor, as he calls him, to push his boat across the stream, and take the lady on board, for that I was coming to visit him. Upon this summons he came over; where­upon Arundel and I stept into the boat, and though our worthy ferryman seemed to me to acquit himself very expertly, yet this old son of the ocean kept jibing and jeering at him, in his sea language, every inch of the way, standing all the while in his shirt, with the sleeves tuck'd up to his elbows, no hat upon his head, and his bald pate shining in the sun, a tremendous gash across his forehead plais­tered over with a huge black patch, and of so gigantic a form, that it is no wonder he is terrible to his enemies, when I declare even I, who doat upon him, could not survey his figure without trembling. Mr. Mort­lake, who delights in his humour, kept up the water language with a great deal of pleasantry, till he landed us at the foot of the stairs which lead to his terrace: here, in stepping out of [Page 89] the boat, which was rather unsteady, my foot slipt, and I should certainly have had a very ugly fall upon the edge of the boat backwards, if Mortlake had not with great address caught me in his arms. My dear brother, whose eyes were upon me, gave a loud shriek; but when he saw me safe, he called out to my preserver—Well handled, my brave fellow! keep hold of what you've got; you deserve her for your pains.—Whether it was this raillery of my brother's, or the alarm of my danger, or what else I know not, but he had no sooner set me on my feet, than the colour went from his cheeks, his whole frame trembled, and if he had not squatted down upon the steps, I think verily he would have fainted. I con­fess to you I was very much touched with his sensibility, and so was Arundel.—Lord S. ran down to the river-side, and cried out,—My dear Mortlake, I hope you are not hurt.—By this time he was recovering, and having assured my brother that no harm had befallen either of us, we walked up the garden lawn to the house. We entered the library by a glass door, and in my life I was never so enchanted with the elegant simplicity and proportion of [Page 90] a room before. By the preparations for the books, it should seem the collection is consi­derable, and I am told they are very well se­lected; in short, they are worthy both of the giver and receiver. Nobody can bestow with such a grace as Arundel; nobody can apply them to better purpose than Mortlake. We went over the house, and I am charmed with every part of it; the bed-rooms, a dressing-room and drawing-room, are yet unfur­nished, and Mr. Arundel said, he had drawn me thither on purpose to avail himself of my taste in the choice of the papers and cottons, of which he laid before me a variety of pat­terns. Help us out, I beseech you, Lady Jane, said he, for we college drones are but sorry judges in these matters.

Whilst I sate down to examine a large par­cel of these samples, one of the workmen called Mr. Arundel out of the room; and how it was I know not, but I confess to you, my dear Louisa, I felt a little queerish just now, finding myself alone with a very handsome and a very young man, in the awkward office of chusing beds and curtains, whilst he was folding and unfolding and hovering about [Page 91] me; so I fairly threw the work aside for the time, and told him I would wait till Mr. Arundel returned. Mortlake, whose sensibi­lity nothing can escape, and who perhaps had not quite recovered his former agitation, now blushed like scarlet, and I have no doubt I looked silly enough, for I confess my bro­ther's words, though probably spoken in mere pleasantry, without meaning, had put my heart into no small flutter. In this situation we both stood silent for a time, and irresolute what to say or do next. On these occasions a woman generally is the first to find her tongue, and I began to talk of the escape I had had, and to thank him for his care and protection of me, which I was afraid had oc­casioned him some pain or hurt, which he did not own to.—He assured me that he felt no pain but what arose from my danger, and even the apprehension of any harm befalling me, was more than he could bear.—But we must not trust you to the boat any more, added he, and I will desire Arundel to send for his carriage to take you home by the road. I had now recovered from my embarassment, and calling him back as he was going out of [Page 92] the room, declared against the carriage, tell­ing him we should never hear an end of the old Captain's raillery, if we gave the cause up so cowardly: besides, added I, it would be­tray a want of confidence in my conductor, which would be very ingrateful in me to do. 'Tis your conductor, replied he, who wants confidence in himself, when he has such a treasure in his charge.—Nay, answered I, but what will my brother say to that, if you desert a station which he commanded you to keep; won't there be something like mutiny in that?—Ah Madam, he replied, if Lord S. pro­motes me to an honor so infinitely above my merits, how ought an humble man to act in such a case?—I dare say, said I, Lord S. is too good a judge of merit, not to know that humility is one of the surest marks which be­long to it.—Mr. Arundel now returned, and put a stop to a conversation that was growing rather serious. We now passed a few minutes longer in the house, took a walk round the garden, and repassing the river, found a car­riage in waiting for us on the park side and so returned to the house together.

[Page 93]Immediately on my arrival, a servant gave me the following letter, which completely ve­rifies your prediction.

I venture to inform the most adorable of women, that her ever faithful and most de­voted admirer is waiting within a few paces of the house, in anxious hope that he may be permitted to repeat his vows, and pour out his full heart at her feet. Admit me, most angelic Lady Jane, to your presence; let my eyes once more behold that object, on which my heart doats to distraction, and from which his affections have never strayed even for a moment, when hard necessity compelled it to suspend its hope: that ne­cessity, so lamented by your faithful lover, is now removed, not by any change in your fortune (though even that I rejoice in), but by a better disposition of my own af­fairs; and I am now more impatient than ever to declare myself,

Most beloved of my soul,
Your ever faithful and most fondly devoted, ADAM CRICHTON.

[Page 94]As soon as I had read this curious epistle, I took my brother aside, and relating to him what had passed between Sir Adam and me at Edenborough, gave him the letter. Having perused it, he cried out—The devil take the assurance of this fellow! he deserves to be ex­posed for his meanness; but, however, send him his answer and dismiss him: and let it be explicit enough to silence him for the time to come; for some of our countrymen, Jane, are not easily put by from their point.

I sat down immediately, and wrote the fol­lowing short answer:

Lady Jane S. presents her compliments to Sir Adam Crichton, and begs leave to decline the honor of any further correspon­dence with him upon the subject, which his letter alludes to.

This I dispatched by his servant, and hoped to hear no more of my lover; when behold, in less than the space of half an hour, a servant announced him to Mr. Arundel, who seemed much surprized at the name of a visitor, to whom he was a perfect stranger; [Page 95] but as there was no hesitation to be made, in point of politeness, about receiving him, or­ders were given to shew Sir Adam Crichton into the room. Lord S. had just time to whisper a few words to Mr. Arundel, when the gentleman made his entrance into the room where we were all assembled; the old Captain and Mortlake being just then en­gaged at the backgammon table, and paying little attention to what was going forward. As soon as Sir Adam had made his apologies to Mr. Arundel, which he performed with a great deal of civil circumlocution, he asked leave to speak with me alone; upon which my brother demanded, if he had not had an answer from Lady Jane already? he acknow­ledged to have received a short note; but hoped I would yet indulge him with an op­portunity of explaining himself. Upon this Arundel and Mortlake rose up, and were preparing to leave the room; but as I was resolute against any conversation with him, I requested them to stay, for that Sir Adam and I had no private business whatever. Lord S. now addressed him in a serious tone as fol­lows:—Sir Adam Crichton, you have heard [Page 96] my sister's resolution; and therefore I must on her behalf insist upon it, that you do not press her with another word upon the subject: upon these conditions, if you chuse to honor us with your company, I think I may answer for my friend Mr. Arundel, that all civilities will be paid to Sir Adam Crichton in his house.—Certainly, if Sir Adam will do me that honor, said Mr. Arundel, yet coolly enough.—The old Captain, who did not understand a word of all this, was bawling out to Mortlake to resume his game at backgammon; but in vain, I never saw so restless a creature, he was in all parts of the room by turns, and never quiet in any. Observing this, the Com­mander grew out of patience, and being to­tally in the dark, and not over quick at see­ing into the causes and reasons of things, vo­ciferated still louder, crying out, Come, come, Doctor, bear a hand; where the plague art capering to? What the dickens is all this to thee? Don't run away from the game, when I have a gammon in my tables?

During this a perfect silence had reigned in our quarter, whilst Sir Adam's eyes had gone a progress round the room, sometimes look­ing [Page 97] inquisitively at my brother, then piteously at me, then enviously at Arundel, honoring me, as I believe, with a suspicion that he had spied out a rival; and very naturally con­cluding, from the superiority he there beheld, that his cause must be hopeless, he rose at length from his chair without uttering a word, made a very awkward bow and de­parted.

Mr. Arundel followed him to the hall door, performing all the rights of hospitality with great politeness, when the Baronet as he was parting took courage and said—I perceive, Sir, you are the happy man; to which your friend made reply—I am indeed, Sir, every body must be happy in the society of Lady Jane S.—There's a declaration for you? Ah my poor forsaken Louisa! are you not heart­broken with jealousy?

Well! Lady Jane, said Arundel as he re­turned to us with a smile upon his counte­nance, your lover has made a notable disco­very amongst us, he has found out the happy man, who has thrust him out of your heart.—Happy man indeed! I replied, and who may he be?—Look about you, said he, your lover [Page 98] is in the room.—Is he so? cried the gallant veteran in a voice of thunder, and starting from his seat very gallantly seized hold of my hand, saying, Then I claim her for my prize, and if any man is bold enough to dispute it with me, let him come on; I will burn, sink, and destroy him in an hurry.—Ah Lady Jane! Lady Jane! it is in vain to disguise it; I saw the tender looks you gave me, when I was in the elegant employ of tallowing the boat's bottom: come, confess, was not that the fa­vorable moment? I knew you could not stand this bald pate and black patch. Harkye, Doctor, put in the banns, and splice your bell­ropes, for we will have a merry peal.

The old man's raillery saved some certain embarassments that were visible amongst us, and thus ended the adventure of Sir Adam Crichton.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXIII. Lady Jane S. to Lady Louisa G.

I HAVE had a lecture from Lady Tre­ville this morning: Do you know, my dear Jane, says she, that you are making poor Mortlake most compleatly in love with you? now this I must chide you for, because, take notice, though it may be sport to you, it is death to him.

But perhaps I do not mean to let him die.

Then what do you mean, you giddy crea­ture?

Any thing rather than incur your displea­sure and give you just occasion for chiding me; which, if I was capable of playing the coquette with so excellent a creature, I should richly deserve.

The Lord be good unto me! my dear girl, why, he is a parson.

Very true; and Sir Adam Crichton is a Ba­ronet, and I am an Earl's daughter, and yet I [Page 100] can despise the man of money and admire the man of merit.

Well to be sure this is mighty fine and ro­mantic, but you are jesting with me all this while.

Pardon me, my dear Lady, you have taken the very way to make me serious; for if you are founded in your observation, and I have really made the impression upon Mortlake's heart which you suspect, I have not that trivial mind to revolt from his profession, or slight a virtuous man because devoted to the service of his God. Shall the colour of a man's cloaths, or the cut of his hair disgust my vani­ty, and decide against a character, in which every perfection of heart and head, every ex­cellence of mind and person apparently unite? If I am to consult my eye, where can it rest upon a finer person than Mortlake's? if I am to be guided by my judgment, can it direct me to a worthier choice?

But a parson's wife, my dear—Only think of Lady Jane S. young, noble, blooming, beauteous, the admiration of the whole town, the pattern of all elegance and the soul of all societies—a parson's wife.

[Page 101]And why not? If Lady Jane prefers tran­quillity to dissipation, solid happiness to fleeting pleasures; if Lady Jane prefers the blessings of the poor to the admiration of the town; Lady Jane will not regret that she is no longer the soul of those societies, which her soul can­not approve; and though she does not mean to lessen her attentions to elegance, yet as a pat­tern of it she would not wish to be distinguish­ed, whilst there are so many nobler patterns for her emulation.

But your family, my dear child, your noble, I may say, your royal blood!—then above all, the Earl your brother! he will now expect to establish you in some great connection; you saw with what indignity he spurned at the al­liance of Sir Adam Crichton; what will he say to that of Mortlake?

You mistake my brother's motives for treat­ing Sir Adam's proposals with contempt; the man, not his alliance, is contemptible: my bro­ther will not seek out matches of interest or am­bition for me; he is too honorable to wish to enslave my affections, and he knows my spirit too well to attempt it; the authority he holds with me is of my giving, not of his exacting; [Page 102] it springs from the love I bear him, from the opinion I entertain of his judgment and the re­verence I pay to his virtues; but neither he, nor any creature living or that ever did live, shall prescribe to me in that important choice, which is to decide the happiness or misery of my fu­ture days; much less will I be swayed from my judgment by the despicable pride of fa­mily, the sordid lure of interest, or silly cry of fashion, which looks no further than the sur­face of the man, and cannot see the light of the soul, if the body be habited in black.

Now then we are agreed, concluded the old lady; I have played a little harmless artifice upon you, and have touched methinks upon every point that could probe the feelings of a woman of distinction, circumstanced as you are. Had I found you tender in any part, and shrinking from the touch, I had trembled for your danger; but you have even bettered my very best opinion, and are more than ever dear to me.—And now, changing her tone and countenance in a moment, she began to railly me about the simplicity of my dress, which she said was all subtlety and contrivance, that I might not awe a modest lover by appearances [Page 103] —and there in truth she was not out of her guess—I am sure, she said, this white linen surplice and vestal hood, with all their chaste accompaniments are levelled at the parsonage; but you are mistaken, child, in their effect; instead of hiding they enhance your charms; Lady Jane in her court dress is only a fine wo­man, in this saint-like habit she is something more, and though a heathen priest in the spirit of enthusiasm might prevail upon himself to sacrifice you as a victim at the altar, no Chris­tian priest will ever venture to approach so spiritualized a being with the carnal ideas of love. My life upon it, the humble Mortlake will not dare to approach you any otherwise than on his knees.—And if he does approach me on his knees, my dear lady, I replied, he will not find me so spiritualized as you seem to make me: I have hitherto kept love at a dis­tance, or at best played with him as a child with her kitten; when Sir Adam knelt at my feet I could have gone on with my needle and not pricked my fingers; I could have counted the buttons upon his coat, or numbered every curl in his hair, he might have moulded my hand between his till he was weary without [Page 104] putting my pulse out of its pace; but oh Hea­vens! if a finger of this charming fellow does but touch my glove, it sets my heart into a flutter, and when he caught me in his arms as I was falling into the river, how did I wish he would have taken my brother at his word and held me there for life!

Heyday, heyday! she cried, stark staring mad already; why this is next kin to love at first sight.—Well, well, such things may have been, but they are too long past for me to re­member them. However since it is so, you have no time to throw away, chuse your papers and your printed cottons, and set the uphol­sterer to work as fast you can, before he has done his job, you will be ready for your's, or I am mistaken.—But come, my dear, let us go down to breakfast; too much love upon an empty stomach is not good for the constitu­tion.

This learned dialogue had kept our tongues so long in motion, that when we came into the breakfast room we found the gentlemen wait­ing for us, and were saluted by the old Cap­tain with a whistle to the tune of the boatswain, when he pipes all hands to the mess. As I [Page 105] was about to seat myself at the table where I was to officiate, Mortlake ran with a chair for me, though a man with more observation and less zeal might easily have found out there was no want of it; I am afraid I had already sate down, but you know a lady may have a pre­ference for such a trifle as an odd chair, and so to make short of a trifle, I quitted my own and took his. Immediately my wicked bro­ther cried out—Mortlake, there is promotion for you, Jane has shifted her flag, and you have nothing to do but take post by succession.—I can only say he did not avail himself of the hint; but having full employment in com­bating my own embarassment I cannot give any account how Mortlake disposed of his.

After breakfast my brother drew me out into the garden, and during our walk we had the following conversation:

I flatter myself, my dear Jane, now you have discarded your unworthy lover you mean to supply the vacancy in your heart with one more deserving.

Ah, brother! love you know is like death, the necessary end, it will come when it will come.

[Page 106]And have you no hints and intimations of his approach at present?

Humph! that is a trapping question me­thinks; do you spy out any such?

Why to say the truth I suspect you have a little inclination to cross the water.

Aye, but you see I stumbled in the passage.

True, but it was only to fall into a young man's arms; it was so that William the Nor­man stumbled upon English ground at his landing, but remember it was a lucky omen, for he conquered and took possession of the soil he fell on.

And did you mean to make a case in point, when you bid my preserver keep possession of what he had saved?

Upon my honor, Jane, if you can see your happiness in humble life, my pride will never stand in the way of it; so you can but dwell with content, whether it is in a palace or a parsonage I shall equally rejoice.—Perhaps I should not have said quite so much awhile ago, but since I have now fortune sufficient to make you affluent with the man of your choice, be his condition what it may, if that man's [Page 107] mind and person, if his temper, understanding and manners are altogether such as you ap­prove, and love attracts your heart to his, I should be base in the extreme were I to inter­pose a wish in bar of your affections: no, my dear sister, let me rather prompt you to pursue your passion, when it leads to an object so de­serving; nobility can never degrade itself by an alliance with virtue.

There spoke my brother! I exclaimed, and at the same time clasped him in my arms—this it is to possess the soul of a hero. But now deal freely with me, my dear Archibald, I added; and as my heart is open, all its warmth and all its weakness as well known to you as the features of my face, have you seen any thing in me, have you discovered any thing in Mortlake, which seems to threaten future discontent between us? Have you any alarm for our happiness? What is there in myself to correct, what in him to disapprove and guard myself against?

I will answer you sincerely; and for yourself first—If I did not know you as I do, I might suppose your character was ill adapted to the sober line of life, in which he moves; I might [Page 108] suppose your high and ardent spirit, your vi­vacity and brilliant talents, your elegance of manners, mind and person, were qualities that never could submit to a retired and humble destination; but I know you better; I have seen you in the solitude of Fergus Castle, in the melancholy duty of an attendant on a dying grandmother, lost to the world and to herself; I have seen you patiently enduring the re­straints of poverty, and according yourself to the narrowest system of frugality without a murmur; I know you have no pride but that of principle, no contempt but of vice and meanness, and though you have understanding, figure and address to grace the highest rank in life, vivacity to give them a display and pas­sions to impel them into action, yet I know your mind is so strong fortified with reason and your soul so firmly anchored in religion, that I have had not the smallest doubt of your se­curity.

As for Mortlake; though I want no other test of his merit than the friendship which Arundel entertains for him, and though my education does not enable me to form any judgment of an understanding and knowledge [Page 109] so superior to what I can boast of, yet of his heart I flatter myself I am entitled to speak, of his candour, modesty, benevolence, sweet­ness of temper I cannot fail to be a judge, for they are as conspicuous as the light, evident as truth itself: his manners are of the purest sort, and though not such as fashion adopts, yet are they what the finest gentleman might make the model of his practice. Though his spirit is gentle, it is as highly empassioned and as warm, my sweet Jane, even as your own: his soul is all benevolence, his religion is phi­lanthropy, active, liberal, tolerating, untainted by hypocrisy, and not clouded by gloom, but lively, gay and social. As to his external, I can only say that a sweeter countenance and a finer person I have no where seen; of that you must; judge for yourself, and if your eyes speak the language of your heart, which I can­not doubt of, they have told him in pretty plain terms what an interest he has there. With respect to all the essentials of domestic happiness, this most beautiful spot in which Arundel has placed him, the elegant and comfortable habitation he has provided for him, the decent income he derives from his [Page 110] living, the little paternal property he enjoys, and your portion of that treasure, which is only valuable to me as I can share it with you, will put you so compleatly at your ease in point of fortune, that I foresee nothing that can add to the happy prospect in your view, but an event, which I hope Providence will bring to pass, the union of your charming and beloved friend with the only man living who deserves her.

That indeed, I eagerly observed, would be a consummation of my bliss; that would make me supremely happy, and surely we may pre­sume that Heaven, which formed them for each other, will complete its own designs by uniting them: then indeed, when friend is joined to friend, from the terrace of my little garden with a joy unallayed by envy I shall survey the neighbouring mansion, where my Louisa dwells with her beloved Arundel: United in the bonds of harmony with such a family how se­rene will be my life! blest in the affections of my husband, my understanding enlarged by his instructions, and my heart animated by his virtues, think with what transport I shall meet my heroic brother returning from his wars [Page 111] with conquest, having finished his career of glory, and welcome him into the arms of peace, ‘Weaving fresh laurels for his honor'd brow.’

Here we were stopt in our dialogue by an elegant and graceful form, habited in deep mourning, who approached without observing us; he was engaged in contemplating a minia­ture pourtrait, which he held in his hand, and on which his eyes were most lovingly fixt.—Need I say it was Arundel? Need I add that the object of his contemplation was the copy of the fairest face in the creation, the gift of my Louisa to her faithful Jane, and her loan to this enamoured lover? Could I withhold from him this friendly solace of his medita­tions, this reflection of an image imprinted on his heart? I trust you will not think I have misused your favor by imparting it to him.—Ah, Lady Jane, he cried, this was a daring painter— ‘How could he look upon those eyes and live?’ He then shut the shagreen case, in which the pic­ture is enclosed, and returned it to me, saying [Page 112] —I believe I have got this book by heart.—I hope you will soon have the original in pos­session, replied my brother, you may then pursue your studies according to *Horace's instruction both by night and by day.—Oh heavenly hope, replied Arundel, on which my imagination dwells, how kindly you console me! but when I ask myself on what founda­tion it is built, how like the baseless fabric of a vision does it then appear! though I am well assured that Lady Louisa will neither be per­suaded nor compelled into a marriage with Sir George Revel, yet how can I flatter myself that any future time or circumstance can re­concile the hostile mind of Lord G. to me? He hath not the gift of forgiveness, nor I the art of hypocrisy, where then is my hope?—Cannot you answer that query, said my bro­ther to me.—In my own case, I replied, I could readily answer it, in my friend's I can­not; the seeds of rebellion so rank in my na­ture, in her pure mind take no root; filial obedience in her is a principle she cannot vio­late, [Page 113] nay I am persuaded she would sacrifice the happiness of her life, or even life itself, rather than transgress a duty, which she regards as interdictory against her own inclinations, though she may not admit it to be compulsory upon them.—I conceive, said Arundel, you have very correctly understood her rule of acting, and I will as correctly conform to it, be the event as fatal to my happiness as I fear it will be; if I could persuade her to an act, with which her gentle mind would reproach her, it is what the world would not bribe me to attempt; no, I must submit, I am neither capable of perverting her filial piety, nor of conciliating her father's rooted animosity. At the same time I know my pretensions; it is no vanity in me to say, for it is no merit of my own which enables me to say it, that if heredi­tary honors pass for any thing, the name of Arundel may stand upon the line with any name in Europe; weigh it, it is as heavy, con­jure with it, it will raise a spirit as soon as Bourbon or Nassau. The fortune I inherit by the bounty of the deceased, though not to be compared with Sir George Revel's, is such however as the parent of no lady could object [Page 114] to; for as it is, without adverting to other con­tingencies, it more than trebles the estate, which will devolve upon Lady Louisa with the barony, that in failure of a son and heir goes to her; the rest of his Lordship's estate is in close entail upon the male heir: add to this, that the generosity of my uncle John has opened other mines upon me, which might tempt Lord G. if avarice were his ruling pas­sion, to stifle his resentment and wave all ob­jections against me; but I will neither consent to take the prize out of the victor's generous hand, who earned it, nor will I so insult Lord G. as to suppose he can be bribed by any of­fers, however splendid, to relax from his hos­tility.

