EUPHEMIA.

BY Mrs. CHARLOTTE LENNOX.

IN FOUR VOLUMES. VOL. III.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR T. CADELL, IN THE STRAND; AND J. EVANS, PATERNOSTER-ROW.

M, DCC, XC.

EUPHEMIA.

LETTER XXXV. MRS. NEVILLE TO MISS HARLEY.

MY DEAR MARIA,

I AM still in this delightful soli­tude; Mrs. Montague, on account of a slight indisposition of the governor, could make me but a short visit: but finding my health so much mended since I have been here, she very obligingly pressed me to continue a week longer; and left me the key of a closet which contains her books, among which she said I might possibly find some that would please me. They are indeed generally well chosen.

[Page 2]New York.

HERE I am, again, in the midst of balls, concerts, long dinners, late sup­pers, and a perpetual succession of visits. Miss Bellenden declares it is a charm­ing place: she is universally admired, but has not made one conquest—a cir­cumstance that often attends mere beauty.

IN three days, however, we are to set out for Albany. Miss Bellenden hangs her fair head at this intelligence. That town is remarkable for nothing but the great trade it carries on with the In­dians. The inhabitants are chiefly Dutch, and keep up the customs and manners of their ancestors—the ancient settlers. The officers and their fami­lies must furnish all the gay society she is likely to find there. It is true, her pride will be soothed. Her father is commandant there, and first commis­sioner [Page 3] likewise in civil affairs. He will live in great state; but she will not be happy. However the Colonel, at his lady's request, has taken a house in this city, which he proposes to visit once a year; and Miss Bellenden is a little com­forted by this arrangement.

WE are to perform this long voyage, of a hundred and fifty miles, on Hud­son's river, in one of those little yachts, great numbers of which are continually sailing between New-York and Albany with the Indian trade. We went on board one of them this morning, in or­der to examine the accommodations we are likely to meet with; for calms, or contrary winds, sometimes lengthen this passage to a week or ten days. These vessels are made extremely con­venient for passengers. —There are two cabins in each, destined for their use, one has six beds, three on each side; the space in the middle, contains a large table, chairs, and other conveniences; [Page 4] the furniture of the beds, chairs, and windows is of delicate figured calico. Nothing can exceed the neatness which reigns in every part of these little ves­sels; the boards, even on the deck, are as nice as those of a lady's dressing-room.

ALTHOUGH the Colonel has sent most of his servants already to Albany, yet our company is still large enough to re­quire three of these yachts to convey us. It is settled, that Mrs. Bellenden, the three young ladies, myself, and Mrs. Bellenden's woman, are to go in one sloop; Mrs. Benson, with Fanny and some female servants, will occupy the cabin in another; the Colonel, with Mr. Neville, and some officers from New-York, who, out of respect, attend him to Albany, will lead the van. To­morrow will be devoted to farewel vi­sits; and the next day we shall em­bark.

NOT one line have I been able to write to my dear Maria for these ten days past. Our voyage lasted eight days, because we would have it so. — I will explain this circumstance to you in due time. And now being tolera­bly well settled, and having full leisure for the sweetest employment of my life, conversing (so I will call it) with you —I will go on with my usual prolixity.

AFTER a tedious day spent in the ceremonial of leave-taking, we retired early to rest, hoping to go on board quietly in the morning, without any further parade; but in this we were mistaken. —All the officers, and many of the principal gentlemen in the place, came to wait upon the Colonel, and at­tend him to the water side: some ladies also paid the same compliment to Mrs. [Page 6] Bellenden; in a word, we had a nume­rous train.

CAPTAIN Wilmot brought my sweet Edmund to take leave of me again. I thought I should never get loose from his arms; he hung about me in tears, even sobbing with the violence of his emotions; the Captain, at last, forced him away.

THE cannon from the battery saluted the Colonel's yacht as it passed; and the ladies of the fort family (for that is the phrase here), did us the honour to come out, and waved their handker­chiefs to us. We had little wind, but that favourable; and we sailed slowly along upon the most delightful river imaginable, the shores on each side ex­hibiting a prospect, sometimes all beau­tifully wild and romantic, sometimes rich with flourishing plantations, and elegant mansions.

[Page 7]WHEN dinner-time approached, the skipper (for that is the title given to the Dutch commander of these little vessels) told us, that if we chose to dine on shore, he would come to an anchor near any spot we liked best; that the trees would afford us shade, and the mossy banks a table and seats. We all approved of this hint; Clara especi­ally, who is a little romantic.

WE pitched upon a very pastoral scene, and the boat carried us on shore; we sent it immediately to fetch Mrs. Benson; and soon afterwards the Co­lonel, who from his yacht had ob­served what was doing, joined us with his company. We had a very elegant cold collation; for our good friends at New-York had, unknown to us, sent a profusion of delicacies to increase our stores.

WE did not part till the evening, when, a fresh breeze springing up, we [Page 8] hastened on board our separate vessels, and made a great deal of way in the night; but in the morning we were again becalmed, and as we moved slowly along the liquid plain, which was as smooth as glass, we were at leisure to admire the magnificent scene that pre­sented itself to our eyes. —The river here being very narrow, running be­tween a ridge of mountains on each side, whose tops, covered with groves of lofty trees, seemed to hide their heads in the clouds, while their sloping sides were adorned with the most beautiful ver­dure, and trees of many species un­known to us. The awful gloom from the surrounding shades, the solemn still­ness, inspired a soft and pleasing melan­choly, which we enjoyed in silence, be­ing, as the poet says, "rapt in pensive musing"

MISS Bellenden, mean time, diverted herself with asking our skipper a thou­sand silly questions; and he, in the [Page 9] course of their conversation, informed her, that even among these wilds some inhabitants were to be found, who lived there secluded from all converse with their species, except, sometimes, a strag­gling Indian or two would stumble, by chance, upon their dwellings in the la­byrinth of the woods. They subsisted, he said, upon the milk of their cows, some game, when they were able to catch it, and the spontaneous fruits of the earth.

OUR curiosity was strongly excited by this account; we were impatient to see these persons, whose manners, we sup­posed, must be as savage as their way of life.

THE skipper attended us on shore. — And Mrs. Bellenden, as lively and en­terprising as the youngest of us, walked the wild, fearless and untired; but no human creature could we see; and, after traversing many a rugged path, and [Page 10] climbing up many a steep ascent, we were upon the point of giving over our fruitless search, when we heard the tinkling of a bell; we followed the found, and presently discovered a cow, paceing slowly along a winding path in the woods, which, we supposed, led to some habitation.

WE pursued her tract, and in a few moments came to a delightful spot, en­tirely cleared of under-wood, shaded with trees of a most beautiful foliage, with flowering shrubs between, and a luxurious growth of honeysuckles twin­ing round their trunks. A spring of the clearest water ran meandering amongst their roots, and meeting with a hol­low, which seemed to have been a little assisted by art, formed a bason that sup­plied the necessities of the family.

AT a small distance stood an oven built of clay; a large platter, formed of the same materials, hardened in the [Page 11] sun, stood upon the top, full of wild pigeons, of which, in this season of the year, it seems there is great plenty; they had been baked in the oven, which was preparing a second dish to furnish out the repast, consisting of peaches, which grow wild in such plenty, that they feed their hogs with them all over this country.

WE now ventured to enter the cot­tage; the sides of which were of clay, supported on the out-side by thick branches of trees strongly fastened to­gether, the roof thatched very firmly, and the chimney very well contrived, and formed of bricks, which seemed to have been the work of the same archi­tect.