Oh my Louisa! what a man this is! though nature cast him in a mould to strike our eyes with admiration at the very instant of behold­ing him, yet she has endowed his mind with something so superior to external grace, that every hour encreases our esteem and love; for my part I perfectly venerate him as a kind of being of a higher order; I love him, trust him, converse with him without any of that timid reserve or holding back, so natural to the [Page 115] shyness of our sex; such is the delicacy of his nature, that when alone with him, I seem in company with my Louisa; I tender myself to him as a partner in his private meditations, because I can perceive it sooths his mind to talk with me of his and my Louisa; taken from you in presence, not in heart, he finds re­lief in conversation, which he knows full well can never weary me, nor need we dread the languor of repetition, when you are the sub­ject, in whom we can still find new charms, new virtues to admire and praise, without ex­hausting the supply that feeds us with variety.

Here I must break off, as we are now going upon the river in the new wherry, which our sea Captains have put into perfect trim: the afternoon is charming; our commanders are waiting at the place of embarkation; I hear the voice of Lady Treville summoning me to the party in the gayest and most exhilarating tone; she stands on the lawn under my win­dow arm in arm with Arundel, Mortlake is waiting unengaged, and casts up a wishful look, in which, amidst the modest diffidence that characters his face, I can discern a faint and glimmering expectation, the embryo of a [Page 116] hope that I shall destine him to the same friendly and familiar office.—Yes, Mortlake, thou shalt have thy hope, my arm shall be sup­ported upon thine, nor one alone, but both are ready to enfold thee; my conscious heart ac­knowledges it cannot bestow a joy on thee greater, than that which it receives by giving.

Farewell!—I fly to him with such impa­tience, that if he has eyes he must discover me: Ah me! he has discovered me;—I have given him a smile of assignation, that has transported him: I am betrayed!—no mat­ter, I cannot counterfeit, nor would I, if I could.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXIV. Lady Louisa G. to Lady Jane S.

ALAS! that mine should be the destiny to blast the happiness of those I love, to put to hazard, perhaps, (Oh horror beyond thought!) to destroy a life far dearer to me than my own.

Arundel hath been represented to me as the vilest of men, must I add! as the seducer, the violator of my mother's honor. The cir­cumstances, reported to me by my father, ori­ginate from Sir George Revel, and are simply these:—

A note from my mother to Arundel, written at the instant of her departure, was intercepted by Sir George Revel on the spot, who arrived at her house just after she had left it, and found means to get this letter out of the ser­vant's hands, who was entrusted to deliver it.

This letter I saw in her own hand-writing, and read it myself—It is little else than a short [Page 118] adieu; she wishes him not to aggravate Lord G.; she conjures him to avoid fresh dissen­sions with Sir George Revel, but she plainly hints at intelligence heretofore imparted to him by herself with respect to me—This is the whole of it, and this alone would have been an attack, I could easily enough have put by in silence, had it not been followed by other cir­cumstances, fabricated by the very father of lies, the author of all mischief; for that wretch, Sir George Revel, pretends he has a deposition of the servant, from whom he got the letter, charging my guiltless mother with a criminal assignation, and meeting with Arundel in a certain building within a grove, adjoining to her garden, and asserting that of this meeting he was an eye-witness.

Such is my persuasion of the purity and honor of the parties concerned, that had I no other grounds for disbelieving this abomi­nable and malicious fiction, I could not harbour a suspicion to their prejudice; but when I call to mind the zeal with which she recommends my union with Arundel, and the prayers she offers up for its success, is it in nature to sup­pose this accusation can be true? Is there a [Page 119] parent living so devoid of conscience? If to the disgrace of human nature such a monster does exist, it cannot be my mother. Another circumstance there is, which stamps the horrid tale with falsehood; the informer has disap­peared, and as the whole charge rests upon the hearsay evidence and veracity of Sir George Revel, who does not deny that he con­nived at the fellow's escape by promise pre­viously engaged, we are left to conclude that either no such informer exists, and the entire story is a malicious fabrication of Sir George's, or else that there is such gross and palpable subornation in the case, that the fugitive, con­scious of his perjury, dares not abide the scrutiny, nor meet the accused face to face.

But all this while, glaring as these circum­stances are, my father credits, or pretends to credit, the tale, and the reputation of my in­nocent mother is to be blasted through the world, whenever he thinks fit to appeal to it, and divert the public odium from himself to her. Can this be suffered? rather let me ask, Can it be prevented otherwise than by appeal­ing to Arundel? And yet what horrors ago­nize my heart, when I reflect upon the dan­ger [Page 120] of that measure! Alas, my friend, this disappointed, desperate man thirsts for his blood; my fatal preference dooms him to the assassin's sword; I am the murderer of Arun­del.

This is the diabolical plot, which that wretch has been hatching in his journey into Kent; Heaven forbid I should say my father is an ac­complice in it, truth compels me to own that he is the willing dupe of it. To what pur­pose then should I be silent towards you, or you towards Arundel? for if it comes not to his ears through my channel, it will through my father, who affects to credit it; it will be char­ged upon him by that monster, who avows it and provokes me to reveal it.

Were any one but myself the reporter of it to Arundel, how would he be assured of my entire rejection and abhorrence of the false­hood? Silence might give him a suspicion that I was base enough to doubt, whereas I am prepared to give him full, compleat and unequivocal proof of confidence, by making common cause with him, and throwing my­self resolutely into the arms of the very man whom they accuse: yes, Arundel, be this my [Page 121] refutation of the charge! thus let me defend the slandered character of an innocent parent! No other cause could justify me to myself for such a step, but this makes disobedience vir­tue; in the defence of innocence my spirit rises to a pitch, that emulates even thy heroism, my beloved Jane!

Can the daughter wed with the corrupter of the mother? this is their language. My na­ture shudders at the thought—Be this the test then of my confidence in Arundel! I will stake my soul upon his truth: Can I depose more strongly to his innocence? Oaths may be given for purposes, friends have been perjured for friends; but who ever drew such horrors on their head, as I now invoke on mine upon the issue of this falsehood? Glaring as hell it­self must be the lie, that I would at such peril refute.

Exert yourself for a friend, whose heart is rent with agonies; consult your noble bro­ther; devise some means for preventing the ef­fusion of blood, dearer than that which flows from my afflicted heart; say to Arundel that I am ready to escape with him to that asy­lum of fond fugitives, which till now I ne­ver [Page 122] dreamt of resorting to: let him not delay a moment, but come in secrecy to London; our marriage will stamp the lie upon Sir George; there needs no more to blast his story. Arundel as my husband has answered his accuser fully; there can be then no appeal to the sword; the world will hoot the villain as he passes; he will stand upon perpetual re­cord a liar confuted and confest.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXV. Lady Jane S. to Lady Louisa G.

I HAVE no words, that can express to you my indignation against that monster Re­vel, my feelings for the injured Arundel, or the just encomiums which are due to your he­roic, generous conduct.

To the letter I inclose let me refer you for the grateful sentiments of a man, whose whole soul is yours: it seems to me as if he did not [Page 123] feel the venom of the accusation, so trans­ported is he with the proof of your acquittal of him, of your confidence—Oh, generous Louisa—of your unshaken love.

If ever truth and honor inhabited the hu­man heart, it is in Arundel's they dwell, un­spotted, uncontaminated.

My gallant brother perfectly adores you: his noble blood is all on fire; and though he is my dearest hope on earth, I am proud to lend him to the cause of Arundel: I see him inlist in his service without a sigh, and I glory in the zeal and ardor of his friendship.

They are gone forth—let me adjure you by the most earnest entreaties not to torture your too feeling, anxious thoughts, with ima­ginary terrors; be patient, stifle all enquiries whither they are gone, and what they are about; put up your prayers to the Avenger of all wickedness; confide in him and he will bring it to pass.

I have a pacquet of papers sealed up and committed to me by Arundel, which, if occa­sion requires, I am bidden to deliver into your hands.

It is at the joint request of all parties that I [Page 124] remain here under the protection of Lady Treville, who kindly consents to stay with me; Captain Arundel, with Mr. Mortlake, now make up the reliques of our late happy family.

It was on the consideration of my abiding here that the veteran consented to remain be­hind. His admiration of his beloved Lady Louisa rises to enthusiasm; he raves as loudly in your praises, as in the execrations which he vents against the wretch who has disturbed our peace; on him he pours a torrent of con­tempt, expressed in such an unintelligible, ri­diculous medley of sea phrases, that it is scarce possible to keep my countenance, though the few ideas to be collected from them are not always of the cleanliest sort.

Mortlake, the mildest of all Heaven's crea­tures, is for ever occupied in qualifying his fury, or consoling my anxiety: his pious and pacific nature argues thus—An honest man will never want the means of detecting false­hood and exposing a liar, without resorting to those violent measures, which wear the com­plexion of revenge rather than of justice. If I hold up a villain to the world's contempt, it [Page 125] is all the punishment a villain can receive on earth; but if I call him our, and put my cause to the arbitration of the sword, and if he boldly answers to the call, I set a var­nish on his crimes to screen him from con­tempt, and the world, whilst it acknowledges his resolution in the contest, forgets or par­dons the guilt that puts it into action.

These are arguments which Captain Arun­del would just as well comprehend if they were delivered in the Hebrew language; and accordingly he answers them, as he would an enemy at sea, who hailed him in an un­known tongue—from the mouth of his guns. These again are as unintelligible to the pa­cific controverter of his opinions; for, being uttered in a language not to be found either amongst the living or the dead, they cannot reach the intellects of Mortlake, who mo­destly retreats in silence from the field, and leaves it to the louder disputant to spend his fury in the desart air.

For my part, though I have all the feelings of my sex about me, I would not wish these generous friends to act but as they do; for whilst I must in conscience admit the truth of [Page 126] Mortlake's argument, I cannot bring my heart to disapprove of Arundel's spirit.

May Heaven watch over them and you! My more than ever dear Louisa, farewell.

LETTER LXXVI. Arundel to Lady Louisa G. inclosed in the above.

THAT the same assassin, who attempted my life, should now attempt my reputa­tion, I can well believe; and perhaps, if the malicious falsehood had been only aimed at me, contempt had been its proper refutation; but when a crime of the blackest dye is fabri­cated by a villain, for the purpose of fixing it upon the spotless character of a defenceless absent Lady, and the husband of that Lady is so grossly credulous, or else so wilfully cruel, as to give his sanction to the tale, can I, her only advocate, desert her cause? Will even thy arms, generous Louisa, shelter me from [Page 127] disgrace? Can cowardice find an asylum even in Paradise itself?

The informer, if such a person exists, who pretends to have been an eye-witness of a meeting, which before God I solemnly de­clare never did take place, must be called for, and confronted: in that case Sir George Re­vel will be no otherwise responsible than for the fidelity of his report, and for an explana­tion of his motives in stopping the letter, an action despicable and mean upon the face of it. But if Sir George will not, or cannot, pro­duce his informer, the charge rests upon asser­tion, and can only be answered by assertion; for where the person calumniated cannot con­fute the calumny by proving the negative, no­thing more seems to be in his power but to give it the flattest and fullest contradiction.

And now what language can I employ to give expression to my gratitude for your une­qualled generosity? With what devotion I adore and love you, my life and not my lips must prove. That you are confident and that I am conscious of my innocence, is a re­flection that will arm me against all dangers; but the world hath its demands upon me still; [Page 128] the honor of your injured mother, my own, and (what is dearer than my own) your ho­nor, my adored Louisa, calls upon me to stand forth in its defence and vindication. Let that happiness, which you generously tender to me as present and immediate, be my future prize and reward, when truth shall have triumphed over falsehood, when the de­famer of virtue shall have received his me­rited chastisement, and when it shall be in no one's power to say that I clandestinely took refuge in those arms, whose earthly bliss, like that of Heaven itself, is only to be earned by perseverance, sufferings and trials.

Farewell, thou all that is amiable and ex­cellent! Heaven only knows how dear thou art to

ARUNDEL.

LETTER LXXVII. Arundel to Captain John Arundel.

OUR noble friend, Lord S. has had two fruitless interviews with Sir George Re­vel. He will not, nay I am persuaded he cannot, produce the informer; he is himself the author and contriver of the calumny.

As for the intercepted letter, it is so se­condary a matter, that Lord S. no longer dwelt upon it, than served to represent the meanness of the transaction.

It was demanded of Sir George, if he would accompany my friend to the house of Lord G. recapitulate the charge in his pre­sence, as he pretends to have heard it from the mouth of the informer, meet the evidence which Lord S. was provided with for refuting the falsehood of the charge, and upon that proof acknowledge himself to have been mis­informed and deceived.—He would accede to no one particular of this proposition; he abided in his belief, he retraced no one item [Page 130] of what he had said, he would not produce the informer, he repented not of having inter­cepted the letter, but repented only of having ever in time past made an apology to a man, whom it would have been a merit to have sent out of the world, before he had com­mitted such crimes as render him unfit to re­main in it.

You, my dear uncle, whose heart is the seat of honor, can readily suggest to your own thoughts the alternative which must follow. My noble friend has fulfilled this part of his commission as ably and as honorably as he had done the former part of it. A few days absence from England will set us upon ground, from which not even the royal au­thority can interdict us. The name of Arun­del was not committed to me to be disgraced in my keeping; nor shall the malice, envy, falsehood of this wretch escape my vengeance: the vindication of a lady's character, whom cruelty has exiled and malice defamed, the refutation of a most infamous attack upon my honor, and through me upon yourself, upon the memory of my deceased benefactor, upon all who wear, or ever did wear, the name of [Page 131] Arundel, are now at issue; and if the weight of wrongs like these, if the justice of a cause like mine, cannot edge my sword and animate my heart, what can? They do, my gallant uncle, doubt it not; fear not for me; your own blood beats in my veins; I have your heroic image in my mind's eye, and I depart secure of conquest.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXVIII. Sir George Revel to the Earl of G.

I AM just landed at Oftend upon a little tour of pleasure, where I am to have the honor of meeting a certain friend of your's on the confines of the Austrian territory, to settle a small matter in dispute between us, that can't so conveniently be adjusted upon Eng­lish ground.

I do not forget an apostrophe in one of [Page 132] your Lordship's letters to me, whereby you lament your disability by age and rank from taking personal vengeance upon Arundel: from that moment I adopted your revenge, and, having once given him a taste of my sword, I mean now to give him a full meal of it.

Sir John Macarthy More, an officer in the Emperor's service and my approved good friend, attends me on this trip; a better man, whether as second or principal, never stept into a field. The young Earl of S. accompa­nies Arundel; and, in spite of all his blushing honors fresh upon him, let him look well to himself; he will not have to deal with Spa­niards in this business, nor will he have barri­cades to screen him.

The gentlemen are gone forward to their rendezvous, and have left a note to say they shall have nobody in their suit but a surgeon and valet de chambre. I shall send Sir John before me to mark out the ground and agree upon preliminaries with the noble Earl.

The sword is to be our weapon—happy choice for me! His Scottish Lordship was [Page 133] nationally precise in measuring our respective weapons: if a workman is to be known by his tools, I must confess that my antagonist sent me a respectable sample of his art; it should be the instrument of a master: but where can this academic have studied that noble science in its best school? Conceited pedant! he little knows with whom he has to deal: he rushes desperate on his own destruction; few hours and short remain for him ere he shall be food for worms.

When next I write to you, this upstart fa­vorite of fortune, this emancipated dependant, who arraigns your Lordship in the senate, forces you from the helm of the state, seduces your revolted wife, and even shakes the alle­giance of your wavering daughter, shall be no more.—So much for Arundel!

Farewell.

LETTER LXXIX. Arundel to Captain John Arundel.

IT is as I predicted; justice hath struck the blow: the affair is over, and Sir George Revel, desperately wounded in two places, can scarce be said to survive.

The spot our seconds made choice of for our meeting was about a mile from the Au­strian barrier, in the center of a small grove, not above a hundred paces from the road-side, where we left our carriages in waiting, with a servant in each, none but our respective se­conds and surgeons accompanying us to the ground.

It was between five and six in the morning when Lord S. and myself arrived upon the ground; and in less than a quarter of an hour Sir George appeared, with his friend in the Austrian uniform, and a foreign regimental surgeon.

When we were within a few paces of each [Page 135] other he stopt, and I took off my hat to him, which he returned in like manner with his, throwing it, however, behind him to some dis­tance at the same time. Seeing him do this, I took for granted he was getting himself ready to set to without loss of time, and there­upon began to strip myself to a linen waist­coat; when addressing me by my name, he cried out—Hold a moment with your leave; I desire the true grounds of my quarrel with you may be understood: you are a rash, pre­sumptuous young man; and it is to chastise your arrogance in aspiring to be my rival with Lady Louisa, that I come hither: as for your connection with Lady G. I have no concern with that but as it serves to give you an interest with her daughter; and to convince you that I scorn to draw my sword in the sup­port of an untruth, I now tell you, that the deposition of the footman is a fiction.

As soon as he said this, I called upon my friend Lord S. to take notice of his words and remember them. I speak them for that very purpose, replied he; his Lordship is welcome to make what use of them he sees fit: I take away no lady's reputation; I dis­dain it.

[Page 136]Certify what you now say, and give it me under your hand, I exclaimed, and I am satisfied.

No, Sir, answered he, it is for the vin­dication of my own character, it is for the honor of truth, I say this, not for your satis­faction: I have made one apology too many already, and you shall never have another from me: I am not come so far to make a childish business of it; I am determined to correct your insolence, and assert my own su­perior claim to Lady Louisa; slight measures won't serve me: your temerity has chosen a weapon I am master of; that, and only that, shall now decide upon our lives and our pre­tensions.

Having so said, he threw off his coat and waistcoat, and both drawing our swords at the same instant, we advanced upon each other as men determined to conquer or to die.

He did himself no more than justice i [...] what he said; he was indeed a master of his weapon, and, having some advantage of the higher ground, pressed upon me so fiercely, and at the same time kept so strong a guard, that I found it necessary to give back for a [Page 137] while, and wait his onset on the defensive. In this way I continued to foil him so fre­quently, that he began to lose his temper; which Sir John Macarthy More observing, called to him to fight more coolly; for which he was taken up pretty smartly by my friend the Earl of S. who warned him to be silent. At this moment, with a vehement oath, he made a home-thrust at my breast, which I contrived to pass over my shoulder, and in the instant pushed my sword through his body, closing in upon him with the same motion: he reeled with the blow, and in falling caught hold with his left hand and pulled me to the ground upon him: I held fast of his right wrist, so that he could not use his sword, which he struggled to recover from my gripe. In the same moment I heard the clashing of swords over my back as I laid upon the body of my antagonist, and found our seconds were engaged; I sprung upon my legs, and quitting hold of Sir George, whom I believed to be expiring, ex­tricated my sword from his body, and rushed between them. His surgeon now ran up to him, thinking him to be dying; but he [Page 138] raising himself nimbly on his legs, called out to him to be gone, and I had by this time parted our seconds: Sir George Revel once more attacked me with the fury of a desperate man in his last moments; his countenance was horrible, he yelled with agony and fought like one that was frantic, whilst the blood spouted from his wound; still there was dis­cretion in his madness, for his art had not de­serted him to the last, and his attack for a short time was more dangerous than ever: I com­manded myself so far as to spare him upon two or three openings, for I wished not to give him another wound; but self-preservation put me upon other measures, and coming suddenly within his guard I lodged my point in his right breast, passing it clear through the flesh of his sword arm and pinning it as it were to his ribs; his weapon dropt from his hand, and he fell backwards on the ground at his length, crying out, he was killed.

His second ran to him and supported him till the surgeon came up: he discharged great­ly from the mouth, and then closing his eyes fell back and as I thought in that moment expired. I intreated, I implored Sir John not [Page 139] to think of renewing any disagreement with my friend, and that more blood might not be spilt upon a quarrel that, by the evidence of the dying man, which he himself had heard him deliver, might have been atoned for with­out these fatal consequences. I called upon Mr. L * * *, my surgeon, and requested him to give his assistance to the dying man; this he very readily complied with, and the foreign surgeon soon discovering how much more ex­pert he was than himself, resigned the chief part of the work to him, and acted rather as an assistant than principal, applauding him in very high terms all the while. The opera­tion was indeed like magic; the sluices were staunched, the wounds were bound up, and a reviving cordial was administered almost at the same instant: the wounded man opened his eyes, and gave signs of coming to his senses.—I conjure you, Sir, cried Mr. L. on your life do not attempt to speak, or stir; be perfectly quiet, and I am not out of hope to save you.

My chaise let down at the back and had conveniencies to serve as a litter, which my friendly surgeon had contrived for me in Lon­don: [Page 140] on the mattrass we laid Sir George Revel, and so conveyed him through the little grove to the chaise in waiting, our valets as­sisting us in carrying him. Whilst this was in operation we discovered a good deal of blood on the sleeve of Lord S.'s right arm, and upon examination found it proceeded from a slight puncture in the flesh. This also my surgeon dressed upon the spot; and now Sir John Ma­carthy More, perceiving that his sword had wounded him in the scuffle, gallantly cried out—The great God forbid that I should draw blood from the veins of a British officer whilst I have life: give me your hand, my sweet boy, and may you live to fight your country's bat­tles and conquer like a brave fellow as you are; for by my faith and soul you have ene­mies enough and to spare (the devil fire them all) without my turning against you.—Lord S. readily shook hands with him, and thus to my great satisfaction a reconciliation took place between them.