I TOOK notice, that the fire-place was of an enormous size; the skipper said, not larger than was needful. The winters here are intensely cold, it seems; and the inhabitants of this cottage can, [Page 12] with very little labour, supply themselves with plenty of fuel.

IN one corner was their bed, com­posed of dry leaves and bear skins. On some rudely fashioned shelves, we saw several large clay vessels full of milk, which had thrown up a very rich cream. We were very desirous of taking some away with us for our tea, but was at a loss what to put it in. —Miss Clara, searching about, found some cocoa-nut shells, which had been sawed in two, and were ranged like tea-cups on a shelf; we filled one of these with cream, which we skimmed with a wooden spoon we saw there; and having deposited some half-crowns and shillings, as payment for what we had taken, were preparing to depart, when the Dutchman, looking at us with a mixture of contempt and sur­prise in his countenance, exclaimed— 'No, no, this must not be' and was sweeping all the money, except one shil­ling, into his hat, when Mrs. Bellen­den [Page 13] observing what he was about, or­dered him, in a peremptory tone, to put it back; which he did, with a sor­rowful look, shrugging up his shoul­ders, and shaking his head at the same time.

WE now heard a coarse voice, which, however, seemed to be that of a woman, calling aloud; at which we were a little frightened; but the skipper told us, it was the mistress of the cottage calling her cow by name; we went out to meet her; but the poor creature was in so much astonishment and terror at our ap­pearance, that she seemed ready to fall to the ground.

A CHILD about two years old, which she held in her arms, seeing us approach, almost stunned us with its screams; and even the cow, who, obedient to the call of its mistress, was hastening to her, no sooner saw us, than, as if struck with a [Page 14] panic likewise, it turned about, and trotted back into the woods.

IT was impossible to help laugh­ing at the general consternation our appearance had occasioned. We would fain have entered into some conversation with the good woman, but, besides that she did not understand a word of English, and we could not talk Dutch, when we offered to go near her, she would draw back a few paces in evident terror.

OUR conductor having spoke to her a few minutes in Dutch, she seemed better reconciled to us, and paid her respects often, in somewhat between a bow and a curtsey. We shewed her the cream we had taken, and pointed to the money we had left in return for it; to which we added something more; and observing that the poor woman was wretchedly clothed, and that the in­fant [Page 15] was more than half naked, we col­lected our cambrick pocket-handker­chiefs together, and even added our aprons, and gave her.

SHE received our gifts with strong expressions of gratitude, and accom­panied us part of our way to the boat, often calling on her husband, who, how­ever, did not appear, and who was pro­bably not within hearing.

THE condition of these poor people seems to be bad; and I do not find that they receive much relief from the wealthy owners of the rich plantati­ons, which are in the neighbourhood of these high lands. The many that need, and the many that deny pity, make up the bulk of mankind.

OUR navigation down this delightful river lasted eight days; it is true, we [Page 16] protracted it to this time, by the fre­quent excursions we made on shore. — Some of these I have given you an ac­count of, which, I am afraid, will ap­pear rather tedious; for it is no easy matter to entertain eyes that are not accustomed to fix upon vulgar objects, and to administer pleasure to a mind that is actuated only by lawful passions.

THE Colonel was received here with much ceremony: the cannon from the fort was fired; the soldiers, headed by their officers, were drawn up on the beach; the mayor, with the principal citizens, attended his landing, and con­ducted him to the fort, where the com­manding officer always resides.

THIS is a regular fortification, situated upon a steep hill, which, overlooks the town, and has within it a large and ele­gant house for the commander, and convenient barracks for the soldiers, with a guard-room, and a handsome [Page 17] apartment for the lieutenant upon duty.

MRS. Bellenden had reason to be satisfied with the care and diligence of her servants; who had been sent some weeks before with the baggage. —She found her apartments in very good or­der; and I left her and the young ladies in high spirits, delighted with the new and strange objects around them, and retired to a ready furnished house in the town, which Mr. Neville had taken care to have provided for me.

THIS town is worse built than New-York; few of the houses have an elegant appearance on the out-side, but an ex­cessive neatness reigns within. The language, the manners, the dress, all Dutch.

DURING the whole time of my resi­dence in New-York, I had never seen any of the savages; but they are often to [Page 18] be met with here. The Indian trade is very considerable, and has enriched many of the inhabitants of Albany; who at present, however, do not make the enormous profits they did formerly. The indians, under such excellent mas­ters of traffic as the Dutch, have ac­quired a knowledge of the successful artifices of trade, and are sometimes a match even for them in knavery.

THEY take great liberties with the town's people, entering their houses freely, if they find the doors open, and seating themselves wherever they like best, remain several hours together without being disturbed.

I HAD as yet seen an Indian only from my window. When going one day into my kitchen, to give some orders to my cook, I was extremely alarmed to see one of these savages seated by the fire, smoking his pipe very composedly. His appearance had driven away all my ser­vants, [Page 19] but a black woman, employed in the drudgery of the kitchen; and, in­deed, that appearance was shocking enough to justify their fears.

HE had a fierce and menacing look; his copper-coloured face was painted in round spots of red, yellow, and black; his hair strewed with some kind of powder of a deep red, which looked like blood streaming from different wounds in his head; his ears were stretched to an enormous length by the weight of the strange ornaments he wore in them, pieces of tin, glass, strings of shells, brass rings, and even slips of woollen cloth of several colours, which hung down to his shoulders.

HIS dress was a shirt made of Osna­burgh linen, a short petticoat of the same, which reached to his knees, in the manner of the Scotch highlanders, and, over all, a mantle of coarse flannel, which, being a beau, was adorned with [Page 20] several narrow borders of scarlet list— He had a large knife hanging at a kind of girdle, unsheathed, ready for mis­chief, as I thought.

THIS tremenduous object continued to smoke his pipe, without taking any notice of me, while I stood motionless with surprise and fear. When the black girl came up close to me, whispering, in her gibberish, ‘You must be no fraid of Indian, my lady,’ said she, ‘if Indian see you fraid of him, he be quite mad.’

THIS hint made me endeavour to recollect myself; and, all trembling as I was, I ventured to approach him, and very humbly dropt him a curtsey, which he returned with a nod, crying, ‘Hoh, hoh!’ in a voice, however, less terrible than his looks.

I THEN ordered some cold meat and bread to be set before him, at which he [Page 21] seemed greatly pleased; and making him another curtsey, with trembling knees, for I was still dreadfully fright­ened, I went to find Mrs. Benson, and related my adventure; she, not at all dismayed, was eager to take a view of my savage guest; her courage embold­ened Fanny and the cook. The Indian, without minding them, eat like a wolf, and when he was satisfied, fell fast asleep.

WE knew not how to get him away; when, fortunately, Mr. Neville came in. We told him in what perplexity we were; and he immediately marched into the kitchen, making, on purpose, a great noise on his entrance, which roused the Indian, who, seeing him dressed in regimentals, for he was just come off guard, started up, shook hands with him very cordially, and went away.

THEY pay great respect to the mili­tary, and never presume to come unin­vited [Page 22] into their houses; a circumstance I was extremely glad to hear; for such intrusion, if frequent, would have made me very miserable.

THIS city, as I have already observed, carries on a great trade wirh the Indians, who barter furrs for blankets, Osnaburgh shirts, guns, hatchets, knives, kettles, powder and shot, and many other arti­cles. Here the treaties, and other transactions, between us and the Iro­quois Indians are negociated. And every third year, the governor of New­York comes here to meet them, and re­new the alliance.

THIS nation, or rather combination of five nations, united by an ancient and inviolable league among themselves, are the oldest, the most steady, and most effectual ally we have found among the Indians. By their unanimity, firmness, military skill, and policy, they have raised themselves to be the most [Page 23] formidable power in all America. They have reduced a great number of other nations under their dominion; and a territory twice as large as the kingdom of France.

THE five nations of the Iroquois compose the most celebrated common­wealth of Indians in America.

THE nations of America are at a great distance from each other, with a vast desert frontier, and hid in the bosom of hideous, and almost boundless forests. The Mohawks, a tribe of the Iroquois, who dwell nearest our settlements, are converted to christianity, and conse­quently, in some degree, civilized. The government pays a clergyman, who officiates in their chapel, which was built for them by Queen Anne, who likewise presented them with a fine set of alter­plate, and other decorations for it.

[Page 24]There is a fort here, called by the name of a former governor, in which there is a small garrison, commanded by a lieutenant, who may be relieved every year; but the present officer, Mr. Butler, either because he is fond of command, or the emoluments arising from it, pe­titioned to be continued in it, and has actually lived there ten years. The In­dians love him, and have presented him with lands to a considerable value. — They have been equally generous to their spiritual pastor, who is likewise a great favorite with them.

IT is these Mohawks who come amongst us so frequently at Albany. Though converts to our faith, they pre­serve most of their ancient customs. — Religion seems to have but little in­fluence upon their conduct and manners. Their virtues are their own; their vices often copied from their enlightened allies.

[Page 25]THE Indians are tall, their limbs strait and well proportioned, their bodies are strong, but of a species of strength, it is said, rather fitted for much hard­ship, than to continue long at any ser­vile work, by which they are quickly consumed. Their heads are flattened by art, their features are regular, but their countenance fierce; they have long black lank hair, no beards, their skins a reddish brown, a colour admired among them, and improved by the constant use of bear's-grease and paint.

THE whole fashion of their lives is of a piece, hardy, poor, and squalid; and their education, from their infancy, is solely directed to fit their bodies for this mode of life, and to form their minds to a capacity of enduring and in­flicting the greatest evils.

THEIR only occupations are war and hunting; agriculture is left to the wo­men; [Page 26] for merchandize they have the greatest contempt. When their hunt­ing season is past, the fatigues of which they suffer with much patience, and in which they exert great ingenuity, they pass the rest of their time in an entire indolence—sleep half the day in their huts, and observe no bounds in eating. Drinking they were not addicted to, having no spirituous liquors among them; but since they have acquired this taste, it has given a spur to their indus­try, and enjoyment to their repose.

THIS is the principal end of all their treaties with us; and from this they suf­fer inexpressible calamities; for having once begun to drink, they observe no measure, but continue a succession of drunkenness as long as the means of procuring liquor lasts. —Even the Mo­hawk christians are guilty of this excess; and, when intoxicated, are capable of committing the greatest cruelties.

[Page 27]THEY are grave even to sadness in their deportment, upon any serious oc­casion; observant of those in company, and respectful to the old. Their tem­per cool and deliberate; never in haste to speak before they have well considered the matter, and are sure the person who spoke before them has finished all he had to say. They express great con­tempt for the vivacity of the Europeans, who interrupt each other, and fre­quently speak all together. The tone of their voice is soft and agreeable; that of the women, I am told, is won­derfully sweet and harmonious.

ALL I have told you of the Indians, and much more that I have yet to tell you, you must not imagine is the result of my own observations, for which I have had but few opportunities yet; but the substance of some conversations with a very sensible man, whom Mr. Neville met with at the Colonel's, and intro­duced to my acquaintance. He came [Page 28] to America merely to gratify a curiosity, which has carried him over half the world, I believe, and is but lately re­turned from Oswego, a factory on the lake Ontario, which is at a great dis­tance from hence. We have a fort there, by which most of the Indians pass in their way to Montreal.

IN this wild region, inhabited only by savages, did Mr. Euston pass a whole year. The officer who commanded the detachment sent thither to relieve the small garrison being his friend, he ac­companied him in his tedious march; and came back with him when he also was relieved in his turn.

IT seemed to me surprising that a man, formed by nature, and enabled by fortune, to enjoy all the elegances of life, could voluntary waste so great a part of his time among a race of beings, in appearance so truly wretched. He smiled at the compassion, mixed with [Page 29] horror, which I testified for their condition; and combated my notions in a manner so new and amusing, that I cannot forbear giving you a specimen of some of his arguments, which, he told me, were all drawn from the cele­brated Abbé Reynal. ‘It is in the nature of man, says that sensible and elegant writer,’ pursued he, ‘that we must look for his means of happiness. What does he want to be as happy as he can be? —present subsistence; and if he thinks of futurity—the hopes, and certainty of enjoying that blessing. The savage who has not been driven into, nor confined within the frigid zones by civilized societies, is not in want of this first of necessaries; if he lays in no stores, it is because the earth and the seas are reservoirs, always open to supply his wants—fish and game are to be had all the year, and will supply the want of fertility in the dead seasons.’

[Page 30] ‘THE savage indeed, says the ele­gant writer whose words I quote, has no house well secured from the access of external air, or commodious fire­places; but his furrs answer all the purposes of the roof, the garment, and the stove. He works but for his own occasions; sleeps when he is weary, and is a stranger to watchings and restless nights. War is a matter of choice to him; danger, like labour, is a con­dition of his nature, not a profession annexed to his birth—a national duty, not a domestic servitude.’

‘THE savage is serious, but not me­lancholy; his countenance seldom bears the impression of those passions and disorders, that leave such shocking and fatal traits on ours. He cannot seel the want of what he does not de­sire; nor can he desire what he is ignorant of. Most of the convenlences of life are remedies for evils he does [Page 31] not feel. He seldom experiences any of that weariness that arises from unsa­tisfied desires; or that emptiness and uneasiness of mind, that is the offspring of prejudice and vanity. In a word, the savage is subject to none but na­tural evils.’

My philosopher, observing I listened to him with pleasure, went on with his quotations. ‘What greater happiness than this, says the Abbé, does the civil­ized man enjoy? His food is more wholesome and delicate than that of the savage; he has softer clothes, and a habitation better secured against the inclemencies of the weather. But should he live under a government, where ty­ranny must be endured under the name of authority—to what outrages is not the civilized man exposed! If he is possessed of any property, he knows not how far he may call it his own; when he must, divide the produce between the courtier, who may attack [Page 32] his estate; the lawyer, who must be paid for teaching him how to preserve it; the soldier, who may lay it waste; and the collector, who comes to levy unlimited taxes.’

IT must be confessed, this picture, though a little overcharged, is not ill drawn. Mr. Neville listens with great pleasure to this gentleman's account of the customs and manners of the American nations. He is so fond of change of scene, and of varying his modes of life, that I should not be surprised to find him envying Mr. Butler's situation, and soliciting to have his turn in that command, in order to enjoy the new and untried pleasures of an abode on the lake Ontario.

THE ladies of the fort have had full employment, for some weeks past, in receiving the visits of all the Dutch families who have pretensions to the honour of being received there. Their [Page 33] manners, their dress, their conversation, are so strange, so uncouth, so rudely fa­miliar, that I am not surprised at the disgust they create. Mrs. Bellenden, who is perfectly well bred, and who ranks politeness, I believe, amongst the cardinal virtues, conceals, with the ut­most caution, her dislike of these strange visitants; and the less they seem intitled to her delicate attentions, she is the more assiduous in practising them, as if she hoped to civilize them by example. —Meantime they stare, and are con­founded when she addresses them, and either do not answer at all, or in a man­ner so rude and strange, that she blushes, is confused, and silent.