When we had placed Sir George Revel in the chaise, we had two miles to the next vil­lage, and the surgeons seemed to think it doubtful if he could bear the carriage so far. [Page 141] There was a house within sight, at the bottom of one of the avenues in the grove, where we fought, which by its situation and appearance seemed to belong to the owner of the place, and as it was so near at hand Mr. L. advised us to apply for admission there, as no time was to be lost. Sir John Macarthy More im­mediately mounted one of our servants horses, and in a few minutes returned to tell us, that he had succeeded in obtaining a reception for the wounded gentleman and his surgeons, but that the lady of the house recommended it to me and my second to get within the barrier as fast as we could.

As Sir George's danger was so pressing and his surgeon very anxiously solicited the assist­ance of Mr. L. I consented to release him upon his assuring me that no harm could be­fall Lord S. whose wound was perfectly safe and would want no dressing till the next morn­ing, when at farthest he would not fail to be with us; having appointed therefore our place of meeting in the town of —, Lord S. and I drove off in Sir George Revel's chaise, leav­ing him in mine to the care of the surgeons [Page 142] and his friend Sir John, who slowly proceeded with him down the avenue towards the house.

Being now safely lodged at Ostend, and by the blessing of Providence unhurt, except by my anxiety for Sir George, I send this to you by express, hoping that it will set your mind entirely at rest, especially as I can assure you Lord S. is in no manner of danger from the wound in his arm, which though slight pre­vents him for the present from using his pen: we shall wait the event of a day or two, and then set out for England.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXX. The Earl of S. to the Earl of G.

THOUGH I write with difficulty, having a slight wound in my right arm, I gladly make the effort, to inform your Lordship, that Sir George Revel, before he entered into ac­tion with Mr. Arundel, declared in my hear­ing [Page 143] voluntarily and explicitly, that the informa­tion he pretended to have received from Lady G.'s footman, respecting an interview between her Ladyship and Mr. Arundel, was a fiction.

This declaration I myself heard, and though the hopeless situation of Sir George Revel af­fords little chance of his living to repeat it, I pledge my sacred honor to your Lordship that I am a witness to its being made; for the truth of which I may appeal not only to the party accused, but to Sir John Macarthy More, who was present as Sir George's second, and Mr. L. who accompanied my friend as his surgeon, and whose character and integrity are well known to your Lordship.

Justice has decided for Arundel, who has conquered without a wound.

LETTER LXXXI. Lady Jane S. to Lady Louisa G.

I SEND you a copy of Arundel's letter to his uncle, which will inform you of the successful termination of an affair, that has, I hope, been kept secret from you till the receipt of this.

What a dreadful punishment has fallen on the head of that injurious, desperate man, Sir George Revel! Society will have nothing to regret at his death, and yet I cannot help wish­ing for his recovery, if it were only in consi­deration of Arundel, who no doubt will be greatly pained at sending an unprepared, im­penitent being out of the world.

How will your heart alternately be filled with terrors and with transports, whilst you read this narrative! Amidst its feelings for your own beloved hero, I persuade myself you will feel a sympathetic emotion of pity and applause for mine also, whose generous blood has flowed in the service of his friend.

[Page 145]I am sure there is a passage in the inclosed, that will give you peculiar satisfaction; I al­lude to the acknowledgment, which that un­happy wretch made before he began the com­bat: this I think will be admitted by Lord G. himself as decisive for the exculpation of your injured mother, and if there is nothing strikes you in the narrative as improper for your father's eye, which I presume there is not, you will have a fair opportunity of vindicating a parent's character, and doing justice to an innocent man at the same time; but of this you are the best judge, and no doubt will go­vern yourself as time and season may accord with circumstances.

It is now sunshine and fair weather once again in our little circle: the brave old seaman has strove to put a good countenance upon the time since his nephew's absence, but in spite of all his blustering many a deep sigh found its way, and a heavy cloud upon his brow betrayed the inward sadness of his soul: the joy of his heart now overflows at his eyes, and he is for ever conning over his nephew's letter: he has got a company of the farmers together in the steward's parlour, and is at this moment sitting [Page 146] in a cloud of tobacco, carousing over a huge bowl of punch and entertaining them with sea stories and adventures, whilst the house echoes with their jollity.

Not so Mortlake; his pious transports are directed to the supreme Dispenser of all bles­sings, and the joy he feels on Arundel's safety is tinctured with a strong concern for his re­sponsibility on Sir George Revel's account, whose lamentable situation he deeply commi­serates.

Every day, every hour the character of this extraordinary young man rises in my esteem.—But I repress the volubility of my pen, and wait till the happy intelligence of your health and peace of mind put the spring in motion.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXXII. Lady Louisa G. to Lady Jane S.

STRONG indeed must be your nerves, my dear Jane, to copy such a narrative as you have inclosed to me; mine yet tremble with horror at the perusal of it.

What a savage animal is man! how fero­cious in his wrath! how bloody in his resent­ments! how terrible even in his death!

I am haunted by a spectre horrible to look upon: I see the figure of Revel gashed with wounds and besmeared with blood; his coun­tenance is deformed with rage; he stares frightfully upon me, and his dying yells ring in my ears. On the other hand I see Arundel, like a commissioned angel in the act to punish, striking him to the earth; benevolence beams from his eyes, he gives the blow of justice with reluctance, and drops a tear of pity on his fallen foe.

What I have suffered in the dreadful inte­rim [Page 148] since the receipt of Arundel's letter in­closed in your's, words cannot utter: my agonies were such as to alarm and melt my father's heart; his care of me has been tender in the extreme; he endeavoured to delude me out of my apprehensions, but in vain, the op­pression that weighed down his own spirits was too visible to escape my notice; it sufficiently informed me what was passing in his own mind; the dreadful business in operation hung upon his conscience: in his heart I am sure he acquitted my mother even before the con­fession of Sir George Revel put her innocence out of doubt.

You will start when I tell you, that in the anguish of my soul I disguised not any of its most secret affections, but avowed my love for Arundel openly and without reserve in his hearing—and he heard it not with patience only, but with pity, with complacence—I de­voted myself by the most solemn vows to me­lancholy, to despair, to death itself, if Arundel survived not the impending conflict. I ex­posed to my father's sight the letter I had received from him, and I made no scruple to declare the offer I had desperately tendered [Page 149] him of a clandestine marriage: the horror which my father felt at this proposal was con­verted into admiration, when he perused the letter, wherein Arundel so honorably declines the offer.—This man, cried he, compels me to admire him.—These words were as a signal to my eager spirit to break forth; the torrent of my passion forced its way; I wept, entreat­ed, threw myself before his feet upon my knees, and called aloud on Heaven for its protection to Arundel, for its vengeance upon his mur­derer.—In this instant arrived a letter from your brother to my father, which announced the completion of my prayers; the cause of justice was triumphant, innocence was rescued from danger, guilt devoted to death; Heaven's hand was visible; my grateful heart was over­powered by the vouchsafement, it paused in reverence of the awful presence; I sunk upon the floor and fainted in the effort of adora­tion.

And now, my Jane, do you demand of me if I sympathize with you in pity and ap­plause of your heroic brother? Oh! from my soul I love him.—May victory attend him ever! May same crown him with laurels, [Page 150] fortune enrich him with spoils! and for the generous blood he shed for Arundel, it is as dear to me as the drops that fell from my sad heart, the fountain of my life is not more pre­cious.

Dear to me also is that other thunderbolt of war, that boisterous son of the ocean, brave old uncle John; nature has made him of pre­cious materials, though of rough workman­ship; in antient time, I am told, our sea officers were in general such as Captain Arundel is now; the modern class, of which your noble Archibald is a bright example, are more courtly and no less courageous.

As for that piece of human excellence, who, being your Mortlake, is mine also, he seems born to put complainers out of countenance and shew the world how pure a man may be. That you have gained a treasure in his heart I can well believe, that he will meet a blessing in your arms I am perfectly assured: how the world may think fit to comment upon your choice will little concern you, when you have turned your back upon its vain and foolish opinions; if I thought that choice would be less happy for its being humble, I should [Page 151] think you had made a sacrifice to the pas­sion of the moment, but I know your nature is superior to ambition, envy, avarice and every sordid propensity; I join with your be­loved Earl in every trait and description of your character, and subscribe my warmest wishes to his for your speedy union. Your's is a spirit of activity and fire, it does not deal in delay; convinced of his love for you (and how indeed should that be doubted?) you must dis­sipate his timid diffidence, and condescend to copy the example of a spirit far less heroic than your own, that of your poor trembling Louisa, whom fear made bold, and love in­spired with resolution to offer her free heart to Arundel. You are now as it were alone with Mortlake, every hour you have him in your eye, opportunity courts you, and the time is your own: are, there no sequestered walks, no shady groves, ‘No haunts propitious to the voice of love?’ Sure they would spring spontaneously where Arundel inhabits. Where is the spot, in which you met him honoring my poor resemblance with his flattering contemplation? that spot [Page 152] must surely be auspicious to a lover; at least for friendship's sake, if not for love's, select it, so may we date our happiness from the same individual lot of earth.—Oh Jane! should that be so, should Heaven consent to bless me also with the object of my soul's fond affection, I will pay that turf a tribute of my gratitude, I will ornament it with an edifice, and, as my love almost amounts to idolatry, I will indulge its superstition with a temple, where the Or­phean hand of Romney shall make the very walls alive, and by the animating touches of his creative pencil consecrate the fabric to Im­mortality.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXXIII. Lady Jane S. to Lady Louisa G.

BEGIN your temple without loss of time: Mortlake and I have consecrated the spot to love, and nothing is wanting for the cere­mony of laying the foundation-stone but the presence of the patroness.

Let us rear our fane according to the chaste simplicity of antient Greece; let us keep the established orders to the purity of their text, without any modern interpolations, and, to make them correspond to the characters of the happy pair, whose union they record, let the manly solidity of the Doric support the female elegance of the Ionic.

Give your favorite painter an ample and unbroken area for the display of his genius; and, as the temple is to be sacred to connubial love, let him take the fable of Psyche and her various labours for his subject, consummating the whole with a magnificent composition of [Page 154] the wedding ceremony. Remember I bargain for a dome, as well for the painter's lights, as for the solemnity of the edifice; and in a sa­cristy apart from the fane let me have the pourtrait of my Louisa, simple, unadorned, Caecilia-like, breathing harmony and inspiring love. I recollect some lines addressed to the celebrated artist we are speaking of, by a hus­band as instructions for the pourtrait of his wife, which, till Arundel supplies you with better, may serve the present purpose, with the simple transposition of a name—

Remney, thy chastest tints select to trace
The matron beauties of Louisa's face,
Dip thy bright pencil in caerulean dyes,
And animate the canvass with her eyes;
Paint, if thou can'st, my kiss upon her cheek,
Give her a voice and bid the pourtrait speak;
Catch her dear image from a husband's heart,
And draw her pure and faultless as thy art.

To confess the truth to you, I had once begun to think that there was no such thing as love in my nature: I had been often flattered by young men and sometimes pleased, but I never liked any one well enough to suffer pain for [Page 155] his sake; no admirer ever broke my rest by night, or spoiled one meal in the day by over-occupation of my thoughts: now Mortlake on the contrary absolutely starved me into a liking for him; a wild cat would have been tamed by the discipline he gave me; I should have died of mere inanition in a few days, if I had not made him sensible of my case: but how to do this has been the task; for the creature has none of that forward intuition, which many of our fashionable sparks have in such prematu­rity, that they pretend to spy out a lady's ma­lady before she sickens: he is so humble, so diffident of his own skill, that I despaired of making him even understand the symptoms; how then, my dear Louisa, could I expect a cure?

Some days went over my head before I could fairly talk down this same empty title of mine, which stood like a proud porter at the door of his lips and never let a word make its passage, that did not pay the tax which form and ceremony exact: at last with much pains and labour I got a tack to my title, and he began occasionally to say—Dear Lady Jane: on that hint I spake, and I kept more than pace with his [Page 156] familiarity by repaying him with—My dear Mr. Mortlake.

I had a kind of commission going on at the parsonage, and we held frequent councils there in affairs of taste; we rambled together all over the garden, though it was not always to super­intend the works that we went thither; some­times the boat, instead of carrying us across the stream, wafted us down to new scenes, where the prospect tempted us to moor our vessel and make excursions into the country; here our talk became tender and confidential; we interchanged the stories of our lives, which, though not marked with extraordinary inci­dents, drew our hearts nearer to each other, and began to throw reserve aside: wherever shade and solitude invited us to a temporary repose, I was commodiously weary and we sate down together to rest ourselves: nature has a thousand modest methods of explaining herself in these interesting situations; the veriest no­vice in love will fall upon them instinctively, and there wants no comment to the language of the eyes: certain it is we lost no ground by these baiting-places, and it is my opinion we should have made a tedious journey of it with­out them.

[Page 157]I am now coming to the consecrated spot, where your future temple is to arise; there is a hanging grove, which flanks the current of the silver Medway; here the bank is steep and lofty, and there is a kind of rough alcove shaped out of the cliff, wherein is a matted bench, which some of Arundel's predecessors have maliciously embowered with flowering shrubs, which so invitingly surround it as to make it a perfect love-trap. From this very seat your Arundel, I make no doubt, was re­turning, when we surprised him within a few yards of it, though we did not at that time discover it; but as he has not yet put up a board in the suburban stile to warn unwary in­truders against men-traps and pits, which the foot of curiosity may fall into, poor Mortlake and myself, as any other undesigning souls might have done, wandered heedlessly into the midst of it, thinking no harm, and behold there we were caught! The river glided silent­ly at our feet, the breeze wafted odours and the birds chaunted their own festive hymeneals around us.

This is a delicious retreat, said Mortlake, you seem weary with your walk; the sun is [Page 158] hot, will you rest yourself in this shady seat?—I saw my danger, but I am of a family, you know, not much given to fear, so I accepted the challenge, and entered in nothing doubting: I sate down on the matted bench, whilst Mort­lake respectfully continued on his feet; 'twas an awkward arrangement, and methought we did not converse with ease in our different at­titudes; it was selfish withal, so I invited him to sit down beside me; now this spiteful bench was rather stinted in its measure for two sitters, unless they were very close friends indeed; in making room for him we were tumbled toge­ther I know not how, and I saw his cheeks suffused with blushes: to divert his emba­rassment, and perhaps in some degree to re­lieve my own, I began with an affected air of indifference to start a conversation about his affairs at the parsonage; they seemed to have slipt his memory, I am not sure he just then knew whereabouts the parsonage stood: I talked about the disposal of the furniture, which he had referred to my taste, and began to fit the chambers one by one; I might as well have talked to him of the chambers of [Page 159] King Solomon, his ideas could not stir a step beyond the matted bench.

Why you are lost, my friend, cried I; What are you meditating upon? He sighed and turned his eyes fondly upon me. I had my an­swer without the cost of a word. Ah, Mort­lake, said I, you have something at your heart, which you will not confide to me.—It is not fit I should, he replied: send me for ever from your sight, but pity me and for­give.—He was silent; his agitation affected me, it communicated itself to my heart, I could not speak to him: he rose from his seat, and seemed hesitating if he should not leave me; I gave him a look, 'twas not a dis­couraging one, and he sate down once more by my side—You do not treat me with your na­tural sincerity, I said, you do not hold me worthy of your thoughts.—Ah, Madam, he replied, the thoughts I entertain of your Lady­ship are such as my tongue cannot find words expressive enough to give utterance to; I know too well my own unworthiness to dis­course on such a subject, and I respect your delicacy too much to attempt it; meditation, [Page 160] however, is a privilege the humblest of man­kind may enjoy, and though my looks may too visibly betray what passes in my heart, yet I hope you will not think I transgress against respect, whilst I adore at humble distance and abstain from words.

If you only flatter me with your eyes, I an­swered, such flattery will not be serious to either of us; but if your heart approves of me, I trust you do not think me proud, mercenary or ambitious. Of these bad qualities I hope I have acquitted myself in part at least, to your conviction, for Sir Adam Crichton is ex­tremely rich, and I am very poor; he is noble withal as far as birth can ennoble him: Do you think then my ambition aspires yet higher? You think rightly; it aspires to character, to understanding, to the true affections of a vir­tuous heart, on which I may repose my hap­piness; and that once found, what is the world to me?—Loveliest and best of all Hea­ven's works! he rapturously exclaimed, and dropping on his knee clasped both my hands in his; Oh pardon me, he cried, I know not what I do; my passion is my master; you are too noble to despise an humble creature at [Page 161] your feet, who doats upon you even to distrac­tion.—Here his voice faultered, his head dropt upon my knees, he hid his face between my hands and I felt the tears gushing from his eyes.—Rise, rise! said I, and meet a heart as fond, as tender as your own.—Oh Heaven! he exclaimed, and falling into my arms, which were opened to enfold him, we sealed our faith with an embrace, which love inspired and honor sanctified.—Yes, my Louisa, these were joys indeed; even now I feel the throbbing tumult at my heart; Silence and Solitude, the friends of Love, were all around us; Dissimu­lation, Avarice, Ambition dared not to pro­phane the hallowed spot. Come then, come hither with thine Arundel, here interchange your vows, and on the twice-consecrated ground erect the altar of connubial Love!

And now have I not obeyed the instruc­tions in your last interesting letter? Your com­mands have precipitated my advances; but let me tell you with what joy I see your pros­pect brighten, as your father relents; the courage, truth and generosity of Arundel must triumph at last; may your next meet­ing be speedy and propitious! Should a [Page 162] happy reconciliation take place, of which I have some joyous presentiments, call to mind our mutual engagement to be present at each other's marriage; fulfil your promise, if it be possible, and grace your humble friend upon her nuptials: if form will not allow of your be­ing Arundel's guest, we have an apartment at the parsonage, which I flatter myself you would not be displeased with. Am I quite romantic to build any hopes upon this wished-for favor? Heaven grant I may be speedily called upon to repay it! Your destiny, my lovely friend, will then devote you to a sta­tion, splendid as affluence can make it, where you will have room to exercise the generous virtues you possess: it would afford me un­speakable delight to have you take a view of these enhanting scenes, which long to hail you as their mistress. Oh! that your father would indeed relent. How happy we might be! we should then live within the horizon of each other's prospect, you, as becomes you, in a lofty palace, we in a private mansion, de­corated by your bounty, and reflecting chear­fulness and grateful smiles upon our benefac­tors.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXXIV. Arundel to Charles Mortlake.

THOUGH Lord S. will be the bearer of this, who will give you the particulars of what has passed since the date of my last letter to my uncle, I cannot excuse myself from writing to you, as it is probable I may be detained in town some days to come, and I have something more to say than can well be conveyed by word of mouth.

My return to England was retarded by the anxious desire I had to wait the event of Sir George Revel's wounds: I thought his case without hope, but I have now left him in a promising way to find his cure from the hand of time and the great skill of Mr. L. who has consented to stay with him some time longer.

By one of the most extraordinary incidents chance ever produced (if indeed it ought to be ascribed to chance) it so happened that the house in the wood, to which he was conveyed [Page 164] from the ground we engaged on, was the very house, to which that virtuous exile Lady G. had retired. I have not seen her nor had any correspondence with her by letter, but I learn from Sir John Macarthy More, that an old lady, the widow of a certain Baron Polberg, who was an intimate of her father's, is the pre­sent owner of that house and a small estate, which lies about it: with this lady she has kept up an occasional correspondence and done her many friendly offices since the death of the Baron; to this retirement she betook herself in her distress, and with this old lady she boards, living in the strictest privacy, and totally sequestered from all other society.

When Sir George Revel was brought in wounded and expiring, she generously exerted herself for his relief, and, superior to all mo­tives of resentment, furnished him with every thing her care and assiduity could contribute towards his comfort and accommodation. It is to the credit of human nature that Sir George was not insensible to these acts of benignity, and in token of his repentance seized the first moments in his power for dictating a full re­cantation of the charge he had laid against [Page 165] her; this he addressed to Lady Louisa, and transmitted to me by the hands of Sir John Macarthy More, accompanied with a note, of which the following is a copy.

Sir George Revel transmits to Mr. Arun­del a paper addressed to Lady Louisa G. which he desires him to peruse for his own satisfaction before he presents it to that lady; he hopes this acknowledgment, with the pain and danger he is now suffering, will atone for all injuries.

With this pacquet Sir John delivered me a verbal message from Lady G. desiring me to hasten my return to England, and assuring me every thing in her power should be done for the recovery of Sir George Revel; having made a suitable reply to this message, and writ­ten an answer to Sir George's note, Lord S. and I set out on our return.

Upon our arrival in London Lord S. was so good as to call upon Lord G. to explain to him the purport of the paper I was charged with from Sir George Revel, and to know from his Lordship if I was to have the honor of delivering this paper to Lady Louisa with my own hands, or not. Lord G. said he could [Page 166] hardly suppose a visit in his house would be very agreeable to me: to which my friend re­plied, that as the whole of a very infamous proceeding against me jointly with Lady G. was now laid open, to his Lordship's full and perfect satisfaction, he must take the liberty to remark, it was but reasonable for me to ex­pect some such acknowledgment on his part, might assure me of his suspicions being done away, and quiet my mind on a subject, which had exposed me to so much unmerited danger and disturbance. Lord G. very rea­dily admitted that such an acknowledgment was due to me, and that if I required it as an act of justice, as such he could have no ob­jection to comply with it; but he doubted if Lady Louisa was well enough to leave her chamber. An hour was then appointed for my coming, and Lord S. returned to me with this report.

I was punctual to the time, and was imme­diately admitted to his Lordship; who re­ceived me courteously, but with a good deal of embarassment in his manner. He was alone, and apologized for Lady Louisa, who was too ill to leave her chamber. I delivered [Page 167] Sir George Revel's pacquet into his hands, tell­ing him it had been sent to me under a flying seal, and shewing him Sir George's note, wherein he desires me to peruse it, and deli­ver it to its address. He was pleased to say, that such a deposition to the truth could not fail to be considered by him as a full and compleat exculpation of the parties, whom that unhappy man had so unjustly accused. It was a foul transaction, of which he should say the less, as the guilty person had so dearly atoned for it. With respect to his Lady's conduct, he confessed that her hasty escape out of England, and the secrecy she observed on that occasion, had been staggering cir­cumstances in his opinion; and he owned it put his credulity to some stretch to believe that the choice of a spot so near her residence, and the conveying the wounded man to the very house itself, were merely the effects of chance.—In answer to this, I assured his Lordship in the most solemn manner, that I was never once consulted in the choice of the ground, which was pointed out to Lord S. by Sir George's second, who was a foreign offi­cer, [Page 168] and well acquainted with the country; that for my own part, I had not the most dis­tant guess at the place Lady G. had chosen for her residence, before this event happened; and that neither myself, nor Lord S. on my behalf, had ever seen Lady G. entered her house, or corresponded with her, since my leaving England till the present moment; and though the incident he alluded to was indeed a very extraordinary one, yet I must observe to his Lordship, that Providence oftentimes takes means as extraordinary for the vindi­cation of innocence and the detection of guilt. In this light I regarded the meeting of Sir George Revel and his much-injured Lady, whose humanity, extending itself even to her worst enemy in his distress, wrought a happy change in that enemy's heart, by turning it to repentance, and drawing forth a confession most seasonable for her justification and his Lordship's repose. Sensible that no one, who had so abused your confidence, I added, could with any face aspire to your Lordship's alli­ance, Sir George Revel has very properly understood his situation, by withdrawing all [Page 169] pretensions to Lady Louisa, which is the pur­port of the letter I have had the honor to de­liver to you.

Mr. Arundel, he replied, whatever terms you and I may be upon now or hereafter, yet on this occasion I desire you will once for all receive my full and unreserved declaration, that I give perfect credit to your veracity and honor; and I rejoice withal that you are re­turned in safety and unhurt.—For this I thanked him, and declared myself perfectly satisfied.—He then demanded if I was leaving town; and upon my saying I had some busi­ness at the Admiralty on my uncle's account, which might detain me a day or two, he was pleased to answer, that he was glad of it, and hoped it was a promotion to a flag, which his gallant services so richly merited. This was also very courteous on his part, and I ex­pressed my sensibility for his kind expressions, informing him that I had strong reason to be­lieve that promotion would take place.

Lord G. now took up the pacquet I had delivered to him, and observed, that as I had apprized him of the contents, the matter did not so press but that I might make my own op­portunity [Page 170] for giving them in person to Lady Louisa; and to confess the truth, says he, I have used a little deceit in not informing her of this meeting, fearing that her spirits were not in a proper state to undergo the agitation it would give her: I will therefore inform her of your arrival, and she shall let you know when she is prepared to expect you.

I requested him not to return Sir George's letter to me, but to give it to Lady Louisa in my absence, as it would be a more delicate time for her to peruse it at her leisure; and I gave him my most grateful thanks for the confidence he reposed in me, by allowing me to hope for the happiness of paying my re­spects to Lady Louisa in person.

He very handsomely replied, that he did not think he should ever repent of any confi­dence he reposed in me, having received so strong a proof of my very honorable con­duct towards his daughter, in an affair which she had confided to him, and for which he held himself very seriously indebted to me.

I stared with astonishment at these words, which seemed so evidently to apply to a cer­tain proposal I thought myself bound to de­cline, [Page 171] but which I could not have believed Lady Louisa would have had the resolution to disclose to her father; and I own I augured very inauspiciously from her so doing; but the behavior of Lord G. was either very arti­ficial, or most extremely encouraging, for we parted with smiles of complacency, and a promise on his side that I should very soon hear from Lady Louisa when she would re­ceive my visit.

What can this mysterious behaviour por­tend? What am I to expect from this visit, sanctioned as it is by the authority of her father? Hath my declining her proposal been so misunderstood in its motives, as to have ex­cited her resentment against me, and brought her to despise me for my want of spirit? That would be hard indeed; I ought not so to judge of her; and yet how else can I ac­count for her disclosing it to her father, but as a peace-offering on her part, and a thorough renunciation of me for ever? Oh! Charles, my heart is tortured by suspense: I am in agony till my fate is decided.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXXV. Sir George Revel to Lady Louisa G.

PROVIDENCE having so directed it, that I should owe the little hopes I have of life to the humanity of the person whom I have most cruelly injured, I eagerly embrace the first return of my senses to exonerate a guilty conscience, by confessing to your La­dyship, that the stories which you have heard reported from the evidence of Lady G.'s ser­vant, are falsehoods, fabricated for the disin­genuous purpose of detaching your affections from my late antagonist Mr. Arundel, to whose innocence this acknowledgment is no less due than to your noble and virtuous parent.

This declaration is entirely voluntary, and I freely made it on the field before we began the duel, which has justly proved so fatal to me. Mr. Arundel would then have acquitted me, if I would have consented to what I am [Page 173] now doing; but jealousy and resentment had hardened my heart against a rival happier and more worthy than myself, and my passion would not suffer me to listen to the plea of justice: presuming on my skill, I meditated to destroy him, but the hand of Heaven turn­ed my purpose against myself.

I now lie expiring, as I believe, on the bed which your mother's charity affords me, with one wound through my body and two others in my breast and arm, the agony of which is not half so racking as those remorseful horrors that afflict my mind. Tortured in my exit out of this world, and trembling for my entrance into the next, those horrors would be insupportable, had not the same injured excellence, whose hand reaches the cordial to my lips, administered the like cordial to my soul, by assuring me of her forgiveness.

Lest it should be suspected by any one that Mr. Arundel had a hand in appointing me to this spot, as knowing it to be the place of Lady G.'s residence, I do solemnly assure you, that he had no voice in the appointment, and that the place of our meeting was pitched upon by my second Sir John Macarthy More, [Page 174] from his knowledge of the spot, and acceded to by the Earl of S. on the behalf of Mr. Arundel, without any privity or suggestion on his part.

If what seems so impossible to my expecta­tions, should nevertheless come to pass, and by the favor of Heaven I should in course of time recover from this deplorable situation, it will be long before I shall revisit England. Many years must elapse and long absence from the scene of my disgrace must intervene, before the wounds of my mind can be healed after these in my body have found their cure: banish from your memory therefore the very name of Revel, and give your father my Lord G. to understand that the defamer of his wife is too sensible of his own demerit, what­ever he may think of it, ever to aspire to be the husband of his daughter; and though the ungenerous wound I once gave Arundel is, I trust, atoned for by these I have received from him, yet the injury I have attempted to do him in your thoughts, and the justice due to a virtuous and elevated character, compel me in conscience to declare, that the man whom I had devoted to death, as being loved by [Page 175] you, is of all men living the only one who truly merits that most happy distinction.

I dictate this to my friend Sir John Macar­thy More, and sign it with my own hand in presence of your noble mother and Mr. L. who is known to you; a very honorable man, to whose skill and humanity I am infinitely indebted: they are privy to the contents, and will witness the authenticity of them. Sir John will carry it to Mr. Arundel, who is now at —, and has remained there ever since our affair, without one visit to this house. To him it will be communicated, and by him as I hope delivered into your hands.—May Heaven in him reward and bless you!

Farewell for ever.

LETTER LXXXVI. Lady Jane S. to Lady Louisa G.

I SHALL now give my dear Louisa the conclusion of my life, character and beha­vior; then recommend myself to your prayers and prepare for execution.

My brother came down to Arundel-house this day before dinner. If I was writing a novel and not a history, I would give you a pathetic description of our meeting and em­braces, in which I would float my page with a flood of tears, that should almost threaten a second deluge.

Though my lover and I had come to a perfect understanding with each other, I had reserved myself for the arrival of my brother, without letting the old Captain into the se­cret; and as for his discovering it by the vir­tue of his own sagacity in love affairs, there was not a chance on the tables; I never saw a creature so commodiously blind, deaf and incurious in my days.

[Page 177]Some sisters, in my dependant situation, would have been in a fine puzzle how to break a matter of this sort to some brothers, on whom their dependance rested; but I had no such difficulties to encounter with mine, and if I had, still I should have taken no other method than I did, which was naturally to tell him in a very few words that Mortlake and I had agreed upon a marriage.

Very well, said my brother, you have done right to please yourself; and upon my soul, Jane, I give you credit for a good eye; for I don't know a finer young fellow in all Eng­land.

Pooh! replied I, don't be ridiculous; do you think I chuse by the eye?—No, no, re­turned he, Mortlake is a very honest, worthy lad withal, and one I shall be proud to call my brother-in-law. May I die, if I think you could have chosen better in the three king­doms; so there's an end of that; the next thing is to set you up in the world with some­thing to live comfortably upon, and we must go to the Spanish dollars for that; the Dons, many thanks to 'em, have provided you with a dower.

[Page 178]Hold there, my dear generous brother, I replied, you and I shall not agree upon that bargain; I must not forget, if you do, that the Earl of S. will require more to maintain him than the parson's wife, and such I intend to be to all intents and purposes.—But the brats, said he, must have something to main­tain them, and there'll be no scarcity of them, Jane; I can't carry them all out to sea with me.—Well, replied I, the girls cannot be poorer than their mother was, and if the boys are but as brave as their uncle, they'll fight through the world I warrant 'em.—Aye, and conquer it too I hope, he cried, before they have done with it: but all this is nothing to the purpose; I shall say no more to you upon this subject; brother Mortlake and I will set­tle that affair between ourselves. You have nothing to do but marry as fast as you can, for Captain Arundel and I shall be brushing out again very speedily, and I would fain see my dear sister safe moored before I loose the foresail.—So saying, the noble youth tenderly embraced me, when before my heart could give a vent to the grateful sensations with which it glowed, the call of the old Captain [Page 179] broke up our conference, and summoned us to the dinner-room.

There was something so pointedly engaging in the manner with which my brother took Mortlake by the hand, when he joined the company, that it told more to my feelings than a volume of fine speeches could have ex­pressed: I remarked the effect it had upon Mortlake, and I am sure his feelings sympa­thized with mine; joy glistened in his eyes; all passed in silence, but where's the poet that can find words for what that silence ut­tered? Oh! how I detest a chattering fine-spoken sentamentalist: give me the mute elo­quence of the heart; that only is the genuine language of love and benevolence.

After dinner Lady Treville, knowing that all things were well understood between my brother and me from a hint I had given her, and loving at her heart, as you well know, a little good-natured mischief, began to ques­tion Mortlake how his preparations went on at the parsonage, observing that it was much too good a house for a single man, and that it would now behove him to look out for a wife.—This was hint enough for my brother, [Page 180] who immediately closed in with it by saying he would answer for Mortlake that he would take a wife of his recommending; upon which the old Captain loudly declared that he would venture a wager he named the lady, for that it could be none other than the gunner's daughter, which it seems is a cant phrase for a dozen lashes at the gun.

It is what I should have well deserved for my presumption, said this amiable young man, (his face covered with blushes) if ambition had any share in my affections, or if I could have been daring enough to have grounded a hope upon that charming condescension, which though I could not chuse but admire, I was not so bold as to approach.—What is the man talking about? cried the rough old seaman, I can't make out a word that he is saying.—I don't know how you should, said Lady Treville, for he is talking about love.—No, no, answered he, that hook won't hold, my Lady; I know too much of love to believe that; love is a damn'd noisy, quarrelsome companion; the Doctor there is as meek as Moses; love is all talk and bluster, storm and tempest; I have been in love myself, and it [Page 181] always sets me a swearing, because, do you see, it throws me out of my course and puts me upon t'other tack; now Mortlake keeps on his way fair and easy; nobody shall make me believe he is in love.—Perhaps some of the company may be of a different opinion, re­plied she; for instance there is Lady Jane; I'll refer the case to her.—With all my heart, cried the captain, Lady Jane knows bet­ter things; I'll be judged by Lady Jane.—Agreed, answered the good lady, who so fit to decide upon Mortlake's passion, as she who inspires it?—Come, my dear Jane, added my brother, give sentence upon your friend.—My sentence, I replied, will be passed upon myself, for if he does not love, I am of all women most miserable.—Mortlake was sitting next to me; he sprung from his chair, seized my hand, and pressing it to his lips with an animation that even startled me—Then I take Heaven to witness, he cried, that my soul doats upon you; my heart beats with love that cannot be uttered; I do but live whilst you approve of me, and every moment of my life shall be de­voted to gratitude and love for the unspeak­able blessing you have bestowed upon me.— [Page 182] That's right, cried the hearty old Commander, the man's as mad as a March-hare, I give it up, I give it up; I don't say but what he is in love now, but I will stand to what I did say, that he was not in love before. Egad! Mort­lake, thou art an honest fellow, a lad after my own heart; if you could be in love with that charming creature and in your senses at the same time, I would not own you for a man: I told you all I knew what love was, and here's my lady would have persuaded me out of my senses: by the Lord Harry but I'll make the dollars jump for this! My dear, dear boy, he cried, addressing himself to my brother, I hope all this is to your good liking.—To my very heart's content, replied my be­loved brother.—Then about she goes! roared out the old blade, a health to the happy cou­ple! Harkye, Mortlake, do it justice, and I will stock your cellars for your life to come. Damn it, Archey! you and I took the Dons in the nick of time; aye, boy, and we'll have another brush amongst them; thank God, we need not go far to find an enemy. Come, wheel it about! (taking a full glass in his hand) my dear, dear Lady Jane, you must let [Page 183] me love you like a child of my own, like my own dear Archibald, like my own boy Frank, (why the plague is not he here at this mo­ment?) May all happiness befall you! may you be blest in the arms of an honest man! for you are a noble, generous, lovely girl, and I adore your spirit for throwing off that pig­tailed puppy with his pouch full of money, and taking this worthy fellow with a round curl and a black coat, but a heart that is worth all the mines of Peru.

This is but coarse stuff, you will say, but it is honest, and has served to hurry me out of all my embarrassments, and now I have no­thing to encounter but the eyes of Arundel—Oh send him to us, with the fires of love and joy sparkling in their brightest lustre! but if you would compleat the wish, come with him yourself, then where in all the world shall there be found a circle of such happiness as our's?

The grotto awaits you: Mortlake and I do not fail to visit it, and this evening I rambled thither by myself; I had not long reposed myself in this enchanted spot, before the self­same sybil, who accosted me under the tree of [Page 184] Fergus, visited me again in this distant soli­tude, and with somewhat more of the poetic fury in her voice than the cold region of the North had inspired her with, chanted forth the following stanzas:—

Fast by the Medway's silver tide,
Beneath the woodbine's fragrant shade,
Love's roving god by chance espied
A rustic grot, and thus he said—
" Hail, Grot! so silent and so sweet,
" Impending o'er this glassy stream,
" Be henceforth thou my favor'd seat,
" Propitious to the lover's theme!
" Here if the modest youth assays
" With faultering lips to move the fair,
" In the cold damsel's heart I'll raise
" A pity that shall grant his prayer.
" Here if the stubborn maid shall spy
" The melting tear his cheek bedew,
" I'll launch an arrow from his eye
" Shall pierce her proud heart thro' and thro'.
" Then wild and raging all amain
" With her tormented bosom's smart,
[Page 185]" Save me, she'll cry, oh, ease my pain,
" And draw this arrow from my heart!
" He with fond arms encircling round
" Shall press her to his faithful breast,
" And the same hand, that gave the wound,
" Shall lull its agonies to rest."

LETTER LXXXVII. Charles Mortlake to Arundel.

THAT partiality, which you pronounced upon in its infancy, has exceeded your warmest predictions: Lady Jane has verified the character you gave her, and those atten­tions, which I thought could only be the effect of a little female vanity, I now perceive sprung sincerely from the heart. Could I suppose that so much beauty, youth and vivacity, such high pretensions as she derives from rank, fa­mily and condition, could ever condescend to the humble lot in which I am placed, and bid [Page 186] adieu to all the pleasures, all the pride of life? I must have had an unreasonable share of pre­sumption to have thought of her any other­wise than I did: but after you and her brother had left us I confess to you there were open­ings enough in her behaviour to have inspired a man of less diffidence than myself with very flattering hopes. Our walks were longer and more frequent, she was industrious to find out the most solitary places, and our conversations became more serious and particular: for a time indeed our mutual anxiety in your ab­sence allowed of no reflections but upon the dreadful errand you were engaged in; we did little else but mingle sighs and sorrows, and neither party was qualified to act the comforter to the other: as soon as the joyful tidings of your safety arrived, though qualified with some little terrors for her beloved brother, our spi­rits revived, and as this was followed by further accounts, which set her mind at ease about Lord S. our happiness was without alloy.

Anxious as I was to know my fate, I am satisfied I should never have found resolution to declare myself, had not her encouragement, conspiring with a most tempting opportunity, [Page 187] in a manner extorted it from me. It was then very awkwardly brought out with so much trepidation and terror, that it is my wonder how she could understand me; but her gene­rous heart disdained to make sport of my weakness, and she had too much pity for my painful struggles to indulge herself in prolong­ing them: in short, my dear Arundel, I am confounded by my own good fortune, and scarce believe the blessing I am possest of: the gallant Earl of S. has ratified his sister's hum­ble choice with a liberality, which we found it difficult to reduce within the bounds of mo­deration; Lady Jane is surely the most disin­terested as well as the most amiable of Hea­ven's creatures; she says my income is affluence she has never been accustomed to; she has laid down a plan for our domestic oeconomy with the greatest precision, and formed her little establishment of servants upon the scale of our moderate circumstances with every attention to our future comfort and content. She has superintended every thing that is going for­ward at the parsonage, and in furnishing and fitting the house, as well as in the directions she has given about the works you put in mo­tion [Page 188] without doors, you will find she has been a frugal manager of your unlimited generosity. The library is now compleated and a charming room it is; there are four excellent bed-cham­bers, and two with little dressing-rooms and closets attached to them, all furnished with the greatest neatness and simplicity. Her heart is set upon seeing Lady Louisa at our wedding, which only waits your return to be fixed for an early day. I am afraid to say how much I wish to see you, lest I should provoke your friendship to comply with my desires at the expence of engagements more important and more interesting to your own immediate hap­piness.

Oh my dear Arundel, when shall I hear that Heaven has turned the heart of that obdu­rate father, who is now the sole bar to your happiness with your lovely Lady Louisa? Is there no hope of her complying with the wishes of Lady Jane? Alas! I fear it is in vain to think of it. Time and patience will bring all things round; Providence has done wonders in your favor already; continue to deserve its bounty, and there is no doubt but you will be blest.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXXVIII. Arundel to Charles Mortlake.

SOON after I had dispatched my last letter, which left me in the utmost anxiety of mind, I was surprised with a visit from Lord G. I was alone and had fallen into such a gloomy train of thoughts, that I could not meet the sight of him without the greatest tre­pidation, possessed as I was with the idea that he was come to pronounce sentence upon my hopes; but when he drew forth a letter from his pocket, and told me he was commissioned by Lady Louisa to present it to me, methought I should have fainted at the instant; it seemed as if the smile with which he delivered it was put on by malice to give a keener insult to my feelings, and holding it unopened in my trem­bling hand—My Lord, said I, if this letter, which you have given me, contains the fatal sentence, which must extinguish the faint hope that hardly glimmers in my breast, I do be­seech [Page 190] you let me hear it from your lips, and spare me the agony of a perusal, which will throw me into such a situation, as the bitterest enemy could not contemplate without pain and pity: if my offences against you and my presumption in aspiring to Lady Louisa's fa­vor, deserve the punishment of a contemptu­ous refusal, for the honor of humanity do not aggravate that punishment by taking on your­self the office of a tormentor, and feasting your eyes with the agonies you inflict.—Upon my word, Mr. Arundel, replied he, I am not privy to the contents of that letter; I have simply the honor of being her Ladyship's messenger; but I am free to confess to you that it is an honor I should have declined, if I could have supposed myself the bearer of any unwelcome news to you, for I come hither with a heart very thoroughly disposed to make peace, and if you will break the seal of my commission, I shall be very much mistaken if it does not tally with my wishes.—I opened the letter, and immediately cast my eye upon these trans­porting words—

Welcome, my beloved Arundel! I wel­come you with a transport of joy which I [Page 191] am privileged to express to you. My fa­ther, who is your convert, will be the bearer of this; you triumph every way, and my fond heart is the easiest of your conquests; despise it not however, but come to me without delay; I die to see you; Heaven be praised for its protection of my Arundel! Again I tell you come to me, come with­out delay, or you do not know what it is to love like your

LOUISA.

My transport overpowered me; I could not speak; I could not restrain my tears; I threw myself at the feet of Lord G. He raised me in his arms and tenderly embraced me—Thus let us seal our peace for ever, he cried; hence­forth let us be son and father! Louisa is your own.—He would scarce suffer me to make him any reply, much less to endeavor at ex­pressing all my sensibility on this transporting occasion: I dare say, he cried, Louisa's letter is a very eager summons, and you are no less eager to obey it; and yet I am disposed to tres­pass on your attention for a very few minutes, whilst I account to you for the sudden revolu­tion which you discover in my mind towards [Page 192] you; and for this you are in the first place in­debted to Louisa's honorable sincerity, in con­fessing to me that she had gone the length of offering you a clandestine marriage; I own to you this was a step, which I never apprehended she would take, having passed her word to me against it, but when no other means appeared to her of preventing your duel with Sir George Revel, in the extremity of her distress no won­der if duty, and even honor itself, could not hold out against a superior passion, and if any means appeared lawful to preserve a life so dear and so invaluable to her: I therefore ac­quit her, but at the same time I very highly respect you for the noble manner in which you declined her proposal; but when I further understood that Sir George Revel had revoked his charge, of which I was first informed by Lord S. and read the letter you brought to Louisa, which by so full a confession on his part entirely does away every shadow of sus­picion that could remain in my mind, with what justice could I any longer hold out against you, or pretend to exercise that right in Louisa to your disfavor, which I owed singly to your honor and forbearance? No, Mr. Arundel, [Page 193] even though you had been without excuse for your public opposition to me, which to my shame I must own is not the case, yet under such circumstances, injured as you had been by the falsest and basest accusations, assaulted both in life and reputation by an assassin whom I blush to think was fostered and adopted by me, unexceptionable in your family, fortune and character, master of the affections of my daughter in the most honorable manner, and backed with the most zealous approbation of her mother, what sort of man, or rather mon­ster, must I have been to have opposed myself to such pretensions? You have therefore free and unreserved access to my Louisa; write to her, visit her, pursue the dictates of your af­fection; I cannot doubt your honor, my con­fidence in you is established upon proof, and, as you are in absolute possession of the daugh­ter's heart, I trust you will not refuse to be received into the father's.