MISS Bellenden seldom speaks, but her looks express a contempt of her company, which her mother often checks by a significant glance. As for Clara, she continues to be extremely busy with her knotting, apparently to prevent the ludicrous ideas, that are ex­cited [Page 34] in her mind, from appearing in her countenance; but the archness of her stolen glances do not escape the notice of her mamma, who seems ex­tremely apprehensive, lest the young ladies should fail in any article of polite­ness to her unpolished guests.

MRS. Benson understands the Dutch language sufficiently to enable her to keep up a little conversation with these ladies, which is a great relief to Mrs. Bellenden, and equal pleasure to them; who, although they can all speak English, yet are very shy in conversing in that language, so that they discoursed chiefly with each other.

My rank not giving me the privilege of being as slow in returning their visits as Mrs. Bellenden, Mrs. Benson and I have already paid our respects to several of the chief families here. We were entertained in a very hospitable manner, which, it seems, is the custom of the [Page 35] place; for immediately after the tea equipage was removed, a large table was brought out, and covered with a damask table cloth, exquisitely white and fine; upon this table were placed several sorts of cakes, and tea-bread, with pats of the most delicate butter, plates of hung-beef and ham, shaved ex­tremely fine, wet and dry sweetmeats, every kind of fruit in season, pistacchio and other nuts, all ready cracked with an instrument for that purpose; the liquors were cyder, mead, and Madeira wine. — All these things were served in the finest china and glass; and if we did not eat heartily, it was not for want of example, for our good hosts shewed as keen an appetite for this, their third meal since the morning, as if they had not till then broke their fast.

OUR thin European regale of a dish of tea, and a slice of cake, must have appeared very parsimonious to persons accustomed to such plentiful afternoon [Page 36] collations; and I resolved, when I was visited next by my new friends, I would endeavour to treat them in their own way. But Mrs. Bellenden was to­tally against complying with this custom; not from an over-attention to oeconomy, for she is hospitable in the highest de­gree, but because it seemed a great of­fence to delicacy, and against every rule of decorum, to turn a visit into a coarse substantial meal.

THIS lady is indeed not only hospita­ble, but has a taste for expence, which, in some measure, defeats the purpose for which the Colonel, her husband, left his native country, at an age somewhat advanced, to pass the remainder of his days in America, that he might save fortunes for his children.

THE distinguished rank the Colonel holds in this province, obliges him to observe certain forms, which indeed in­clude a considerable expence, but which [Page 37] is made much more considerable by the high notions Mrs. Bellenden entertains of what his station requires of him. On all public days, it is usual for the mayor, the aldermen, and the principal inha­bitants of the city, to appear at the fort in their best dress to compliment the commandant; on these occasions, not only cake and wine are, by Mrs. Bellenden's orders, handed about in great plenty, but there is always a ball at night, and an elegant supper for a select party. Besides this, her table is open to all strangers of any fashion, who visit Albany; and there is now a greater, resort than ever, drawn by the beauty of the young ladies, and the hos­pitable and elegant manners of the com­mandant and his lady.

IT is chiefly of such strangers that the assembly, Mrs. Bellenden holds every fortnight, is composed; for ex­cept the officers and their wives, and two or three of the most polished per­sons [Page 38] sons in the place, none of the inhabit­ants are either qualified, or indeed desirous, to assist at these entertain­ments.

THE Colonel, always keeping his laudable purpose in view, would wil­lingly draw his expences within a nar­rower circle, that is, such as he thinks merely ostentatious; but whatever his rank really requires, he willingly assents to; and to the calls of generosity and benevolence he attends with unres­trained liberality.

ONE instance I must give you, my dear Maria, of this worthy man's hu­manity and greatness of soul.

Soon after his arrival here, his first lieutenant, who held the command during his absence, presented him a list of men in his own company, who being, on account of their age and in­firmities, judged wholly unfit for the [Page 39] easiest duty, were ordered home to be re­ceived into Chelsea hospital.

THE Colonel, hearing that some of these soldiers were near an hundred years of age, desired to see them particularly; accordingly they were all presented to him in the great hall, where the ladies of the fort, myself, and some other com­pany, were assembled to view them.

OF this venerable group, the youngest was eighty-two years old; several were an hundred, and one was an hundred and ten. Here was a strong proof of the goodness of the climate; and it is said, and experience has proved it true, that the Europeans who come hither young generally live to a very great age.

THESE old men looked surprisingly healthy; but they seemed discontented, and even sad. The Colonel, after con­versing with each of them a few mo­ments, at length observed the melan­choly [Page 40] air of their countenances, and asked them the cause. —One of the oldest then came forward, and making a low reverence,

'SIR,' said he, ‘my companions and I are in great trouble, and if your Honour will be pleased to listen to our grievances, we shall be bound to pray for your Honour.’

'LISTEN to your grievances!' inter­rupted the Colonel, with an affectionate tone, ‘Aye, my good friends, and re­dress them too, if in my power.’

'OH, SIR,' replied the old man, ‘we have all heard, before you came, that you are a noble gentleman. —God bless you for your kind speech. This, please your Honour, is our very hard case—’

‘I AND my companions here, Sir, were young fellows when we left Old England; and yet we have seen some [Page 41] sarvice too—and we have been upon hard sarvice in our time here too, and fought wich French and Indians, and spilt our blood for Old England and this here America, which is all one as our native land to us now. We married wives here, and have children and grand-children, and great-grand­children; and all we love is here, and we are used to the climate; so that it is a great hardship to be sent to die from our friends.’

‘SOME years ago, please your Honour, seventeen of our comrades were sent over, very old men they were, and eleven of them died on board the ship, and never set foot on land; and the other six did not live many weeks after they came on shore. And it is likely it will be the same with us, for we are very old; and if we should be strong enough to bear the voyage, and the change of climate, we shall break our hearts at leaving our children and friends.’

[Page 42]THE poor old soldier ended his sim­ple and affecting oration with another low reverence, and retired backward to his rank. We could perceive a tear or two drop on his silver beard. His com­panions discovered great emotion all the time he was speaking; and they all waited the Colonel's answer with ap­parent anxiety.

THE Colonel, approaching them with an air of ineffable sweetnese and bene­volence, bid them not be uneasiy; he would consider their case, and they should have no reason to complain.

THEY were beginning to express their joy and gratitude, in praises and blessings on their commander, when the lieute­nant I mentioned before, whose name is Blood, a name well suited to his nature I believe, went hastily up to the Colo­nel; the old men, observing this mo­tion, became silent on a sudden, and [Page 43] beheld him with looks, in which fear and aversion were strongly marked.

'SIR,' said Mr. Blood to the Colonel, ‘permit me the liberty of representing to you the consequence of these men's petition. —They have been on the su­perannuated list for several months, ex­cused from duty, and are consigned to Chelsea-hospital. Their names are struck out of the muster-roll, and their places supplied by six effective men who have been enlisted in their stead, so that your company is com­plete; and if these men are not sent to England, their pay must, for the future, come out of your own pocket.’