No, my Lord, I replied, it is a tender which I accept with gratitude and will endeavor to deserve, but I am so confounded with my good fortune, that I am in the state of a man, who is hastily awakened from a dream, the impres­sion [Page 194] of which he cannot speedily shake off, nor recover senses enough to discern the objects that surround him; I scarce believe my hap­piness to be real.

Trust me, Arundel, he replied, you will find no friend so zealous as a converted ene­my; and now he began to make enquiries about my stay in town, and whether I would accom­pany Lady Louisa and him to Spring Grove. To this I answered, that I must go down to Arundel House, to take leave of my uncle John and Lord S. who would soon be ordered out to sea, and who were there waiting with Lady Jane S. and old Lady Treville, in hour­ly expectation of my return.

His Lordship admitted the sufficiency of my plea, and with a kind of slyness in his manner, asked what was to become of Lady Jane when her brother went to sea: I smiled at this and said, I doubted if I was at liberty to answer his question. Come, come, said he, your secret is not worth keeping; she is going to be married out of hand to your friend Mortlake; you think yourself mighty cunning, but for once I am beforehand with you.—Then said I, Lady Louisa is a tell-tale; [Page 195] I have just received a letter from Mortlake, and she, I suppose, has had one from the bride-elect.—She has so, replied he, and a strong de­mand upon her at the same time, on the score of an old promise, to be present at her wedding; but how is this to be performed? A country parsonage is seldom very capacious, though I am told you have made this quite elegant; and as for Arundel House, I suppose you would not admit Louisa and me into that for the world.—My Lord, answered I, you are de­termined to overpower me with your kindness and condescension.—I would willingly try if you will have better luck in your own house, Arundel, than you have had in mine: hither­to I think you are indebted to me for no­thing but assassinations, duels, and calumnious charges: let us see if we cannot repair these miscarriages by a peaceful meeting, and a pleasant party at Arundel House: make me known to your gallant uncle; let me be ac­quainted with this lucky friend of your's, who is carrying off one of the finest and liveliest young women of the age in the face of all the fine men of rank, fortune, and fashion, who [Page 196] would never think of taking orders to make their way with a handsome girl of high dis­tinction. Who in the name of wonder would suppose the church to be the road to preferr­ment of that sort?

I cannot wonder at your Lordship's ques­tion, as you are not acquainted with the person and qualities of my friend Mortlake, and per­haps take measure of Lady Jane by the gene­ral standard of her contemporaries: but if you will fulfil the hopes you have given me, by honoring me with your company at Arundel House, I do not doubt but a very short ac­quaintance with the object of her Ladyship's choice will convince you of the superior good sense she has shewn in making it.

Well, says he, let us go and try our joint interest with Louisa, to persuade her to this journey; if she acquits herself well as bride­maid, it will be a good kind of rehearsal be­fore she performs as principal; but remember I condition for the violin; give me music and I will not interrupt your love; feed my ears well and I shall not quarrel with you for the rest of your entertainment; you are but a young [Page 197] housekeeper, and I condition against being fêted; postpone that till Louisa presides at your table, and then we shall know whom to blame, if the establishment is not according to form and order.

Now therefore, Mortlake, announce this to your soul's better part, tell it to the whole worthy circle, let them share in the felicity of your friend; I shall follow this letter close at the heels, yet I write, because even moments should be anticipated, when they are charged with tidings of such joy. Whisper my good housekeeper in the ear, and let her set her brooms and mops in motion; press forward the works at your own house with vigour, and incense the chamber that is destined to re­ceive you to the arms of your beloved.—Oh Charles, Charles! what will become of you and me! can we outlive our transports? We have not lowered our constitutions to that cold blood, which the stale hackneyed sensualists of this voluptuous town reduce themselves to; we never wasted nature's genial fount, never unstrung her bow, nor to the loathed embrace of harlots prostituted our manly vigour; even our hearts will offer up their maiden oblations [Page 198] to the respective goddesses of their idolatry: we never loved before; hereafter we shall ne­ver cease to love.

I shall send down express the best Piano­forte I can purchase; I am determined also to hang the late Lady Arundel's dressing-room and bed-chamber afresh for my divine Louisa to repose in; for this purpose I shall dispatch a small squadron of nimble artists from hence, who will decorate it in a trice; the bed, to which those heavenly, those enchanting limbs are to be committed, shall not be quite unwor­thy of the jewel it encases; I will keep it sacred and untouched till she revisits again; I will kneel to it, as before a consecrated altar, and there I will offer up my prayers to Heaven for bles­sings multiplied upon her head.—Oh, Heaven and Earth! what raptures have I been now receiving! she loves me, Charles, beyond the power of love to speak of. Lord G. (for which kind act may my grateful lips ever bless and praise him!) sent me up alone to her chamber; I found her all impatience, ecstacy and love; she sprung with open arms to my embrace; passion like her's disdains reserve, a soul so noble spurns at all the petty forms of [Page 199] coy dissimulation; words had disgraced her feeling, tears were her better eloquence and transports my more flattering welcome. How long I held her in my arms, let those, who could have numbered moments so employed, declare; I cannot guess at time, in which my senses were entranced: upon her unresisting lips I sealed my gratitude, I left my soul.—At length she murmured out—Oh, Arundel! no more! support me to my chair: I bore her in my arms; the nerves of Love are strong as the Nemaean lion's nerves; I placed her on the seat, then threw myself upon my knees, and with my arms around her waist supported my almost lifeless charmer, hanging her sweet head and drooping like a lily. When her spirits had in some degree subsided, and she began to recover, she drew forth a locket richly set, containing her own miniature, to which she had affixed a ribband, and began to fasten it round my neck; I suffered her to complete her work, then clasping her hands and pressing them with the present they con­tained to my grateful lips, smothered them with kisses.—I now gently solicited to know when I might be blest with the divine original. [Page 200] —This day, this hour, this instant, she repli­ed; but now contain yourself; be prudent for my sake; if it be possible, I love you but too well. Come, talk to me of some more quiet subject; but not a word of your affair beyond sea; my heart cannot bear it; tell me about Mortlake and my charming Jane; dear girl, how I adore her! There is a heart, my Arun­del! I am sure the object of her choice de­serves her; I know he is possessed of every manly, virtuous, and engaging quality, be­cause he is your chosen friend; I therefore boldly pronounce him worthy of his happi­ness; but why do I anticipate a pleasure I am so soon to enjoy? I am coming down to visit you: shall I be welcome, Arundel? I think you will not turn me from your doors.—But I might ramble thus for ever, and I have al­ready said enough to satisfy you of my hap­piness. If I write more I shall be with you before you can have read my letter through.

Farewell.

LETTER LXXXIX. The Countess to the Earl of G.

AS the solitude, to which your discarded wife has retreated, is by an extraordinary chance now become known to you, I think that you should also know the motives for my coming hither.

Whilst our wishes for the disposal of our daughter in marriage were so opposite to each other, and you suspected me of taking an ac­tive part against Sir George Revel, there ap­peared to me no step so likely to remove those suspicions, as totally to seclude myself from all communication with my family.

When I thus broke from the dearest tie in nature, and sacrificed to your repose the ten­der affections of a mother, I fondly thought I might escape your censure, though I did not flatter myself with the hopes of your approba­tion: but I was not suffered to remain in quiet oblivion; even in this solitude I was still to be the mark and butt of malice; a new accusation [Page 202] was started against me by an unhappy man, who has dearly atoned for his injustice. I took my accuser into my house covered with wounds, and at the last gasp of life: the com­punctions of a guilty conscience, the terrors of impending death, and gratitude for my un­merited attentions, conspired to produce that confession, which I hope has reached your hand, and brought such conviction with it as you can no longer withstand.

I have now a claim upon your justice for restoring me to my family, from which you cruelly expelled me, and if this is in your me­ditation to do, I must plainly tell you, that so long as you persist in excluding Mr. Arun­del, you exclude me. If I am innocent, can he be guilty? The same atonement is due to both, and I reject every offer of reconcile­ment which does not include him. Husbands have been known to pardon guilty wives, and many have received a penitent offender into their family again, but pardon is not so readily extended to the partner of their guilt, and no man lives who would contaminate his blood by marrying the daughter to the sedu­cer of the mother. Let this then be the test [Page 203] of my innocence, and your compleat persuasion of it: bestow your daughter upon the man she loves; by one generous act you will give happiness to your child, bring a blessing on yourself, make a friend of him whom you have injuriously treated, and heal the wounded heart of a wife, who returns to you on these con­ditions, or returns no more.

LETTER XC. The Earl to the Countess of G.

I HAVE received your letter, and you are obeyed: Mr. Arundel has this day ob­tained my full consent and approbation for as speedy a marriage with our daughter as cir­cumstances will admit; his conduct has been, in all respects, that of a man of perfect honor; and in making this sacrifice of my private re­sentments, I have done no more than I ought to do upon conviction of my being the first aggressor, with this aggravation of the affront [Page 204] I put upon him, that I then regarded him in the light of a dependant.

I flatter myself you will not doubt that an acknowledgment like this can only be the re­sult of a strict self-examination, and to this I am now indebted for a serenity of mind and temper, which I never before experienced.

The savage attack Sir George Revel made upon Mr. Arundel, in consequence of what passed at Spring Grove, and the unjust grounds of that bloody rencontre, which took place between them, wherein your reputation was traiterously attempted, could not fail to open my eyes to the real character of the man whom I so zealously and blindly abetted. The dread­ful chastisement his guilt has received from the hand of Arundel, the very extraordinary inci­dent of his being carried at the point of death to your house, and the confession which the terrors of his situation in that crisis extorted from his conscience, are all events combined, as it should seem, by the very hand of Hea­ven, and the reflections they have awakened in my mind have effectually turned it to the truth. I now see your innocence, I feel your sufferings, and I detest myself for the cruel [Page 205] wrongs I have done you. As the character of Sir George Revel sinks upon the review, that of Arundel rises in my esteem: Can I then re­fuse my daughter to such a man, supported too by such an advocate as yourself, and beloved by Louisa to a degree beyond example? Could I have held out against her love, against your solicitation, and against his merits, I had been indeed obdurate: add to this, that such is now his establishment in point of fortune, reputa­tion and pretensions of all sorts, that I shall be found to have consulted our daughter's inte­rest in this match not less than her happiness: his family is of the noblest in the kingdom, and the best recommendation I can give of my own is, that it has in times past branched from the root of the Arundels.

All this while here is the gallant Earl of S. his friend and second, who in point of pedi­gree would not vail his bonnet to the Bour­bons, sees his sister Lady Jane bestow herself upon a country parson, and applauds her choice: young Mortlake, Arundel's intimate, is the happy man; he is settled in Arundel's own parish, who has established him there in a very good living, and fitted up a parsonage-house [Page 206] for him and Lady Jane, which I hear is one of the most elegant things upon a mode­rate scale in all England. This young bride-elect has been some time with her brother living at Arundel House, and there she com­menced her acquaintance with Mortlake, who has the character of a most amiable and ex­cellent young man. Louisa and I are to be present at the wedding, which is to take place in a few days, and we shall be enter­tained in Mr. Arundel's house: he is setting out for the country directly, and we shall go down a day or two before the wedding, and immediately after the ceremony set out for Spring Grove, where Arundel has promised to accompany us: his uncle John and Lord S. are to set out at the same time to take com­mand of their ships; and thus we shall leave the bride and bridegroom to themselves, which I think is very well planned for their comfort and repose.

I need not attempt to tell you how very much our dear ardent girl is in love with this engaging young man; you know her dis­position well, and can paint it to yourself: much less can I describe to you her agonies, [Page 207] whilst he was absent upon that dreadful er­rand; Heaven forbid I should ever behold her such a spectacle again! nothing you can con­ceive will exceed it. Sure no human crea­ture ever loved as she does. I think two more perfect creatures were never cast in human mould: I contemplate their forms with wonder and delight, and I declare to you I find a sympathetic kind of likeness in their features, which seems to mark them out as destined for each other. It was a transport to behold them kneeling before me, her hand in his, and both their countenances animated with joy and gratitude: I blessed them in your name as well as my own; I raised them and embraced them in my arms; then taking our child by the hand, I desired Arundel to receive her as a pledge of future friendship, never to cease between us. I described her to him as she is, a creature formed in the ex­treme of all that is generous in nature, ardent in affection and benevolent in soul; I be­seeched of him to guard a spirit so open and defenceless from the dangers of a crafty and designing world; to cherish her with his love and counsel her with his understanding. To [Page 208] her I said in few words—Daughter, I have bestowed you upon the man of your heart; remember what is due to his honor, to your own, to mine, to your absent mother's.

In this moment I experienced a new de­light, superior to any I had ever known, the delight of giving happiness to a beloved child. The gratitude of these young people was a passion, that like their love defies description. And now have I deserved your pardon? can you withhold from me that pity and forgive­ness you bestowed on Revel? will you not re­turn to me? In the mean time, as you have made Arundel's marriage a previous condi­tion, I shall expedite it without much regard to the tardy proceedings of the law. I may promise myself not to be opposed by Louisa in this, for I think of all Love's votaries she is the truest. I hope to conclude the affair at Spring Grove in a few days after our return from the wedding of Lady Jane: in the in­terim I send this to you by our faithful old servant Davison, and I pray you to keep him with you, as I am shocked to reflect how poorly you must be waited upon.

[Page 209]Your virtue, my excellent Louisa, has been tried and purified like gold in the fire; my unworthiness of so great a blessing has de­prived me of many happy days, but I am at last awakened to an understanding of you and myself. Whilst the vanity and bustle of office engrossed my worldly thoughts, your modest unassuming character scarce attracted my at­tention; a revolution, which I no longer la­ment, has put an end to all ambitious pur­suits, and left me in a situation more favorable to reflection: henceforth my pursuits shall be addressed to worthier objects, and the first of these will be to regain your good opinion and esteem.

Louisa shall write to you from Arundel House, and send you all particulars. I send you a letter of credit upon the bank of Mess. Puysieux and Co. at Ostend, which you will make use of without limitation, as your oc­casions may require.

I shall be impatient till I hear from you again.

Farewell.

LETTER XCI. Lady Louisa to the Countess of G.

I AM happy in confirming to my dearest mother the happy tidings which my father sent by the conveyance of Davison; every thing which has since occurred convinces me of the entire revolution which his mind has undergone with respect to you and Mr. Arun­del; at the same time nothing can exceed his tenderness and kindness to me.

We arrived at the place, whence this is dated, yesterday in the forenoon: Mr. Arun­del met us on horseback about three miles from the house, and conducted us through his grounds and a fine avenue cut through a noble wood by a private road. This is really a grand place: the park is bold and romantic, the river quite delightful, and the house far beyond what I expected from the owner's ac­count of it. It is old and irregular, but very capacious, and contains some noble apart­ments, [Page 211] which are more striking to me than all our modern elegance. My father is in rap­tures, particularly with a collection of family portraits in the hall and gallery, many of which are by Vandyke and other capital mas­ters, which you know are quite his passion.

Nothing ever equalled the respectful and cordial reception Arundel gave my father; when he met our coach he dismounted from his horse, came up to the window and wel­comed us with the most grateful transports: we presented him our hands, both which he saluted in the manner so peculiarly his own; my father's with a filial devotion, mine with a lover's ardour.

Upon our entering the hall he embraced my father in presence of the company, who had there arranged themselves to receive us: something he said, which I lost in my hurry of spirits, but I heard the words—You have made this a joyful house, my Lord.—Lady Jane S. Lady Treville, and my ever honored Lord S. met us in the hall: if I say that I flew into the arms of my beloved Jane, I scarce exceed the truth; my father seconded me with a gallantry that quite charmed me— [Page 212] I ever admired you, Lady Jane, henceforward I adore you, were the words with which he addressed her.—To the gallant Earl I whis­pered in a murmuring voice—Oh! my Lord S. my heart is too full to thank you: may Heaven reward your generous friendship!—All the world must love Arundel, he replied; you alone deserve him.—We were now usher­ed into a stately old room, fitted with Nor­way oak and hung with pictures, where the majestic figure of the brave John Arundel presented itself to our awe-struck eyes, like one of the colossal heroes of ancient days, or it might be John of Gaunt himself. As Arun­del was leading me by the hand to present me to him, I protest my knees knocked together and my heart trembled within me, for his gi­gantic stature and martial air, with a tremen­dous gash across his forehead, which has no hair to shelter it, would be too terrible to ap­proach, if Nature had not thrown a gleam of benevolence over his countenance, which seems to say to the pigmies of creation—Come near! I will not harm you.—He took my quivering hands in his, raised them to his lips, whilst he stooped to kiss them, and [Page 213] whilst the big tears coursed one another down his manly cheek—God Almighty bless you, my dear Lady, he exclaimed, you are a lovely creature; by the Lord, nephew Francis, she is as beautiful as an angel!—Pardon my va­nity, my dear mother, for repeating his words; I give them to you as characteristic of the man, and tell you things naturally as they passed.

One instance of Arundel's elegant attention to me I must not omit: upon entering the apartment appropriated to my use, I perceived it had been newly furnished for the occasion with silk hangings, disposed in a most brilliant and striking taste, after a fashion which was new to me, being drawn up in folds something like the draperies of a tent; the bed in parti­lar was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. In my anti-room and on my dressing-table there was every thing for use and ornament that art and nature could supply, not forgetting a profusion of the sweetest flowers, which he knows I am so fond of: over the chimney he had hung a most enchanting Saint Cecilia, divinely con­ceived [Page 214] and executed by our Romney; a mas­ter-piece of modern art.

After trifling a little at my looking-glass, and a few repairs, which a dusty journey had made necessary, I came down to the com­pany, and in a few minutes after Mortlake entered the room: Jane's lovely face was scarlet on the occasion; Arundel flew to him, as much to relieve his modest embarrassment as to present him to Lord G. and me, which he did with that graceful sweetness inseparable from his minutest actions, but on this occasion it was peculiarly conspicuous; not a word was uttered by him or me, when we were presented to each other, but the first view I caught of his face opened all the character of his mind: it is a countenance of the most touching cast; it cannot be called an unempas­sioned humility that prevails in it, and yet there is such a sweet and almost feminine submission in his eyes, that you would think no injuries could rouse him; it is in truth the emanation of an angel's mind, and when he smiles it is benevolence itself; his mouth and teeth are exquisite, I cannot praise them more than by [Page 215] telling you they are a counterpart of Arun­del's; his voice soft, tender, and melodious, and an expression in his features as various and changeable as can well be imagined. In short, I give Jane all the credit in the world, for he is elegantly and indeed very finely formed in his person, of a manly make and becoming stature; and when his eyes glanced upon her I was well convinced they were no idle engines in the hands of Love.

That gay soul old Lady Treville did the honors of the table at dinner, which was admirably well served and attended: I never saw my father in such spirits; he was in rap­tures with the old Captain, whom for the fu­ture we are to call by a higher title, for after the cloth was removed, and a health or two was gone round, Arundel presented him with a paper, which announced his promo­tion to a Rear admiral's flag, and at the same time appointed him to take command of a squadron fitting for immediate service, in which the Earl of S. is to have a line-of-battle ship under his old commander. The old lady at the head of the table, with the gallantry of a Frenchwoman, threw her glove [Page 216] to the Admiral, and bid him tackle that to his flag, and beware how he parted with the favors of a lady. It was a fair challenge, and the veteran did not flinch it, for he start­ed from his seat, marched to the head of the table, saluted the old lady and the younger ones in turn, then sat down in great state, and with a loud voice jovially cried out—Now let the enemies of Great Britain keep their dis­tance, for by the Lord I am invincible;—then turning to Lord S. exclaimed—What say you, my brave Archibald? which was accompa­nied with a hearty shake of the hand, and other sea ceremonies and endearments, which I cannot explain. In short he is the life and soul of our circle, but it requires a proper share of nerves to relish his conversation, for he talks as loud as if he was in a storm, and his laugh is a perfect feu-de-joie; he has a thousand sea-tricks which he practises upon Lord S. and a set of jokes ready made for the occasion that I dare say have a great deal of humour in their own language, but to me were perfectly unintelligible. Arundel ma­nages him with great address, but Lord G. is so devoted to him, that he only studies how to [Page 217] please him and indulge his humour. He doats upon Jane and calls her daughter, and in truth has proved himself a father to her noble brother: his generosity to the betrothed couple has already shewn itself in a great cargo of wines and various articles of house-keeping, which has made its appearance at the parsonage.

The afternoon being delicious, we made a little excursion on the Medway in a four-oared wherry, rowed by the Admiral's and Lord S.'s servants, who are of the amphibious sort, and as it should seem part of their crew. The Admiral took the helm and kept roaring to them all the way from behind us, not without a due proportion of such phrases as had novelty at least to recommend them. We cut through the water at a prodigious rate, and as we passed under Mortlake's ter­race it was with joy I surveyed the charming spot, where my fair friend is destined to reside with one of the most amiable of men. We did not land, but returned the more expedi­tiously, as Arundel was impatient to give my father his promised treat of a little music. To-morrow morning we intend to devote to a [Page 218] more particular view of that delicious spot, which Arundel has embellished with so much fondness and with such elegance of taste.

Upon our return to the house we found a room prepared for our music, with an ad­mirable piano-forte, new for the occasion, and put in excellent tune and order by a man sent down from the maker for the purpose: an elegant service of ices and other refreshments was set out. The room, the instrument, Arundel's delightful accompaniment, the joy of heart I then felt, the sight of faces so dear to me, their flattering applauses and my un­common flow of health and spirits, all conspired to call out my small powers to their best advan­tage: Arundel was Orpheus himself, his very eyes were melodious, nothing but harmony was to be discovered in his countenance. We took care to select my father's favorites, and we had the satisfaction to give him pleasure and content by every thing we undertook.

When we retired to our apartments for the night, Arundel took the candles from the ser­vant, who was waiting in the hall to light me to my chamber, and asked me if he might not be honored by that office. My father seeing [Page 219] this, cried out—By all means, by all means, my girl, keep him to his duty. Whereupon I permitted it, and he walked before me into my dressing-room, from which my servant in­stantly retired, and I found myself alone with him.—I cannot behave so ill to you in your own house, I said, as not to ask you to sit down.—He immediately threw himself at my feet—In what words shall I thank you, my soul's idol, for this happy day? Was ever man so honored or so blest? Oh! my Louisa, how shall I deserve this goodness? My heart over­flows with love and gratitude.—I tenderly be­seeched him to arise; I raised him from the ground—Arundel, I replied, my heart is so entirely your's, you possess so wholly every thought, every movement in my mind, and my confidence in you is so unbounded, that I keep no reserve before you: know then there does not live a creature so devoted as I am to my Arundel; for you alone I live; your's only I am and ever will be; you are the unrivalled master of my affections.

Ah, my beloved mother, do you tremble for your fond empassioned daughter? Trem­ble not, I beseech you; his delicacy did not [Page 220] permit him to stay another minute: May all good angels watch over you, he cried! may your dreams be happy! Farewell! I must attend upon your father.

I have now given you a circumstantial jour­nal of our first day. The next morning when we met at breakfast Mortlake attended to con­duct us to the parsonage; the weather was divinely fine, and Arundel and I had had a little walk in the garden, where we had amused ourselves with projecting alterations and improvements: the carriages attended at the door to convey us to the river-side, and we ferried over the stream to a landing-place at the foot of Mortlake's terrace, which brought us by a regular ascent up a very beautiful sawn to the house, which we entered by a glass door, that opens into a library, elegantly fitted and compleatly furnished with books, which I understand is a very fine collection: this is absolutely a most enchanting room, and not the less so in my eyes for containing a half-length portrait of Arundel over the chimney, admi­rably painted by Gainsborough. There are upon the same floor an eating-parlour, draw­ing-room, and a little dressing-room for the [Page 221] master of the house; above stairs are four bed-chambers and two dressing-rooms; Jane's apartment, which she is to take possession of to-morrow (this being the eve of her wedding-day) is furnished with great taste and simpli­city; her dressing-table displayed some elegant tokens of her brother's liberality, and my fa­ther having very kindly desired I would pro­vide myself with some wedding token for my friend, and given me a very handsome sum for the purpose, I left upon the table an en­amelled watch, with chain and trinkers, of the best pattern and workmanship I could pur­chase in London, which the dear girl flattered me by accepting in the most gracious manner: Mortlake seemed extremely pleased with it, and my Arundel above measure. This happy couple are compleatly established by the libe­rality of their friends; they have a small but seemingly well-chosen family of house-servants, and are stocked with every thing without doors as well as within, which can be necessary for their comfort; every thing in and about the house was finished at Arundel's expence; their plate, linen and equipage were given them by Lord S. and the Admiral has stored their cel­lars; [Page 222] they have a very neat and modest post-chaise with a pair of horses, and Jane, who is an admirable rider, has a favorite mare for the side-saddle, which her beloved purchased in the neighbourhood. All these things we saw, not omitting the minutest article; judge with what transport I surveyed this prelude to their happiness, but you can have no idea of the effect it had upon my father. Oh! my dear Madam, he is a new man, and he seems as if he was transplanted into a new world.—Where have I been, he cries, all this while, and what have I been doing? This is happiness; this is the true ambition; what a phantom have I been following!—He observed to me in a whisper, that this was the very house in the world to charm you above all the palaces of the great. Oh that she was here present! added he, and then he declared to me, that as soon as he was blessed with your society again, he would retire to the country, new model his family by reducing the scale, and dispose of his house in town, and, if you approved of it, of his villa also: he is charmed with Mort­lake, and applauds Lady Jane to the skies. As we were walking down the garden towards [Page 223] the river, on our return, he drew me aside to express how delighted he was with the scene of happiness he had been surveying, and what joy it gave him to reflect that I should have such an amiable couple for my near neighbours and inseparable friends; he then asked me if I ap­proved of his requesting Mortlake to come to Spring Grove to perform a ceremony for me and Arundel, which he hoped would take place in a few days. I said that I supposed Arundel would settle that with his friend.—No, no, he replied, you may depend upon it he will not entrench upon the lady's prerogative in that particular, but there can be no doubt of its being a most acceptable choice to him, and therefore with your leave I will make the request both to Mortlake and Lady Jane, the first opportunity I have of speaking to them a­part; I hope they will not much regret the trou­ble of a short journey upon such an occasion: but upon second thoughts, added he, perhaps it is a compliment that in the first place should be offered to Sir Joseph Arundel, though I suspect there is not the greatest harmony in that quarter; however I will consult with Arundel before I take any step in the matter: [Page 224] indeed if my old tutor the Dean had been now living, I know not how I could have passed him over, but his death leaves me free from any other obligations, and by the way, Louisa, I have now a donative to dispose of, which his decease has vacated, that would exactly fit this amiable young man, and being one of those douceurs in the church, which are not attended with the cure of souls, it can in no case detach him from his residence here. What say you to this, my dear? you have all been making wedding presents, may I not throw in mine amongst the rest? Had I been in office I must have attended to the demands of interest, now it is in my power to indulge the impulse of friendship.—Is not this a most pleasing instance of a mind awakened to its genuine sensibility? Can I give you a better proof of a temper happily reformed? Oh! my beloved mother, Providence will repay your sufferings; there is happiness yet in store for you; the hour, I hope, is approaching fast, when I shall press you to my grateful heart and feel the pressure of your fond protecting arms: with what ten­derness did my Arundel talk of you this morning, as we conversed together in our [Page 225] walk before breakfast! It is not in my power to convey to you the one half of what he said with any justice to his sentiments, and if I could repeat his words, it would be impossible to repeat his manner, which is so peculiarly his own. I must not however omit to tell you, that amongst other kindnesses he offered to bring me to you as soon as we were married for the purpose of escorting you home, and I should add that my father has signified his in­tention of coming to you in person, as soon as that event has taken place: tell me, therefore, if it will be agreeable to you that Arundel and I should accompany him on the journey; be assured it will afford us unfeigned pleasure.

I must now bring my journal to a conclu­sion, because I make a point of dating from this place, and our departure is fixt for to­morrow immediately after the wedding, that we may reach Spring Grove before night. Arundel goes with us, and my father brought his coach that we might have his company by the way: when our ceremony has taken place we shall set off for Arundel House.—Oh Hea­vens! my dear mother, my heart palpitates with alarms, which I cannot describe; yet Arundel is tender, there is mercy in his eyes; [Page 226] I love, I doat upon him to distraction; why should I dread what I so much desire? why am I in these terrors?

You know my friend Jane, amongst a thou­sand other agremens, has a talent for poetry; you have seen some specimens of her verses: when I was in Mortlake's library this morning, as my father was expatiating upon the charms of retirement and tranquillity in such a de­lightful spot, Mortlake secretly put into my hand a copy of the following little poem ad­dressed to Solitude, which with great difficulty he had persuaded Jane to let him transcribe.—I give these lines to your Ladyship, said he, assured that you will prize them for the sake of the beloved author.—I send them to you, my dear mother, as I think the general senti­ment is of that moral and contemplative cast, that will harmonize with your feelings in your present solitude.

TO SOLITUDE.
O Solitude! to whose serene abode
The Hermit flies to commune with his God,
Where buried in some deep and silent glen
Shuddering he quits the guilty haunts of men,
[Page 227]With thee and the dear partner of my life,
Far, far from mad ambition's strife,
Here let me dwell a fond and faithful wife.
Nobility, thou empty, borrow'd name,
I leave thee for substantial, self-earn'd fame,
And ye, that on the painted wing
Flutter awhile, then fix the sting,
Ye insect tribe of pleasures gay,
I brush your flimsy forms away,
Be gone, impertinents! you've had your day.
Thou, Solitude, art contemplation's friend,
On thee the rational delights attend;
No gilded chariot haunts thy door,
No flambeaus blaze, no drunkards roar,
No rattling dice, no clashing swords,
No squand'ring fool, no wretch that hoards,
No lordly beggars and no beggar'd lords.
And, O deceitful world! too well I know
How little worth is all thou can'st bestow,
The reputation of a day,
Which the next morning takes away,
The flattery that beguiles the ear,
The hypocrite's fictitious tear,
These thou can'st give, this semblance thou can'st wear.
Temperance shall spread my rural feast,
Content shall be my welcome guest,
No guilty thoughts that shun the light,
No conscious dreams to terrify the night;
Here in my peaceful rustic cell
With thee, calm Solitude, I'll dwell;
Hail, nature's offspring! sons of art, farewell!
At noon I'll walk beneath these spreading trees,
Where honied woodbines scent the passing breeze,
At eve, what time the flocks go forth to graze,
I'll follow where yon silver current strays,
And as it flows, Behold! I'll cry,
Pleasure's fleet emblem passes by;
Pass on, false friend!—we part without a sigh.
Come then, thou pure and sainted youth,
Holy interpreter of truth,
Friend of my soul, my bosom's wedded Lord,
Impart those treasures which thy mind hath stor'd;
By the soft link of nuptial love
Lead me the way that I should move,
And wed me to that bliss which reigns above.

LETTER XCII. Sir Joseph Arundel to his Son.

I HEAR, with equal shame and horror, that you, my son (alas! that I must call you such) have killed a noble gentleman, Sir George Revel, in a duel; your going into a foreign country to evade the laws, which ob­tain in your own, mark the deliberation of the act, and show how unworthy you are to be a member of that legislative body, who should jointly and severally protect the peace and or­der of the state, from which you have made yourself a voluntary outlaw.

I hear withal that your quarrel with the deceased, whose blood is upon your conscience, arose from a vain competition you entered into with him for the favor of a certain noble heiress: great indeed must have been your presumption, and only to be equalled by your absurdity (give me leave to say) when you could aspire to the daughter of the Earl of G. [Page 230] whom you repaid for patronizing you in po­verty by a most virulent opposition to him, when by the wheel of fortune you had been thrown into Parliament.

What notions must you have entertained of your own consequence, when you could pro­pose yourself as a rival to Sir George Revel; and where must have been your senses, when the way you took to recommend yourself to the daughter was by offering insults to the fa­ther?

The bloody triumph you have had may be matter of exultation to you, and your uncle John and other ferocious companions, who make war their trade, and glory in the slaugh­ter of their fellow-creatures; but to me, who am a preacher of peace, it is horrible in the extreme, and it becomes my melancholy duty as a parent to make an effort, however hope­less, for awakening your conscience to a sense of these enormities, beseeching Heaven to turn your heart to repentance and avert the judg­ment, which must otherwise overtake you.

So prays
your unhappy father, JOSEPH ARUNDEL.

LETTER XCIII. Francis to Sir Joseph Arundel.

THAT I have been compelled into a duel with Sir George Revel is true, but that I have his blood upon my conscience is not a fact, as that gentleman is out of danger from his wounds; neither will I believe, were I at liberty to explain all the motives, which neces­sitated me to meet his sword, that even you would condemn me for the consequences, had they been as fatal as you suppose.

Surely, Sir, it is the part of every one who judges another to hear before he condemns, and I humbly conceive that paternal justice is not singly exempt from that obligation; yet I have repeatedly fallen under your sentence upon information only; I shall therefore be silent from appeal, and leave my character to speak for itself: when you are disposed to think more favorably of me, it shall be from convic­tion [Page 232] of facts, and not from pleas and remon­strances on my part.

It may very well appear presumptuous in me to aspire to the daughter of the Earl of G. and yet if the success of that presumption is any answer to the charge of absurdity which you impute to me, you will find it in the let­ter which I have the honor to inclose to you, from the father of that lady.

I am, &c. &c.

LETTER XCIV. The Earl of G. to Sir Joseph Arundel.

IF you are as sensible of the unparalleled merits of your excellent son, as every one who knows him is, you will allow that I have great cause to pride myself in the hope I enter­tain of being soon to participate with you in the honor and happiness of calling him son.

The love, which my daughter conceived for this amiable youth from the first day she saw [Page 233] him, the very high opinion which Lady G. hath ever had of his character, and the very delicate and honorable manner in which he has behaved towards me and mine under cir­cumstances the most trying, cruel and unjust, from which nothing but his own true courage and the hand of Providence over his life could have protected him, have all conspired to open my eyes to his uncommon merit, and to rouse me from a delusion I reflect upon with shame and remorse.

As you and I have been old friends, I hope this alliance will not make us less cordial than before, but I must ingenuously say this will entirely depend upon the measure of your af­fection to a most excellent son; for I should think it unpardonable if you, who are his fa­ther by nature, should love him less than I who am only his father by law.

I have the honor to be, Sir, &c. &c.

LETTER XCV. Captain John to Sir Joseph Arundel.

BROTHER JOSEPH,

THOUGH I am your younger brother, and understand myself well enough to know I can't argue with you in the way of learning, yet I believe I know a little of what is called common sense, and I hope I am not totally ignorant of what is called common jus­tice, though I am as you say one of those fero­cious people, who make war their trade.

I don't know what you mean by a trade, brother, but I hope it is a trade I need not be ashamed of, and as for what I have earned by it, which is no trifle, I let you know that I intend to leave it all to your son, unless you can point out to me any honester or worthier man in the King of England's dominions.

As ferocious as you may think me, I hope I [Page 235] have more human nature in my heart than to write to my son, if I had one, as you have wrote to Frank. Before you find fault, brother Joseph, why don't you stop to find where the fault lies? I believe that is justice, and I am mistaken if it is not Christianity into the bar­gain.

I don't mean to offend you, do you see, whereby I am brushing out to sea again, and like enough may never let eyes on you again; therefore take what I say in good part, for I am a plain man, and neither mean to flatter or affront any man, much less a brother.

Frank is a going to be married to my Lady Louisa G. and I am sorry I can't wait to see the last hand put to the job; but as war is a trade, you know, brother, it is a trade that must be followed or lost: however I have left my blessing with him, and my will into the bargain, neither of which will, I hope, do him any harm, if I don't live to come back again. I don't find fault with your preaching peace, brother Francis, and I can't see why you should be angry with me for following war, when I am bid to do it, in the defence of my [Page 236] country: if it was not for some of us ferocious animals, who venture our lives for Old Eng­land, I question if you peaceable folks would have a church over your heads to say your prayers in.

Farewell, brother Joseph, I have wrote you a monstrous long letter, but take it in good part; when you preach up peace, remember to practise it; bless God for the good son he has given you, and add a little ejaculation, when you are about it, for

Your ferocious, Though affectionate brother, JOHN ARUNDEL.

LETTER XCVI. Lady Louisa G. to the Countess of G.

YESTERDAY was the auspicious day that united Lady Jane to her beloved Mortlake, and transported me to this place with my beloved Arundel. We all attended the happy couple to the altar, where the cere­mony was performed by a neighbouring clergy­man, an old friend of the house of Arundel. Jane deported herself with all the fortitude and composure in the world, and made her respon­ses audibly and firmly: not quite so her espous­ed; and as for poor me, I trembled most in­continently, and whenever my eye caught a glimpse of Arundel, there were no bounds to my tremor. Awful as the ceremony is in it­self, and more particularly so as it appeared to me when deciding upon the fate of a beloved friend, yet, to my shame, I confess I was more than once most sadly put to it to keep my [Page 238] countenance, when the old Admiral roared out the responses so much above the key-note of the clerk, and the rest of us, who made up the congregation, that I and even Arundel him­self were forced to cram our handkerchiefs into our mouths, especially as the good man was not always very correct, and occasionally took some small liberties with the text, parti­cularly where the minister repeated—Be unto them a tower of strength—the Admiral sung out in a voice of thunder, as if he was upon his own quarter-deck, From the face of all our enemies—at which moment I am persuaded he had a side-way hit at the French and Spani­ards, for his voice was not only particularly exalted, but there was an energy in his tone, which convinces me he had them in his thoughts: he had a large folio prayer-book spread before him and a huge pair of spec­tacles on his nose, which made him as irre­sistible to the sight as to the hearing.

After the ceremony was over we repaired to the parsonage, where an elegant little col­lation was set out in the library, and here with tears of joy I embraced and congratulat­ed my beloved Lady Jane Mortlake: Lord S. [Page 239] and the Admiral were setting off for London as well as ourselves, so that we all parted from the bride and bridegroom at the same moment. Alas! the fortitude, which my poor Jane had exerted at the altar, here for­sook her at the moment, when she found her­self, perhaps, for the last time (which Heaven avert!) in the arms of her beloved brother.—Oh, my dear, dear Archibald, she cried, may the God of all mercies preserve thee from death, and give thee victory in battle! Go, my hero! go to certain conquest, and let not my fond weakness unman thee; thy sister shall pray for thee, Mortlake shall put up his prayers to that gracious Being, whose bless­ing is upon us in this moment of our union, and who will not refuse the petitions of his faith­ful servant—And oh, my father and my friend, she added, (throwing her arms round the neck of the gallant Admiral, who stooped to em­brace her) may you return with fresh laurels, to the joy of your friends here present, and to the glory of your country! She now threw herself down on the couch, whilst tears such as heroes shed fell from the eyes of the de­parting warriors.—Let us seize this moment [Page 240] and be gone, said my father; Mr. Mortlake, we beg you will stay with your lady, and take no further notice of us.—The word was instant­ly obeyed by all; Arundel took my hand, the Admiral put his arm under the Earl's, and my father led the way: we threw ourselves with­out ceremony into our respective carriages, and were whirled away with a rapidity, which those who have not travelled post in England have no idea of.

Thus is grief compounded in our brightest joys, and the cup of blessing is for ever dashed with tears.—My father first broke silence, by desiring us to take our own conversation with­out regarding him, as he should amuse himself with his own thoughts and reflections upon the scenes he had left behind, without interrupt­ing us in our discourse: Consider yourselves, my dear children, said he, as man and wife elect, talk over your own little projects, follow your own inclinations, your endearments, your fondnesses to each other, as if nobody was present, or at most an old nurse, who will only drop a salt tear over your caresses, and chuckle at the happiness of her beloved bantling.

Having so said, he took the hand of Arundel [Page 241] and drew him to that side of the coach where I was seated by myself, stretching him­self over the back seat at the same time, in an attitude as if he was going to sleep.—My sweet Louisa, says Arundel, since your father is no longer present, I must give some vent to my heart, by telling you how deeply it is affected by his goodness to us both; the honor he has done me by this visit, the confidence he reposes in me on all occasions, and the happiness he has showered upon me in blessing me with all my soul holds dear on this side heaven, have raised emotions in my heart, that I shall never be in a capacity of doing justice to; you, my charmer, must find occasion for telling him how truly I revere and love him; I know no other way of expressing my gratitude to him, but by my everlasting devotion to his lovely daughter.

My father took my hand, and joining it to Arundel's, tenderly pronounced a blessing up­on us, and as my head reclined on Arundel's shoulder, contemplated us with a look of infi­nite sensibility and affection. We then by de­grees fell into discourse upon the happy event of the morning, and of Jane's solemn and com­posed [Page 242] behaviour at the altar, with which my father was greatly struck, but owned that the Admiral's responses put his muscles to the trial: he demanded of me, if I thought I could stand the office as heroically as she did; I shook my head and Arundel smiled upon me; he then began to praise her to the skies for her noble qualities, and declared he was never more affected than by her manner of parting from her brother; my father was no less warm in his encomiums upon Mortlake, which made Arundel's fine eyes glisten with delight: we talked over their whole establishment, and my father was in raptures whilst he expatiated on the Paradise, as he called it, in which they were placed, saying to Arundel with a smile—The only fault I can find with you, son Arun­del, is, that you are too rich.—This put me in mind of Jane's address to Solitude, which I sent you in my last letter, and having a copy in my pocket-book, I made Arundel read the lines aloud; by such an audience the beloved author was sure to be applauded.