THE Colonel with a smile, not wholly free from contempt, made no reply, but turned from him; and addressing himself to the anxious veterans—

'MY friends,' said he, ‘this matter depends wholly upon me I find; there|'fore [Page 44] I am not willing to leave you a moment in suspence. None of you shall be sent to England; you shall stay here among your friends, and end your days in ease and quiet. Your pay shall run on as usual; and now you may withdraw, and drink the King's health.’ Saying this, he or­dered a servant to conduct them to the butler's pantry, and directed that they should have a plentiful repast, and a proper quantity of liquor.

THE gratitude of these old men was now too great for words; but their em­phatic silence, accompanied with tears, and eyes and hands listed up to Heaven in mental prayer for their benefactor, af­fected us all extremely. Every eye was fixed on the Colonel, with an expression of admiration and delight; every tongue congratulated him upon the heart­felt satisfaction he had, by this noble act, both given and received. But Mr. Blood, sullenly silent, scowled scorn [Page 45] and anger from his black-beetle brows, and bowing more carelessly than became him, withdrew.

MR. Neville tells me, this officer is universally hated by the soldiers, for his pride, rapaciousness, and severity. He has lived here many years, and being the oldest lieutenant in the service, when the commandant dies the command of the garrison, and all the forces here, de­volves upon him, till another is ap­pointed by the King, and arrives here.

HE has had the good luck to survive four of his commanders, and, during each interval of another appointment, has enjoyed all the power and emolu­ments of their post. Hence he seems to claim a prescriptive right to possess this dignity, and has been heard to boast, that Colonel Bellenden, who does not seem built for duration, he says, will not long keep him out of it.

[Page 46]HEAVEN grant he may be mistaken! What a pity that the life of a man, who is an honour to human nature, should be short. Yet surely, he who may compute his existence, not by the num­ber of his years, but his good actions, may be truly said to live long; for good actions are the seeds of immorta­lity.

I AM transported with joy, my dear Maria! I have a letter from you this moment; it was brought in the Colo­nel's packet. Oh! how generous, how kind, to be thus diligent in writing to me. I have locked myself up, and am visible to no eye, that I may enjoy un­interrupted the dear luxury of conver­sing with you.

LETTER XXXVI. MISS HARLEY TO MRS. NEVILLE.

MY DEAR EUPHEMIA,

IT is now five months since you left England: time has not lessened my regrets for our separation, nor weaken­ed the ardor of my unavailing wishes for the blessing of your society. I re­member all the arguments your good sense employed to comfort me; I ap­prove them all, but I can apply none of them yet. My uncle rallies, reproaches, and even threatens me for the obstinacy of my grief for your loss. He tells me it will have a dangerous effect upon Mr. Harley, who has rea­son [Page 48] to be jealous of a friendship that leaves him but the second place in my affection. But, without settling the ar­ticle of precedence in this case, I referred him to what Mr. Harley said a few days after your departure, as it was repeated to me by Mr. Greville.

‘MISS Harley's sensibility on this oc­casion,’ said he, ‘is the foundation of all my hopes. From a heart so capable of a sincere attachment, the man who is so happy as to be her choice, may expect all the refinements of a delicate passion, with all the perma­nence of a generous friendship.’

THIS young man has, by his amiable qualities, so endeared himself to my uncle, that he is uneasy when he is ab­sent, even for a day; but to the claims of a mother, neither his gratitude nor his love can render him in the smallest degree inattentive. Sir John has obli­ged him to fix his residence at the Hall; [Page 49] but he never fails to visit Mrs. Harley three or four times a week, and often stays a night at her house.

I HAVE been twice to wait on her, and was received with a profusion of kindness. She affected to call me daughter, and the young ladies caressed me like a sister. With their caresses indeed I was much pleased, and re­turned them very affectionately; but, whether I was prejudiced against Mrs. Harley's sincerity by the ac­count I had received of the early part of her conduct, or that the professions she made me wanted that ingenuous and cordial air which carries them directly to the heart, I received them with fewer marks of gratitude than were due to them, if sincere; but I made up in respect what I wanted in tenderness, and my acknowledgments, such as they were, passed current with a heart which seemed too little interested in them to take the trouble of distinguishing be­tween appearances and reality.

[Page 50]This lady, my dear Euphemia, has been very beautiful; the has one of those mischief-making faces which have produced much disorder in the world, and which, but too often, make an effectual apology for the faults of the head and heart. I took notice that she blushed when I delivered her a compli­ment from my uncle, which at that time I thought I could easily account for, but which I have since better un­derstood.

WHEN we returned from this visit, Sir John was very particular in his en­quiries concerning the brothers and sisters of Mrs. Harley; but in what re­garded Mr. Harley he appeared ex­tremely cold and indifferent. She soon after, at my desire, received an invitation to spend some days at the Hall with her young family.

MR. Harley set out in my uncle's coach to conduct her, and Mr. Gre­ville [Page 51] drove me in the phaeton as far as — to meet them. During our ride, he-was very urgent with me to give him my opinion of Mrs. Harley▪ but in this case I kept within a re­serve, which I thought due to the cha­racter in which I was shortly to regard this lady.

'COME, come,' said he, ‘I know you have too much sincerity to deceive the world, and too much understand­ing to be deceived yourself. You will never be a favourite with your mother­in-law that is to be—it is impossible to be virtuous with the approbation of those who are not so themselves; but you may be very easy with her, pro­vided you can be contented with ap­pearances.’

‘All commerce with the world in general,’ pursued he, ‘is merely amuse­ment, and tends to make one believe that people only meet together to im­pose [Page 52] upon each other: the reasonable sew are friends, and see each other as they are; the rest are only ac­quaintances, and make up one great masquerade.’

MR. Greville having gone thus far, which was plainly with an intention to put me upon my guard against those natural impulses of affection and confi­dence, which young and innocent minds are apt too freely to indulge towards persons with whom they are newly connected, and which, when not re­turned with equal sincerity, produce discontent, complaints, and sometimes indecent quarrels and reproaches; chang­ed the discourse to subjects more agree­able, till the coach, with our expected guests, appeared in view.

MR. Harley, who rode on horseback, no sooner perceived the phaeton, than he galloped up to us with a speed and impetuosity, which made Mr, Greville [Page 53] look at me, and smile. The carriages met, and stopped: after a few compli­ments had passed, I desired Mrs. Har­ley to permit me to accompany her in the coach the rest of the way. She ap­peared to take this as I wished, an in­stance of respect; for which Mr. Harley, in gratitude, I suppose, thought fit to kiss my hand with a most lover-like ardour, as he helped me into the coach.

THE children were rejoiced to see me; and Mrs. Harley said a great many obliging things, and was in high spirits. I was surprised at her deportment; the occasion indeed seemed to call for for­titude, which she doubtless possessed in an uncommon degree. She was soon to see a man whom she had deceived, in­jured, and forsaken, yet to whose gene­rosity she must owe her future subsist­ence, and the establishment of her children. These circumstances did not appear to excite any uneasy reflexions, [Page 54] or produce the least perplexity in her behaviour.

I WATCHED her looks when the coach drove up the avenue; they were per­fectly serene. My uncle very politely, but not without some little discompo­sure, came to help her out of the coach. With an unaltered cheek, and an air perfectly easy, she gave him her hand; and as he led her up the stairs, address­ed some indifferent conversation to him, which he answered with great gravity.

As soon as we entered the room, she presented her two daughters and her little boy to him. The girls are pretty and genteel. He gave them an oblig­ing reception, and caressed the boy, who is extremely like his brother.

DURING this ceremony Mr. Greville remained silent, observing all that passed with a fixed attention. Mr. Harley had [Page 55] drawn me to a window, to listen to some tender trifles, which, I consess, interested me much less than the scene between Mrs. Harley and my uncle.

SHE had not neglected her dress, which, being second mourning, admit­ed some elegances very advantageous to her person; and she seemed still con­scious of its attractions, and to think they had not yet lost all their force upon a heart which was once enslaved by them.

SIR John, taken up with the chil­dren, had not yet met her looks, which, armed with all their fascinating powers, were level led full at him, as he now, for the first time, railed his eyes to her sace; but he stood the shock with such unaffected composure and indif­ference, as seemed to mortify her a little; however, she soon recovered her­self, and the conversation becoming ge­neral [Page 56] my uncle mixed in it with his usual good humour and politeness.

At night, when I left her in her apartment, she embraced me with great tenderness, and seemed perfectly satis­fied with the progress she had made that day in her design of pleasing; for va­nity is easily fed, and the many little engaging arts she practised, to draw my uncle's notice upon her, sometimes pro­duced their effect, and gave to those attentions, which politeness demanded of him, a certain gallant air, which she explained as she pleased;.

SHE had continued a fortnight at the Hall, without giving the least intima­tion when she meant to put an end to her visit. Her design upon my uncle's heart seemed apparent; Mr. Greville looked grave upon it.—And one day, after heedfully observing her manner, he drew me aside to a window.

[Page 57]'WHAT can this woman mean,' said he, ‘by the airs she gives herself? Har­ley had need to look about him; or he may have the singular good fortune to be cut out of his succession, by the selfish views of a mother.’

THIS was carrying his suspicions very far. I combated them for the honour of my sex. But reflecting upon Mrs. Harley's ungenerous conduct in the early part of her life, the thing did not seem improbable.

MR. Greville protracted his visit to an unconscionable length, as he himself observed, that he might not leave his friend exposed without succour to such a dangerous attack. I could perceive that his presence often checked Mrs. Harley in her career of coquetry, and that she wished his abscence most de­voutly; for he watched her motions so assiduously, that she could, never, gain [Page 58] an opportunity of being with Sir John alone.

HE was boasting of his dexterous ma­nagement, on this occasion, one day as he was standing with me at one of the windows of my dressing-room, which overlooked the terrace, when I pointed out to him Mrs. Harley and my uncle walking together, engaged, as it seemed, in a very serious conversation.

'How could this happen?' said he, with some emotion. ‘I left Sir John in his library; and Mrs. Harley, you said, complained of some indisposition this morning. Well, I am resolved to interrupt them, however.’ He took his hat immediately, and crossing the terrace, as if he meant to go into one of the alleys, my uncle called to him, and he joined them, not greatly to the satisfaction of Mrs. Harley, as he told me afterwards, which appeared too plainly by her looks.

[Page 59]THESE tête-à-tête airings became, at length very frequent; and Mr. Har­ley, charmed with the good intelligence that subsisted between his mother and Sir John, implored me to consent to his making use of her growing interest with him, to press the conclusion of our marriage; a subject he could not take the liberty to enter upon himself. This, for obvious reasons, I would not consent to; so that there were some discontented faces among us. I could not approve of Mrs. Harley's behaviour; Mr. Gre­ville was enraged at it; and her son seemed apprehensive of delays, without knowing why.

THINGS were in this state, when one day, after a long conversation with Mrs. Harley in private, my uncle sent for me into his library, and immediately afterwards, desired a servant to tell Mr. Greville he wanted to speak with him. Upon his entrance, my uncle shutting the door after him, took his hand, and [Page 60] leading him up to the window where I stood, wondering what this preparation was to end in.

'I WISHED to consult you both,' said he, ‘upon a matter which presses my thoughts very much. I know not whether what I have resolved on will meet with your approbation; but I am sure I mean well; and the world—’

'PRITHEE, my good friend,' said Mr. Greville, interrupting him impa­tiently, ‘tell us the matter without any further preface. If you have resolved, why let the world talk. —It is not the first time it has talked, you know.’

'OF what?' replied my uncle, a lit­tle surprised. ‘The world knows no­thing of my intentions in this case.’

'OH, no,' said Mr. Greville, smiling, ‘but the world is very good at guessing sometimes.’

[Page 61]'You are part of this world,' said my uncle, ‘tell me what hae you guessed, that I may know whether I have answered, or fallen short of your expectations.’

'I GUESS then,' said Mr. Greville, ‘that in this business, you have followed your inclinations; and in that re­spect, I am sure, you have not fallen short of my expectations.’

My uncle did not perceive that these words were spoken rather peevishly; he took them in a very favourable sense; and with a smile of complacency, re­plied—

‘IT would be a very sensible mortifi­cation to me to be condemned by a judgment, which it would lie heavy on my conscience not to subscribe to. My dear Edward, I am afraid, mur­murs in secret, that I have delayed his happiness so long.’

[Page 62]'IT is a maxim with me,' said Mr. Greville, ‘never to be long in doing that which can be done but once. But I can answer for your Edward, that, with all the impatience of a lover, he has all the submission and reverence of a son. However, I hope he will never be more than your nephew.’

'How is that?' said my uncle, hastily, ‘I protest, I do not understand what you drive at, Greville. But if, as Edward's friend, you are chagrined at my delaying his marriage, hear my reasons. —I was willing, before this event took place, to set him entirely at ease with regard to the situation of his mother and his family; and by mak­ing them independent, to prevent any further claims upon him, which, per­haps, might not be regulated by reason on one side, nor prudence on the other.’

[Page 63] ‘FOR this purpose, I have sought op­portunities of engaging Mrs. Harley's attention on this subject; but it is hard to guess at this woman's meaning. An affair of such importance to her she treats with the most childish carless­ness, and turns the discourse upon subjects which have not the least con­nexion with it, and trisles in so egre­gious a manner, that I was almost out of patience with her.’

‘THIS morning, however, I de­manded her attention, in a decisive tone, to what I had to say to her, on subjects of importance to herself and her family. I began with telling her, my resolution to complete the marriage between my niece and her son (her worthy son I justly called him) in a few weeks.’

'BY the way, Maria,' pursued my uncle, looking at me (which this last hint had, as you may imagine, thrown me [Page 64] into a little confusion) ‘I believe you are not so great a favourite with her as you might reasonably expect, for she received this plain declaration of my intentions, with a cold civility that surprised me.’

I SMILED, and was silent; but Mr. Greville said, ‘Aye, aye, this is natural enough; it is ourselves that we gene­rally love in others; but where there is no resemblance, there is no founda­tion for partiality.’

'I BELIEVE you are right,' replied my uncle. ‘However, I passed over this circumstance, and proceeded to tell her, that I had resolved to settle two thousand pounds on each of her daughters, and, if she had no objec­tion, would place them at the same boarding-school where my niece was brought up, and take the expence of their education upon myself. As for little Charles, who is really a promising [Page 65] boy, Greville, I told her, it was my intention to breed him up a scholar; that he should be educated in my own house, under the tuition of my chap­lain, till he was fit for the university; and as I designed him, with her con­currence, for the church, I would keep the living of—, which his father had possessed, vacant for him; and for future preferment, he would have all his brother's interest.’

'To all this,' pursued my uncle, ‘Mrs. Harley made no other answer than to bow her head; which appeared a sacrifice to politeness, rather than an expression of approbation; so that being a little embarrassed by her be­haviour, I entered rather abruptly in­to an explanation of my intentions with regard to herself.’