We next amused ourselves with planning projects of improvements at Arundel House, [Page 243] in which I stiffly contended for the antient lares, which to my taste were infinitely more venerable than all the extravagancies of mo­dern foppery in brick and plaister; some­thing I allowed might be admitted without violating their prerogative, but still I thought the line was to be followed which they point­ed out, and in this Arundel agreed with me. My father observed that he seemed to be very well established in point of servants, and for his part he could not see any occasion he had to encrease them: Arundel acknowledged that he did not think it could add to our happi­ness to be encumbered with a very numerous suite of idlers, and seemed to apply to me for my opinion in the matter. I told him that my notions of domestic oeconomy had been formed upon your lessons and instructions repeatedly im­printed on my thoughts, and confirmed by what little judgment and experience I could boast of, so that I was at no loss to express myself with­out hesitation on the subject. I set out by saying, that as I wished to acquit myself as became the mistress of his family, it was the first point with me to have my household upon such a scale as I could compleatly superintend and [Page 244] manage; if I had a parcel of superfluous and idle people about me, how could I undertake for this? I would wish my husband in the first place to take an exact computation of his in­come, clear and unencumbered as it came into his hands; upon that computation I would have him lay down his general scale of ex­pence, and regulate every article of it, as far as could be done upon previous calculation; upon this there ought to be a considerable balance for contingencies of various sorts, such as building, improving, bounties, and a long list of unforeseen demands upon his taste or charity. Beyond this income, be it what it may, I would on no account suffer my expences to go; wherever they threa­tened to exceed it, the reform must be im­mediate and effectual; for there could be no peace in my mind while his fortune was diminishing, and the greater that fortune was, the greater would be my self reproach for so inexcusable a waste of it. That mere parade I detested from my heart, and next to gaming I held electioneering as a most unjustifiable and senseless profusion of property. That I took the opportunity now to say in the most [Page 245] peremptory manner, and I hoped my fa­ther, who heard me say it, would not dis­commend me for it, that I would absolutely not consent to accept a single diamond from the hands of Arundel.—Here Arundel stared, and my father nodded assent with a smile of ap­probation.—As for plate, I perceived he had enough of it, and equipage to please me must be as simple and unpretending as possible. I wished to rival no lady, pure or impure, in the splendor of her carriage. I was too proud to pique myself upon such distinctions, for the merit of which I was to resort to Long-acre. The chief part of our time, money and atten­tion would, I hoped, be addressed to the country, and there I should wish to be carry­ing on a constant and gradual improvement, rather than a rapid and expensive one; not only as it would be a lasting pleasure to us, who were occupied in it, but as it would give a more permanent employment to our labo­rious poor; of them I should be ambitious of collecting a colony about me, lodged in com­fortable cottages within my eye, and not driven into holes and corners of the earth to make room for my unsocial and tyrannical [Page 246] ideas of monopolizing a whole country for what is falsely called ornament and prospect; their habitations would be the best ornament of my prospect, their population my pride, and the contemplation of their comforts my reward.—Here Arundel in an ecstacy of joy threw his arms round my neck and smothered me with kisses. My father clapt his hands as it were involuntarily together, and ex­claimed aloud, That's right, my dear Arun­del, she challenges your love.—These tender and encouraging caresses prompted me to pro­ceed yet further, and I resumed my discourse in substance as follows:—Regularity in hours is essential to the good order and comfort of a family; in the country there is no excuse for not conforming to it, neither can I by any means approve of those fine people, who adopt their London hours in their country houses, putting their neighbours who visit them either out of their own habits and cus­toms, or (which is worse) teaching them to copy bad examples, and so corrupting the simplicity of manners, so well becoming their condition and fortune. This is a thing that I abominate; it is founded in affectation of [Page 247] high life; the very people who adopt it suffer by it; it is unsocial, insulting and ridiculous in the extreme. No one can contend that it is a better distribution of a day in summer (which is generally the season when the rich retire into the country) to rise in the hear of the forenoon, take our exercise in the mid­day, and dedicate the refreshing hours of evening to the indolence and luxury of the table. Surely such an arrangement of hours is the reverse of every thing that pleasure would teach us, were we to consult no other guide; but there are a thousand other rea­sons against it, which are aggravations of its absurdity. As for my table, I would cau­tiously avoid that overbearing splendor, which seems more calculated to display my own consequence, than to contribute to the com­fort of my guests. I would wish to do no­thing that should pique my neighbours of inferior fortune into emulation, or provoke their envy: I would keep an uniform table, in which comfort should be chiefly considered and elegance by no means overlooked; all should be welcome, and set dinners as much a possible avoided: my supreme social delight [Page 248] would be to engage such a party of amiable and entertaining people within my own family circle as would make the hours, that we passed within doors, both lively and improv­ing; men and women of elegant minds, peo­ple of talents, eminent artists, respectable fo­reigners, pleasant and good-natured compa­nions, who have the faculty of exhilarating our convivial hours, are those whose society I should covet, and the happy case with which we have at last learnt to live with each other under the same roof, would leave me still at my leisure for all the demands which the care of my family might have upon me in the mean time. Upon this system I do not see any opening in a man of fortune's time for the insipid dissipations of a listless life, for the desperate resource of gaming, for the perpe­tual hurry of journies from place to place, for the whim of a racehorse, or even the din of a pack of hounds. What an endless fund of amusing occupation is there in a domestic farm! Whilst my husband superintended the more interesting concerns of stock and culti­vation, I could find perpetual employment in the smaller departments; and I think there is [Page 249] nothing would give me such health and plea­sure as to be so engaged. I should regret the day, when I was to quit my dairy for London and the drawing-room—And now methinks I must have pretty well wearied you both with my reveries.

They were so polite as to assure me they were by no means tired of listening to me; and Arundel, with an air of the greatest since­rity, protested, that he had set down every word in his memory, and would faithfully adhere to it, by adopting my system with the strictest conformity to every rule.

Thus, my dear mother, our time insensibly passed away, whilst we were rapidly approach­ing to our journey's end, which set us safely down at Spring Grove before the darkness overtook us, where, after a night of happy re­pose, in which the events of the day were compounded into a dream, wherein my hap­piness was painted afresh in all the wild and glowing colours of romantic fancy, I arose to execute this pleasing task, and then to realize the visions of the night by flying into the arms of love and Arundel.

Farewell.

LETTER XCVI Arundel to Charles Mortlake.

UXORIOUS Mortlake, if thou canst spare a moment from the enchanting arms of thy adored wife, give your ear to a lover, happy in his approach to the blessing he is eagerly expecting, and yet tantalized by that happiness from not having possessed it, as thou hast thine: I will not long entrench upon thy transports.

To a married ear I can say more than I would commit to the inflammable brain of a bachelor, as thou wast a day or two ago.

This lovely creature charms me into phren­zy; I am in a state of mental intoxication with the fondness she bestows upon me. I have a thousand minds to tell her fairly that I cannot, that I will not bear it. What does she think of me? Oh Heavens! she thinks neither of me, nor of herself. How should I [Page 251] expect mercy when she has none for her own feelings! We must be married without the conveyancers; the law crawls like the tortoise, we fly towards the goal like the nimble hare in the fable.—Carry not my allusion any further, Mortlake, for we will not halt by the way; at least if human resolution can hold out against more than human beauty, against more than human passion.

There! now she will not let me write to thee—Look, where it comes again!—Was that all you came for?—Oh Louisa, thou hast a soul of love embodied in the most attractive form of beauty—Enchantress, Syren, Witch! why did you put on that alluring dishabille? why did you dispose your auburn locks in those ensnaring ringlets? what means that negligent simplicity, that half-discovering, half-concealing veil, that only hides the surface not the shape of your swelling bosom, the very model of perfection, into which my senses sink even on the very sight? She has set my hand a trembling, and I cannot proceed.

Oh Heavens! the angel form is here again, and now she comes to dictate to me; I am to take up my pen and write whilst she hovers [Page 252] over me—It is impossible, my charming Lou­isa, whilst you stand within my reach in that alluring attitude; if you mean me to be your scribe you must not come within the glance of my eyes; post yourself in that chair behind me, and then begin with your instructions.

You are to tell Lady Jane Mortlake, that Louisa cannot write to her, and yet she expects to be written to.—So much for her Ladyship's modesty.—She demands of me if I have not something to say to you about your coming hither.—Ah! what a blunder have I commit­ted! that was only a hint for my private ear, and not to be committed to your's.—She blushes to the eyes, and insists upon my strik­ing it out; for it alludes to our wedding, which I must plainly tell you stands for this day se'nnight, so now you must concert with Lady Jane accordingly: I own I wish it very sincerely, and if without particular inconveni­ence to your lady or yourself you could com­ply with my request, I should be happy that the friend of my heart would tie that indisso­luble band, which I mean to keep for ever sa­cred and inviolate. This is in substance what the lovely blushes on the cheeks of my Louisa [Page 253] mean to dictate to me; you, who have seen them, know their eloquence, and I dare be­lieve will not prove yourself insensible to their persuasion.

When I ask her what she has else in charge to her beloved friend, she says she will trust me with no more messages, and bids me leave off writing.—What must I do? what would you do in the like case?—Obey: friendship, give place! O love, what a monopolizer art thou!

Farewell.

LETTER XCVIII. Lady Jane Mortlake to Lady Louisa G.

IN the maidenish simplicity of my heart I promised you a long letter, but I must break my word with you. Out of all the many injunctions which you laid upon me, I can obey one only, and that is—literally to write and no more. I know my dear Louisa [Page 254] will be in a pet with me, but I will leave it to time to apologize for my indolence; before many days come to an end you may have sympathetic motives for acquitting me.

I am sure Mr. Mortlake will obey the call of his friend and come to you at Spring Grove, when the happy day is fixt; but I rather think I must forego the undertaking, especially as you will come down to Arundel House on the day of your marriage, and to that resolution I would advise you to adhere.

But is this the languid stile I should use to my Louisa? No, I will not close my letter till I assure you, gratefully assure you, every pros­pect of happiness opens upon me—excess of it you know, my dear, will overpower the spi­rits, and even force us to put on the very symptoms of sorrow. I am charmed with every thing about me; external comforts sur­round me in abundance; ‘But I have that within which passeth shew.’ These are but the symphonies (if I may so call them) the accompaniments of that superior strain of harmony, which breathes in every look, action, and endearing movement of my [Page 255] beloved Mortlake; such a heavenly temper beams upon me, such a gay, serene and placid mind, affections so inexpressibly tender, such love, such ardour; oh, my Louisa, what a trea­sure am I blessed with in this inestimable man! As for his understanding, it seems to me like an exhaustless mine of the purest ore; he and your matchless Arundel have not mispent the early morning of their life in dissipation and intemperance, but with a prudent forecast have been storing up resources for the even­ing of their day, for the night, wherein no one can work.

In a very few days I hope I shall begin to apportion out my time upon system, and regu­late both my little family and myself: I do not mean to engross my husband's hours so entirely, as not to leave him a part of the day in which his library shall be unapproachable by me; I should be unpardonable were I to break in upon duties of so serious a nature as belong to his function, and to which he is so conscientiously devoted; his studies therefore have a claim upon him which I shall hold as sacred, and those hours I shall pass in my do­mestic employments, and, when they do not [Page 256] call upon me, in such reading as he shall re­commend for instruction or amusement. But when in addition to those resources I cast my eyes upon those neighbouring turrets, which will soon be occupied by the friend of my heart, what is there wanting to compleat my prospect? what but to merit a continuance of these blessings by gratitude to the God who bestows them?

Farewell.

LETTER XCIX. Sir Joseph Arundel to the Earl of G.

THE respect, with which I have ever looked up to your Lordship, and the elevated rank in which you stand, would never have permitted me to think of an alliance with your family but as the most improbable of all events, had not your letter informed me that an union between your amiable noble daughter and my [Page 257] son is likely soon to take place, under the sanction of your consent and good liking.

My Lord, I am at a loss what words to use upon this occasion: I cannot deny that I have seen some particulars of Mr. Arundel's con­duct with an eye of displeasure, and I have given him my fatherly reproof accordingly: of this sort have been his deportment in Par­liament, and his duel with Sir George Revel; I confess I wrote harshly to him on those to­pics; but I will not be obstinate against convic­tion; I may have been misinformed, nay more than that, I may have erred in judgment; but my intentions have been sincere. You are pleased to take his defence very warmly upon yourself, and your words must ever have the greatest weight with me; stronger proof can­not be given of the confidence you have in him than that you have thought him worthy of being honored with the hand of Lady Lou­isa, your only child: this is a testimony as honorable to him as it is unexpected by me, and above all hope of mine.

My Lord, I am a sequestered man and move in a very private sphere; a title indeed has descended upon me, but it has descended empty; it did not please my brother Francis, [Page 258] living or dying, to take any notice of me, and I am given to understand by my brother John, that no part of his spoils are likely to be be­stowed on me: these accumulations center in my son; his fortune is ample and independant, and therefore as he does not want my help, I the less wonder at the contempt he shews for my opinion or advice: it is from your Lord­ship I learn the honor and happiness which await him.

But though I have thus detached myself from the world and all its ambition, yet I am a man, and have the feelings of a man, and consistently with those feelings it will be im­possible for me to present my neglected person at the haughty doors of that unbrotherly man­sion, whose owner never permitted me to enter them, nor gave me the welcome I had a right to expect. This I flatter myself will appear so natural to your Lordship, that you will al­low it a sufficient excuse for my seeming omis­sion, if I do not pay that respect to Lady Lou­isa in her married state, which as your Lord­ship's daughter I have ever entertained for her.

I have the honor to be, &c. &c. JOSEPH ARUNDEL.

LETTER C. Mortlake to Arundel.

I HAVE received your summons and shall fly to obey it with every ardent wish, with every anxious prayer for your happiness; it is my lot to have been the object of the marriage ceremony before I have been the performer of it in right of my function; may the com­mencement be auspicious!

My dear Arundel, it is now the first time in my remembrance, that whilst writing to you I have paused upon my pen, and found that my mind would not furnish words to supply it. The fact is, my imagination is locked up by repletion, so many grateful thoughts throng and press upon it at the same moment, that language cannot extricate them: you have showered down benefits upon your friend so fast, that though I am in no danger of forget­ing them, I am in no capacity of particulariz­ing them. Wherever my eye goes, it meets [Page 260] some remembrancer of your friendly genero­sity: if I survey my house, if I walk into my garden, if my sight is directed to my church, I say within myself, O Arundel! these are thy works: but there is yet another object, on whom my eyes rest with peculiar fondness, one dear to my sight and in her person lovely, of whom I can with truth pronounce, this bles­sing is the gift of Arundel—And as thy gift I will preserve and prize it; I will lodge it in my heart, cherish it with unabating fondness, love, watch and tenderly protect it. Yes, may the God whom I adore forsake me, when I wrong that excellence, the condescending sweetness of whose generous nature stooped to the humble mute admirer, who only sighed at a distance, and, whilst aspiring to nothing more than pity, gained her love: and what a treasure is that love! what a combination of charms are met together! beauty, that would have attracted all beholders without the aid of mental excellencies; a mind, that would have won all hearts without the help of personal attractions.

There was a mystery in old times, which the superstition of the initiated keep sacred from [Page 261] all ears; there is a mystery of modern times, which its own nonsense secures against disco­very; but those joys to which I have been ad­mitted, my dear Arundel, are undiscoverable, because they can never be described.

I find myself with a companion, in whose society no hour of the day can be heavy; her lively genius gives a novelty to every subject, and we mutually instruct each other: she tells me of the world as it is, I inform her of the world as it hath been. It gives me inexpres­sible delight to find that her spirits are not damped by retirement and the tête-à-tête of a husband, on the contrary their gaiety en­creases every day, and I may truly say we have never waked but to a joyful morning: the tem­porary depression she felt upon parting from her beloved brother is long since at an end, and her buoyant mind rises superior to those gloomy and unsocial thoughts, which deal in melancholy predictions and feed their spleen with horrors of their own painting; she on the contrary sees all futurity in its brightest light, and by the force of a sanguine fancy meets her gallant hero returning with fresh laurels to her arms, and feasts upon the idea.

[Page 262]As for me, who by one of the most rapid transitions of fortune am of a sudden trans­planted from college rooms and the twentieth part of a bed-maker's attendance to the pos­session of an elegant house and a family of ser­vants, what should I have done without her help? Things, which no time would have brought to my understanding, she sees and comprehends in a moment; it is incredible with what facility she arranges her domestic matters, and though every order is given with the most perfect sweetness of temper, yet there is no trifling with her commands; the strictest obedience is exacted and of course obtained. The machine, now put in motion by her guid­ing hand, goes on mechanically and with cor­rect regularity, and for my part I shall be to­tally out of employ, unless I keep some little land in my hands, which my lovely friend ad­vises me to do. She is accomptant-general of my finances, and has furnished herself with a huge vellum book, and all the apparatus of a clerk, which I should never have thought of, and suffered accordingly: she says our in­come will amply suffice for our establishment, and leave some loose money for unforeseen [Page 263] occasions on the balance; but I had no op­portunity of talking with you about the very kind offer, which Lord G. made me of a do­native of £. 300 per annum, that has lately elapsed: I was really so oppressed with bounty from all hands, that I did not know what an­swer to make him, when I ought in gratitude to have said a great deal; I must rely upon you to help me out, by telling him what an awkward animal I am, when my friends con­found me with their goodness, and at the same time be sure to say in the most sincere and na­tural way to his Lordship, that I must believe he has a number of expectants, who look up to him for favors, and whose long attendance has given them far better claims upon his pa­tronage than I can pretend to; if therefore he has any one of these in his eye, I beseech him to pass me over, and my gratitude will still be paid to his good wishes. But if on the con­trary his desire to do a grace to you in the person of your friend, prevails against all other claims, I then beg of him to add a further grace to his bounty by bestowing it upon her, from whom I derive every preten­sion and to whom I owe every blessing in [Page 264] life, and let her, by whose hand I am raised, and on whose smiles I live, appropriate to her private purse, that which to me would be a superfluity. In God's name what am I? what right have I to be thus caressed by fortune? I already sink under the blessings I enjoy; my own unworthiness flies in my face and I trem­ble for the trials which prosperity may expose me to. I am determined, Arundel, to humble myself even below what I am by nature; there is nobody but yourself and my dearest Lady Jane to whom I dare give a vent to the hap­piness of my heart, for fear my exultation should be mistaken for insult; to my country neighbours, and particulary to my brethren of the cloth, I am resolved nothing shall escape me to provoke their ill opinion of me as a man intoxicated by good fortune, or to put them upon enquiring how I merited what has befallen me: in short, my dear friend, I have called myself to a strict account, and find I have no chance for preserving the favor of Providence, but to humble myself with double diligence before God and man, and to pray for support under the most dangerous of all trials, the trial of unmerited prosperity.

[Page 265]Lady Jane was desirous upon her wedding-day to give some little bounty to the poor of the parish, and consulted me upon it; I shew­ed her a little book, in which I had minuted down the particulars of all the needy families, the number, ages and sex of their children, with the occupation, condition and necessities of their parents; I had the satisfaction to see she was very much pleased by this account, which she considered as an instance of my at­tention to the duties of a parish priest; she was at the trouble of copying my list, and has begun her visitation in consequence of it. I perceive I shall have nothing to do but write sermons, and preach them in their ears on a Sunday, for my weekly duty will be in better hands.

Arundel, I repeat to you my resolution of never quitting the flock, which you have put under my care: I will not make your bounty a stepping-stone to my ambition, and of this I took an early opportunity to apprise Lady Jane, without which explanation I thought it would have been dishonourable to have enter­ed into engagements with her: I need not say [Page 266] that her noble and disinterested nature approv­ed of my resolution.

I perceive I shall have a great passion for my garden, not only because you have made it so alluring and beautiful, but because Lady Jane seems to have a strong attachment to it, and it is an amusement in which I can have her company and participation: as for the li­brary, having now pretty well reconnoitred the whole of it, I must really consider it as a very select and well-chosen collection of books in good condition and of the best sort. We for the present inhabit no other room, as the prospect it commands is so charming.

Lady Jane bids me say that she shall ac­company me to Spring Grove; though she wrote doubtfully of it to Lady Louisa. We shall be with you in the evening before the happy day.

Farewell.

LETTER CI. The Countess to the Earl of G.

YOUR letter has given peace to an afflict­ed heart, and if I pause upon the pleas­ing invitation it contains, these are my rea­sons: The retirement to which I have for some time devoted myself, and the melancholy scene that has been under my review, whilst Sir George Revel was in the house with me, have with other conspiring causes lest impressions on my spirits, which will probably disqualify me for the rest of my life from returning to that public station your rank and fortune may re­quire me to appear in; with a mind alie­nated from the splendor of high life, and fa­culties incapacitated for stepping forward upon the conspicuous stage of the great world, I think it just to apprise you that I am no longer equal to the undertaking: reflection has cut so deep into my heart, that nothing but the soothing scenes of tranquillity and privacy can [Page 268] perfectly restore it; dissipation would but open all its wounds.

Let me not deceive you, nor give occasion for future discontent, when you find yourself betrayed by pity into a step, which you have cause to repent of. It is enough for me to know myself acquitted in your thoughts, to hear that my beloved child is happy, and now and then to find myself in the kind remem­brance of those who are dear to me. Place me in some quiet retreat, where I may pass my days in that obscurity for which nature designed me, and if ever that happy period shall arrive, when your heart is sated with worldly pleasures and pursuits, turn to my so­litude, seek your humble friend, and my arms shall be open to receive and welcome you to purer and more peaceful scenes than those you leave behind you.

Trust me, my Lord, there is no worldly honor could befall you to give me half the joy I take in hearing you have conquered your resentments against Arundel; it was a noble effort, and you have subdued the worst ene­mies to your peace, that can haunt the human breast, anger and suspicion. I read the ac­count [Page 269] of your visit to Arundel House with tears of joy and gratitude; accept the thanks, the praises of a wife, to whom your happiness and welfare are infinitely valuable; you have been employed in the heavenly office of dis­pensing blessings to all around you; you have saved your child from misery and disgrace, and healed a mother's broken heart; these, my dear Lord, are glorious actions, these reflec­tions may be dwelt upon with lasting delight, these honors can never be taken from you.

I thank you for your kind attention to me in sending Davison; he is a good creature and has been of great use and comfort to me; the money he brought with him is so much more than my occasions call for, that I shall have no demand to make upon the credit you have given me at Ostend: this supply in the mean time has enabled me to shew some little marks of my gratitude to Madame Polberg, which have been very seasonable to the worthy crea­ture, and have added much to the few com­forts left for her in this life. You knew the Baron when he was in England, and it was under your administration he was employed by his court in a secret and confidential commis­sion [Page 270] to ours; as she states his case it must have been extremely hard, for the business having failed through no miscarriage or fault of his, the poor Baron never could obtain indemnifica­tion for his charges, and having wearied out his health and exhausted his fortune in a fruit­less solicitation at Vienna, he died and left his disconsolate widow in very narrow circum­stances. You have flattered me with the hopes of coming to me after the wedding, unless I prevented you by setting out upon Davison's arrival: this I was strongly tempted to do, that I might prevent your trouble; but great as was my joy when I received such instances of your returning kindness, my health and spi­rits were still unequal to the undertaking, for to say the truth I am far from well; a low fe­ver hangs about me, and I take little rest or nourishment: come to me therefore, my dear Lord, and repay yourself by a double piece of charity, for I think you may be able to do Madame Polberg a service with the Imperial minister, by stating the case of the Baron, as it came under your cognizance, and it is to be hoped that your testimony will assist her suit [Page 271] for obtaining justice. Thus you shall at once receive the widow's blessing, and the grateful thanks of your devoted wife. Your presence may repel this secret enemy that saps my health, if I see you happy and well pleased with me, the smile of kindness will repair a broken spirit; but if I hear that your retire­ment from office, and the happy marriage of Louisa, have weaned your heart from the un­profitable pursuits of ambition, and if I find you disposed to seek for peace and tranquillity in domestic life, and that a town house and a suburban villa can no longer detach you from the venerable seat of your ancestors, all com­plaints will vanish before such a blessed revo­lution, and there will be no bounds to my joy and thankfulness. Then I will return with you most gladly; from that moment my whole heart will be your's, and every hour of my life shall be dedicated to the delightful task of pleasing and of serving you: then we shall live again in our children, our youth shall be re­novated in their's; in the contemplation of Louisa's and Arundel's nuptial happiness, we shall find a perpetual feast to our souls, and [Page 272] perhaps enjoy the further felicity of seeing a young generation arise from the union of two noble families, heirs of the virtue, beauty and generosity of their parents.