'YOUR income, Madam,' said I, ‘I propose to increase, by a settlement of two hundred pounds a year, which I [Page 66] hope you will think adequate to your occasions; and now, these necessary preliminaries being settled, we have nothing to do but to make preparations for the marriage of our children.’

WHILE my uncle was speaking, se­veral self-accusing glances passed be­tween Mr. Greville and me; although we had never explicitly declared to each other the suspicions these long and pri­vate conversations with Mrs. Harley had suggested; yet, conscious that we had really entertained such injuriousthoughts of him, our hearts upbraided us with injustice; and my emotions impelled me to cast myself at his feet, to implore his pardon for my offence.

I CHECKED this involuntary transport, however; but was delighted to see Mr. Greville give way to his sensibility; he embraced my uncle eagerly, crying, ‘You have acted like yourself, wisely, nobly, greatly!’

[Page 67]'OH! mighty well,' said my uncle, ‘I am glad you are pleased. But what think you was the lady's answer? Why truly, she paused a little, dropt me a formal curtsey, and said, she would consider of what I had been saying.’

'WHY truly,' said Mr. Greville, ‘it required some time to deliberate, whe­ther she would accept a genteel portion for her daughters; a plentiful income for herself; and a certain provision for her little son. —The matter was some­thing difficult.’

'WELL, I have done my part,' in­terrupted my uncle. ‘And now, my dear Greville, find out Edward, and bring him to me; and as for you, niece, I shall leave it to your lover to prevail upon you to fix an early day for his, and, I hope, your happiness.’ —I curtsied in silence, and left the room.

[Page 68]RETIRING to my own apartment, I saw Mr. Harley crossing the gallery to go into his mother's chamber. He did not see me, and I took no notice of him, being unwilling to interrupt a conversation that was likely to lead to a discovery of his mother's sentiments, which appeared to me to be very mis­terious. I sat alone till the hour of tea approached; when I went into the drawing-room, where I found Mr. Har­ley alone, leaning on the back of a chair, his arms folded and lost in thought. On my entrance, he started up, and running to me, took my hand, which he kissed with great emotion.

'HAVE you heard, my Maria,' said he, ‘how your generous, your noble uncle, means to provide for my mo­ther and her family?’ 'I have,' said I, ‘and I hope Mrs. Harley is quite sa­tisfied with his plan.’ He cast his eyes down in some confusion, and was [Page 69] silent a moment; then dropping my hand with an air of despondency—

'HOW will it be possible for me,' ex­claimed he, ‘to bear her answer to Sir John! —Would you think it, my dear Maria, my mother, brought up in the principles of the Roman Catholic religion, is so bigoted to her mode of faith, that, rather than not carry her point, she will risk the displeasure of her benefactor, and the loss of her children's hopes; and is unkind enough to insist upon my acquainting Sir John with her intentidns.’

'And what are these intentions?' said I.

'To retire to France,' replied he, ‘with my brother and sisters; and take upon herself the care of their education.’

[Page 70] ‘AND so she means to make your sisters nuns, and your brother a friar,’ said Mr. Greville, who had stolen upon us unobserved, and heard Mr. Harley's last words. 'But come,' pursued he, ‘I have been looking for you, Sir John expects you in the library; he has or­dered coffee there, so we shall not at­tend your tea-table this afternoon, young lady,’ said he to me.

THEY went away together; and I sent to let Mrs. Harley know I waited tea for her; she excused herself on account of some indisposition; but her daugh­ters, and her little son came to me.

THE passages of the day gave my thoughts such full employment, that I was but a dull companion for my little visit­ors; so I went with them into the gar­den, and leaving them to stroll about as they pleased, retired to an alcove to indulge my meditations. I had not [Page 71] been here more than half an hour, when I saw Mr. Harley, joy sparkling in his eyes, advancing hastily towards me; I rose to meet him at the entrance of the alcove; but he prevented my going out; and taking my hand, which he pressed to his lips, with equal tenderness and re­spect, led me back to my seat, at the same instant throwing himself at my feet. I desired him to rise, with a smile, which he well understood.

‘OH! pardon the transports of a lover,’ said he, ‘who finding himself authorised to press you to conclude his happiness, can think no posture too humble for such a request. Do not, my adored Maria, be less favour­able to my ardent wishes than your uncle. —He bids me bring him your consent for an early day, to conclude our marriage. Can you, will you not answer his generous intentions?’ ‘Me­thinks,’ said I, ‘Mrs. Harley ought to decide in this matter—I will be [Page 72] directed by her.’ ‘Say rather by your uncle,’ interrupted he, ‘your more than father, my glorious friend and benefactor, say by him.’ 'Well then,' resumed I, ‘let my uncle determine for me.’

THIS concession produced new trans­ports; which I checked, by asking him, how Sir John had received Mrs. Harley's proposals?

'Mr. Greville,' said he, ‘took upon him to acquaint Sir John with my mother's fatal insatuation.’‘And how,’ said I eagerly, ‘how has he de­termined in consequence of it?’

'LIKE himself,' replied he, ‘with equal dignity and justice. —He con­sents to my sisters going to France with my mother, since she will have it so; but insists upon her leaving my brother to my care, as my father with his last breath directed.’ I foresee, [Page 73] said he, sighing, ‘that this will produce some contest between my mother and me. Having always been used to pay her the utmost submission and respect, it will be a painful task to contradict her.’

'But surely,' replied I, ‘the con­sideration of her own interest, and that of the child, will have some weight with her, besides the will of her late husband.’

'AH! against that,' interrupted Mr. Harley, ‘she pleads the will of Heaven. Her church allows no salvation out of its own pale; and she thinks it would be a less misfortune to see her child poor and dependent, than a heretic.’

'SHE is to be pitied,' said I, ‘since her error is founded upon principle.’ He pressed my hand with ardour, upon my saying this.

[Page 74]'HOW excellently good are you,' said he, ‘to view in so favourable a light my mother's conduct on this occasion. I never was so happy as to enjoy an equal portion of her affection with any of her other children—but I love her most tenderly; and must re­gret a separation, which being her choice, proves her indifference to­wards me.’

I WAS greatly moved with the affecti­onate manner in which, he spoke these words, heightened by a look of extreme sensibility. This cloud, however, was soon dispersed by the sunshine, as he called it, of his present fortune; and, till we joined our little companions, he breathed nothing but the warmest essu­sions of gratitude, love, and joy.

Mr. Greville, in the mean time, had paid a visit to Mrs. Harley, in her own apartment; and had disposed her, by arguments which he well knew how to [Page 75] enforce, to an aquiescence with my uncle's intentions with regard to her little son; it was a sullen acquiescence, however; for she appeared at supper with looks so cold and reserved, as dis­concerted us all.

SIR John, in a formal accent, and a look composed to great gravity, told her, that if she had no objection, he had fixed upon this day fortnight for the celebration of our marriage. Cer­tainly, she said, she could have no ob­jection; and turning to me, made me some common-place compliments, but delivered with surprising coolness.

MY uncle added, that he intended the ceremony should pass with great privacy; and that all our parade should be reserved for our appearance in town, the ensuing winter, whither he proposed to accompany us.

[Page 76]DEAR generous man! My heart overflowed with gratitude; which was sufficiently apparent in my looks, I be­lieve; for he several times smiled upon me with great complacency. Mr. Har­ley's acknowledgments were expressed with a fervor which seemed to move him much, and were answered by a most affectionate embrace.