LETTER CII. The Countess to Lady Louisa G.

ALL joy to my beloved child! Your mo­ther, who fled to this solitary dwelling with no better hope, than to secrete herself from calumny and unkindness, has found it a scene of busy revolutions, selected as it were by Providence to perform its wonders in, and by the most extraordinary coincidence of chances to bring the accuser face to face with the accused, and extort confession from a guil­ty heart under the terrors of impending death.

What unexpected happiness has followed the discovery of that wicked plot! How much beyond all hope was the preservation of that [Page 273] desperate man, the least of whose wounds seemed to take away all chance of life! How adorable was the divine Grace, which inspired him with repentance, and moved him to make atonement for his crimes by a clear, compleat and explicit confession! Who could have be­lieved that your father's heart would have been so converted from its resentment, and turned upon the sudden with such benignity towards Arundel! What remained for you but to waste your life in bewailing his obduracy, or else to have sunk your character by precipi­tating yourself into a clandestine marriage against the protest of your parent? Hapless al­ternative! and yet where was your hope but in the choice of these difficulties?—When be­hold at once, in the most unexpected moment, the hand of Heaven is laid upon your father's heart, the quickening touch revives that con­science, which seemed dead within him, the regenerate spirit of mercy inspires him with new feelings, peace and reconciliation take place, Arundel is adopted, my prayers are granted and my child is blest.

Now, Louisa, I conjure you by your gra­titude to that beneficent Power, which has [Page 274] brought these mighty things to pass, let these reflections never fade in your mind: remem­ber what it is you owe, a debt that your whole life can never overpay. Be dutiful, affectionate and tender to your father; remember what he has done for you; call to mind what daggers he has drawn from your bosom, and strike not a thorn, though the slightest and least painful, into his: cherish him in his age, pity him in his infirmities, sooth him in those listless hours, when life becomes a load: let him be ever welcome to your doors, open your arms to receive him, though he bring no mirth or gaiety with him, and make allowances for the dullness of that evening, which is too apt to close the day, that has been sacrificed to am­bition; though his mind may decay let not your charity lose its vigour, and let the daugh­ter's hospitality be the parent's asylum.

In my letter to your father I took the liberty of hinting to him how blest I should be if he could detach his mind from worldly pursuits, and take this opportunity of his re­cess from office to seek tranquillity in the country: let me entreat you to co-operate with my wishes, and as your influence is [Page 275] great, to exert it for his happiness. Grant for a moment that he was reinstated in his former post, what can he gain by it? not any new accession of dignity; for what is that honor, of whose instability he has had such recent ex­perience? and if he seeks it without obtain­ing it, a fruitless pursuit does but sink his character and disgrace his politics. On the contrary, if he avails himself of his dismission from public affairs, and without impatience or repining takes up the respectable character of an independant nobleman, all mankind will give him credit for the disintestedness of his past services, and not impute them to the greediness of power, but to a patriot zeal for his country's good.

As for your own conduct in a married state, the lessons which I should have repeated have been so faithfully remembered by you, and so aptly applied, that you have antici­pated all I had to say on that subject: those rules are now become your own, and I trust you will never want perseverance in following what your reason adopts.

In Mr. Mortlake and Lady Jane you will have the best neighbours in the world, and I [Page 276] flatter myself they will both contribute to your happiness and themselves enjoy it. The specimen you sent me of her poetry pleased me much, and the subject still better than the execution of it. I beg you will present to them my most cordial congratulations.

Mr. Arundel has so long commanded every good and zealous wish of my heart, that it would be but idle ceremony to repeat them now: as the husband of my Louisa he will have my warmest affection; but I must be­seech both him and you not to think of coming hither, as you kindly offered: no, my dear, that is a sacrifice I will by no means allow you to make; and lest what I have said may not be sufficient to divert you from it, remember that I positively forbid it. As my health is somewhat impaired, I think it not improbable I shall try a winter in the south of France, to which I am advised, and have the offer of all necessary passports for the purpose. Let me hope I shall then return to you with better spirits, and a more esta­blished state of health.

Sir George Revel is gone to Bareges, from which place he has written me a letter full of [Page 277] acknowledgments; and I am well pleased to hear that he advances in his recovery. It will be long before he returns to England.

I had almost forgot a circumstance, which I should more properly have mentioned in my letter to your father; but I desire you will tell him, that upon observing what you say to him and Mr. Arundel about diamonds, I shall be extremely happy, with his approbation, to transfer my jewels to you, and I do earnestly request he will consent to my desire. I deli­vered them into his hands when I left Lon­don, and I hope he will deliver them into your's. God bless you, my dear child!

Farewell.

LETTER CIII. Sir George Revel to the Countess of G.

A HEART so penetrated with your good­ness as mine is cannot resist the impulse of gratitude, though I fear there is a degree of presumption in thus repeating to you my thanks, or supposing that it can be in any de­gree interesting to you to hear, that I reached this place with less pain and fatigue than I expected, and that I find myself much bene­fited since my arrival.

I saw with the deepest concern a very sen­sible alteration in your health, whilst your charity was employed in restoring mine: the gentleman, who will have the honor of wait­ing upon you with this letter, Dr. Ramsay of Edenborough, is returning to his own country, having received his cure from these salutary waters; let not this small but zealous effort offend you, and pardon me if I have availed [Page 279] myself of the opportunity for tendering to you the advice of a person so eminent in his pro­fession, and so ardent to serve you. You have been, under Providence, the preserver of my life; could I be the happy instrument of add­ing but one hour of health to your's, how blest should I be!

I have the honor to be, &c. &c. GEORGE REVEL.

LETTER CIV. Lady Louisa Arundel to the Countess of G.

I AM just returned from the church, where before a crowd of spectators Arundel and your happy daughter have joined their hands and interchanged their wedded vows before the altar; the mild serenity of Arundel's coun­tenance, the pious harmony of Mortlake's voice, who performed the solemn office, and [Page 280] the chearing looks of my father and Lady Jane, supported me through the most awful moment of my life. They tell me I acquitted myself with much propriety; I hope the wife of Arundel will ever do so.

The first commands my husband lays upon me are to assure you of his most respectful de­votion, and I obey him with a heart, that over­flows with filial as with conjugal affection.

I am, &c. &c. LOUISA ARUNDEL.

P. S. My father writes to you; we are set­ting off for Arundel House.

LETTER CV. The Earl to the Countess of G.

I DISPATCH my servant Le Maitre with the joyful intelligence of our beloved daugh­ter's marriage, on which event I congratulate with you most cordially and most affection­ately.

The week that Arundel has passed here en­dears him to me above measure: never did I contemplate a character more truly amiable, and I flatter myself I am now received into his heart: he did not give himself so wholly up to lover like dalliances as to exclude me from his attentions, but on the contrary I had many hours in private with him, and in these friendly conferences he opened to me the whole state of his affairs, and it was with plea­sure I found him perfect master of them, and thoroughly disposed to confine himself to such a scheme of living, as will for ever secure him from exceeding them: I must do Louisa the [Page 282] justice to say that it is her plan, or rather your's, which he has adopted in its full extent; so solid an understanding as his will never depart from rules so essential to domestic comfort, and so conformable to right reason.

The bride and bridegroom set off in their post-chaise for Arundel House soon after the ceremony was over, but I requested Mr. Mort­lake and Lady Jane to pass the day with me, which they very charitably consented to, and great comfort they afford me thereby, for they are lovely people.

I am now a solitary being upon earth till your friendly and forgiving heart shall receive me once again and for ever; to that virtuous, that blessed asylum I am hastening, impatient to atone to you for all your cruel sufferings, and to approve myself a fond and faithful husband for the rest of our days.

Every thing in your letter (except the ac­count of your health, which heavily afflicts me) meets my perfect approbation: believe me on my word, Louisa, I have taken a last leave of all the vanity and ambition of this world, and devote myself to you and those endearing ties, [Page 283] which wrap our hearts together. I have at last got sight of tranquillity, and made ac­quaintance with true happiness and peace of heart; shall I forfeit their acquaintance? Ne­ver. The reform you point out I have already put in motion, and my agent has instructions to set my house in town to sale; the same shall be done by this villa, if you recommend it, but as it was once a favorite with you, I post­pone its sentence till you give final judgment upon it: I have no holdings towards it; com­pared to the superior claim of my hereditary residence it is but as a mistress to a lawful wife, and I shall throw it off without a sigh. Upon a close review of my domestics I find a parcel of spoilt puppies fit for little else but furnishing the hall of a Minister's house, and I have accordingly bequeathed them to the public, not chusing to annex such lumber to a sober family upon a country establishment; we will have no such fellows about us. Arun­del's servants have been all drilled by the late general and are in perfect discipline; they are not a numerous corps but they are well train­ed, and move with the regularity of machines. I offered him our town house, if he had been [Page 284] disposed to have exchanged it for his own, but he says it is too large and stately and will have nothing to do with it. You would be charmed with the modest simplicity of their equipages; he is fond of horses, but does not seem to have that passion for the stable, which young men of his age are so apt to have; his ruling passion is that which sympathizes with our Louisa's; a mutual love possesses them wholly; as for our dear doating girl, though you well know and have often trembled for the uncommon sensibility of her heart, and its proneness to the tenderest of all affections, still you can form no guess at the excessive fond­ness every look, each word and every action express for the beloved of her soul: I can speak only of what I have seen, and doubtless she has put some check upon herself in my company; what I have not seen can be only matter of conjecture, and as her darling's sen­sations seem to the full as quick as her own, I am apt to think for both their sakes I have not married them an hour too soon, though our deeds are far from completed. Arundel would not take a guinea from my hands upon the marriage, as he knew I did not over-abound [Page 285] in cash: I forced a thousand pounds upon Louisa, out of which she bought a few, and but a few, articles of apparel; as for pin­money she rejected the idea with abhorrence. The rents of the estate, which with the barony of G. go to Louisa in case I die without heir male, I have turned over to Arundel, and the reform I have made, and shall further make, in my establishment, will more than answer to that defalcation of my income; so that you and I shall be more than rich enough for all the dignified enjoyments of life, and liberally provided for the charities of it; as for these beloved creatures, I only fear they will be wealthy to a surfeit.

I am only waiting for news of their safe ar­rival, and then I shall set out by the way of Margate and Ostend, between which there is a pacquet-boat that passes under the Emperor's colours: I shall have no one but a servant with me, as I am prepared to find you in a very small house, and beseech you not to hurry your spirits about preparations for me; the humblest diet and the meanest lodging will be preferable to all earthly splendors in my esti­mation, if you greet me with the smile of ap­probation [Page 286] and forgiveness, and if I am so blest as to find you recovering of that indisposition you complain of, and which has raised a thou­sand anxious alarms in my bosom.

Le Maitre has orders to meet me at Ostend with an account of your health and what other commands you may please to give him. In obedience to your wishes I have searched out some papers relative to Baron Polberg's nego­tiation in England, which I flatter myself will be of use to the widow's cause: the Imperial prime minister is a very noble gentleman, and a lover of justice; I don't despair of rendering Madame Polberg some services, if her case is rightly stated.

Farewell.

LETTER CVI. Arundel to the Earl of G.

I SNATCH a hasty moment to assure your Lordship of our safe arrival and in early evening; we were considerably less time upon the road, than when we came up with you, for our carriage was light and the post-boys were peculiarly alert. Our dear Louisa says she has not only felt no fatigue by the way, but scarce believes she has performed a jour­ney, as her mind was not upon the road but with the happy companion, who was seated by her side. That charming glow, so natural to her spirits, has never abated; even she herself was never half so beautiful as at this moment; judge then what she is: there is a lustre in her eyes too dazzling to look upon: what an angel have you bestowed upon me! Excuse the incoherence of my letter, for I write to you a few words at a time, as I can prevail [Page 288] with myself to take off my eyes from her en­chanting person. I am persuaded that even Saint Anthony could not have recollected him­self in her presence, how then should I keep any composure of thoughts or stile, whilst she is playing abou tthe room?—We are alone and in the picture-room where my venerable fore­fathers hang by the wall, gravely contemplat­ing their enamoured happy descendant. And am I mistress of this house? she says; will these grave personages acknowledge me as one of their family? Am I an Arundel?—and then she makes a solemn obeisance to the old Cardinal at the upper end of the room, which you contend to be a Titian. What can I do with such a playful, such an enchanting crea­ture? It is impossible to proceed.—Now she has run to the piano-forte and begins to sing; oh Heavens! with what expression. She is irresistible; she masters all the senses at once. What can I say, my dear, my generous Lord! All that is left of me is your's.

Farewell.

LETTER CVII. Lady Louisa Arundel to Lady Jane Mortlake.

HOW do you, my Lady Jane? I hear your Ladyship is just arrived, and I con­ceive it to be an indispensable punctilio in country manners to enquire after my neigh­bours, and put them to the trouble of a letter, though they live at next door. Is the con­science of your beloved at peace within it­self? Does he repine at the mischief he com­mitted yesterday on the person of his friend, or does he feel as if he had done no mischief at all? Me he has blest beyond the bounds of human happiness, and whilst I continue to feel and endeavor to deserve the blessing he has pronounced, surely he will not repent of hav­ing pronounced it; if unabating love, fide­lity and devotion to my Arundel, are good se­curities for the conduct of a wife, to them I appeal without any fear of forfeiture.

Do not think I write to entice you from your house the very evening of your arrival; I [Page 290] hope to morrow we shall dine together here at our old-fashioned hour; in the mean time Arundel and I are not tired of each other's company. Oh, my sweet Jane, my dear bridal sister, how I long to embrace you, and inter­change with you those warm and grateful ef­fusions of the heart, which happiness like our's inspires! Had I been told before I married Arundel, that my love for him would admit of an increase, I should have spurned at the idea, now I find it had been truly said, for he is ten times dearer to me than ever; surely my affection is of a softer quality, the fires that love had lighted in my heart now melt it, and whilst my eyes dwell on his engaging form, the tears instinctively flow from them, and though I smile, I weep: he is now out of the room giving some orders to his servants, else I could not write so composedly as I do. Tell me, my Jane, are not your sensations like mine? Methinks they are, for though you did not quite confess so much in words, your looks were true interpreters of a most tender heart. I have seen your animated features more alive, but never did you look so charm­ing as at Spring Grove.

[Page 291]Thank Heaven! I have not brought Arun­del a farthing, for it is my glory to owe every thing to him. What a wretch should I have been, had I suffered him to deck me out with diamonds! and now behold my generous mo­ther wishes me to take her's: I pause upon that offer; for what are all such things to me? The jewel of my husband's heart is all I covet to possess: gross indeed would be my error, were I so to disgrace myself with your disin­terested example before me. No, Jane, I will be moderate in all things but my love, and humble as simplicity itself: there is nothing I more abhor than the idea of being a fine bride, and I neither affect to be popular with the milliners, nor to be made the subject of a puffing paragraph in a silly newspaper.

But I am writing you a long letter, and we are to meet to-morrow; let me beg you will come an hour before dinner, or at least send your dearer half to me, for I want to consult his judgment. There is one thorn in the filial heart of my beloved Arundel, which I would fain attempt to draw; you will easily perceive that it points to his father; that un­feeling, envious parent has declared to Lord G. [Page 292] that he cannot think of entering this house, which so late belonged to his deceased bro­ther, with whom he was at enmity, and who totally overlooked him in his will. Now it occurs to me that I might write to this Sir Jo­seph, and if Mr. Mortlake does not dissuade from the undertaking, and will help me in the execution of it, a woman's hand, when armed with a weapon of his bestowing, may strike a hard blow upon a callous heart, and perhaps awaken it to some sense of shame at least, if nothing better can be done. Apprize your dear husband of this, and let him turn it in his thoughts, but do not let him suppose I can think of sending any letter to Sir Joseph with­out shewing it first to Arundel, and having his sanction for the attempt.

Farewell.

LETTER CVIII. The Earl of G. to Lady Louisa Arundel.

I WRITE to you from the house of Ma­dame Polberg, where I arrived the day be­fore yesterday, and had the satisfaction to find your dear mother in a fair way to reco­ver, though far from well. She had begun to receive great benefit from the prescriptions of a Doctor Ramsay of Edenborough, who was then with her, and, who being on his return from Bareges, had been sent thither by Sir George Revel, and I confess it was a mark of grateful attention to his benefactress, which gave me a very pleasing impression.

I will not awaken your sensibility by a de­scription of our meeting, further than to tell you in general words, that it was as tender and affecting as my penitence and her forgiveness could make it. I flatter myself the anguish of her mind is now healed, and that she credits me for the sincerity of the professions I have [Page 294] made to her: indeed I have both the evidence of her looks and the assurances of her physician to convince me of the very favorable altera­tion in her health and spirits in the short time I have been with her: notwithstanding this, I shall not have the happiness of bringing her home with me immediately, as Dr. Ramsay very earnestly advises her to winter in the south of France, and I believe it will be de­cided for Montpelier as soon as I can pro­cure the proper passports, of which there is no doubt.

This unforeseen journey will oblige me to throw some trouble on your dear husband, to whom I shall take the liberty of addressing certain powers and commissions for the re­gulation of my affairs at home, particularly as to the sale of my house in Grosvenor Square, and also of my villa at Spring Grove, both which we have jointly determined to dispose of: I must likewise desire him to forward the presentation to Mr. Mortlake's donative, which I left in the hands of my worthy agent, Mr. Green of Lincoln's Inn.

This is the compleatest solitude that can [Page 295] well be imagined; it is early morning, and yet I have had the melancholy curiosity to visit the ever memorable spot in the center of the adjoining wood, where your beloved husband, like Heaven's avenging minister, struck pride and calumny to the ground. It was a scene to call forth all the feelings of my heart; con­science did not pass it over lightly; I humbled myself to the earth, and poured forth my thanksgivings to that merciful Being, who has vouchsafed to shower such blessings on his undeserving creature.

Farewell.

The EDITOR to the READER.

Candid and friendly Reader,

THESE Letters, which I have presented to thee, hoping they may serve to amuse an hour or two of thy leisure, have been collected and arranged by me with some pains in the series as they now stand, but when the principal cor­respondents were married, and the two brides became neighbours, letter-writing no longer was their concern; they had other business upon their hands: but though I cannot for this reason gra­tify thy curiosity with their epistolary correspon­dence, yet if what thou hast read of their past story should interest thee to be told of their suc­ceeding prosperity in the married state, I have the pleasure to inform thee that their domestic happiness has known no interruption.

Arundel and his charming Lady are as much in love with each other as ever; they have strict­ly adhered to that rational plan they set out with, and are beloved and blessed by all their neighbours, rich and poor; by gradual improve­ments [Page 297] they have beautified their place to a very high degree, from the superfluities of their income: Louisa's gardens, flower-houses, dairy and poul­try are the admiration of the whole neighbour­hood; Arundel's farm-houses, cottages, woods and grounds are the talk of the country, and happy are those tenants and laborers who live under him. He is a very respectable mem­ber of Parliament, but no partisan; upon all great questions he is sure to be found in his place and nobody is better heard in the House, but as to taking office I believe there are few things he is more adverse to. Lady Louisa has brought him four fine children, and if I am rightly in­formed his family consists of two boys and two girls.

The Reverend Mr. Mortlake and Lady Jane are wedded to their delicious retirement, and if there is happiness on earth, this amiable couple is in the enjoyment of it. The harmony of their friendship with the house of Arundel has gone on without check or abatement, for the hateful spirit of envy cannot sow discord in such hearts as they are possessed of: they are adored by their parish­ioners, and beloved by all who know them. Lady [Page 298] Jane is the happy mother of five beautiful chil­dren, who, with the little Arundels, make a charming group of playfellows.

The Earl and Countess of G. after passing a winter in the south of France, came home the best of friends, and are retired to their country seat, where they constantly reside, except when they make a visit to their beloved connections at Arun­del House. The mind of that amiable Lady being healed of all its sorrows, she has recovered her health and spirits, and Lord G. declares he has at last discovered wherein true happiness consists.

Admiral John Arundel having fought the good fight, has laid himself up for the peace in a snug little tenement within a few miles of his nephew, which he has fitted up as near as possible to the model of his ship's cabin, where he enjoys himself after his own humour: it is a joyful holiday to all the children when he comes over to Arundel House, as there is no such playfellow in the world as uncle John.

The gallant Earl of S. having cleared his pa­ternal estate from encumbrances and put it into good condition with part of the sum he gained by [Page 299] his captures, has married a Miss Dormer, who is a very amiable and accomplished lady; she is neice to old Lady Treville and the Hon. Mrs. Dormer, and will inherit their forturnes, which are very considerable.

Sir Joseph Arundel has paid the debt of na­ture, but not before he had seen his errors, and reconciled himself to his worthy son by a visit to Arundel House, where he was received with great kindness and respect.

Sir George Revel is at last returned to Eng­land not more perfectly healed of his wounds than by them; he is in all respects a reformed man, and has married a lady of a noble Huguonot fa­mily in the south of France, who promises to make him an excellent wife, and to whom he seems very truly attached.

And now, kind Reader, if thou wilt allow a spare corner on thy shelf for these little volumes and not throw them by with disdain, I hope they will repay thy courtesy some rainy evening, when a trifling book may take its turn for want of bet­ter company; or peradventure they may give thee a lift up a hill, or through the sands, when thy chaise is slowly dragged by a pair of weary post-horses, [Page 300] horses, and thy mind without something to feed upon would perchance be as weary as the beasts that draw thee. At any time, or in any temper, though they may only lull thee into a placid nap, so they amuse thy fancy and not offend thy morals, trust me there does not live a man, who will more truly rejoice to please thee than

Thy devoted friend and servant, R. C.
FINIS.

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