MY uncle settles upon Mr. Harley twelve hundred pounds a year. —We are to live with him at the Hall; and it is in our own choice to spend the whole, or part, of every winter in London; a permission I shall seldom make use of; because the air of that crowded city does not agree with his health; and it is equally my inclination, and my duty, to be absent from him as little as possible.

WHILE all these arrangements were making, Mrs. Harley appeared to take [Page 77] very little interest in them, and kept a profound silence. Her son could with difficulty conceal his confusion at this behaviour; he often turned his expres­sive eyes upon her, full of respectful expostulation; which she did not, or would nor, understand. When we se­parated for the night, she told Sir John, that as her son's marriage was to be ce­lebrated so soon, it would be necessary for her to go home for a few days, in order to make some preparations for her own and her daughters appearance; and that she proposed to set out early in the morning. My uncle made no op­position to this design, so suddenly taken up, but gave orders for the coach to attend her at what hour she pleased, together with Martin and two of the footmen. She thanked him with a cold politeness; and when I waited on her to her chamber, told me, with a forced smile, that she hoped I would have no objection to her son's accompanying her, at least part of the way.

[Page 78]I BLUSHED, and answered with some confusion, ‘Surely, Madam, I can have no objection to Mr. Harley's do­ing what his affection and his duty require of him.’

‘OH! you are very obliging, my dear Miss,’ said she, and curtseying very ceremoniously, wished me a good. night.

I DESIRED to know, at what hour she intended to set out in the morning, that I might attend her at breakfast. She said, she would send to me as soon as she was risen; and we parted.

I ROSE earlier than usual the next morning, but still not time enough to see Mrs. Harley; for my maid informed me, she had been gone half an hour; for as soon as I had left her at night, she sent for her son, and desired him to give directions for the coach to be ready at five o'clock. He had acquainted my [Page 79] uncle with his intentions, of conducting his mother as far, as — in her way home, and promised to return by dinner time. Mrs. Harley's behaviour had been so extraordinary, that I ex­pected my uncle would have taken some notice of it to me; but, whatever his thoughts were, he kept them to him­self.

MR. Greville told me, that he was convinced, her sullenness was occasi­oned by the disappointment of her de­signs upon Sir John. ‘Her confidence in her own charms,’ said he, ‘is pro­digiously great; and the power they once had over the heart of my friend, persuaded her, that it would be no difficult matter to revive a passion, which the resentment he had preserved against her husband, for supplanting him, by continuing his whole life, proved that it had never been quite extinguished.’

[Page 80] ‘SELFISH and interested, to the last degree, a title had allurements suffi­cient to make her insensible to the in­jury she was preparing for the most amiable and most deserving of sons, by cutting him, perhaps, out of the succession; and, perhaps, the pro­spect, in case she had succeeded, of a long minority, had its weight with her. I know,’ pursued he, ‘Sir John views her conduct in the same light that I do; but he has too much delicacy to explain himself.’

IT was painful to me to feel, for the mother of Mr. Harley, those emotions of contempt and dislike, which such a conduct naturally inspired. I could not conceal my astonishment at it.

'THIS woman,' said he, ‘never had any sensibility. They who blush not at their faults, but add confidence to their guilt, have no motive left to re­store them to the practice of virtue.’

[Page 81]MR. Harley did not return to dinner; at which we were not much surprised; as it was natural to suppose, that in con­ducting his mother on her way, he might exceed the limits he proposed to himself. But when night came, and he did not appear, my uncle became un­easy; and I, I own it, was gretly alarmed. I retired to my chamber, to conceal emotions it was not in my power to suppress. Either he neglects me, thought I, or some fatal accident has happened to him.

I PASSED a considerable time in this state of anxiety, when one of the foot­men came back, and related, that Mr. Harley had been sddenly taken ill at an inn, where they stopped for some re­freshment; and that his mother had thought proper to take him home to her own house.

As not a single line came from Mr. Harley on this occasion, we concluded [Page 82] he must certainly be in a very danger­ous way. The servant either could not, or would not, give us any certain ac­count, so that we all passed an uneasy night.

THE next day, just as my uncle was going to send one of the grooms to Mrs. Harley's, we saw Martin arrive. My uncle and Mr. Greville had not pa­tience to wait till he entered the house, but hastened to meet him. I remained in the room where they had left me in great anxiety, and trembling for the event.

MR. Greville returned in a minute— 'Do not be alarmed,' said he, hastily, ‘our friend is in no danger; though he is indisposed—I flew to tell you this, which is all. I have yet heard.’ He left me instantly, to go to my uncle; who had ordered Martin to follow him to his library, where he was giving him an account of what had happened.

[Page 83]THE few words he had uttered, seemed to have removed a mountain from my breast, I began to breathe again; and for a few minutes enjoyed some little composure; but doubts and fears re­turned, and I was beginning to relapse into all my former inquietude, when Mr. Greville again entered; and draw­ing a chair close to me— 'Now,' said he, ‘you shall know all that has passed.’

'AH!' said I, with an emotion which I was not aware of, ‘you have deceived me—What is become of Mr. Harley? What fatal accident has happened?’ — He smiled. That smile relieved my fears; but awakened me to a sense of shame, at the transport to which I had so indiscreetly given way.

'NOTHING,' said Mr. Greville, gravely, observing my confusion, ‘that we suffer, is so bad as what we fear. Mr. Har­ley is not well enough to be with us [Page 84] to-day, but we shall certainly see him to-morrow. Martin tells us, that his disorder was occasioned by a contest he was obliged to sustain with his mother, whose violent temper is well known. She obliged him, after they had travelled a few miles, to dis­mount, and come into the coach to her. —There an altercation ensued, so very lively, as to be heard distinctly by the servants, and particularly by Martin, who rode sometimes very near the coach. The subject was, Sir John's ungenerous use of the power her dependent situation gave him over her, in taking her youngest son out of her hands. She seemed disposed to contest this point with him: and upon Mr. Harley modestly, yet steadily, insisting upon his fulfilling the last in­junctions of his father, with regard to this child, his mother set no bounds to her rage, but loaded him with the severest reproaches.’

[Page 85] ‘MR. Harley finding all his expostu­lations, intreaties, and submissions, were employed in vain to bring her to a better temper, reminded her of his promise to return to the Hall to dinner; and stopping the coach, or­dered the servant, who led his horse, to come up.’

‘A VERY good inn being in sight; Mrs. Harley peremptorily insisted upon his dining with her on the road; which he complied with, in hopes, as it should seem, of leaving her more composed. But after dinner, the storm began with more violence than before. She ordered him, with an imprious air, to accompany her home. He pleaded his promise to Sir John; and assured her, if she would permit him to leave her then, he would re­turn to her the next day. This me­dium she refused; and continuing to rail, in the most indecent terms, against all he most loved and revered [Page 86] in the world, a thousand conflicting passions seemed to rend his heart; his tongue maintained a respectful silence, but his inward agitations were apparently very violent.’

‘MRS. Harley now ordered the horses to be put to the coach, and with an imperious air bid her son, as he handed her into it, to come in like­wise; he begged to be excused; and mounting his horse, rode on before, so swiftly, that he was presently out of sight. A heavy shower of rain now fell, and continued so long, and with such violence, that it was appre­hended Mr. Harley would suffer greatly, unless he found shelter some­where, which was not likely, as there was no inn upon the road, from thence to the parsonage house.’

‘THE coachman drove furiosly, in order to overtake him; and accord­ingly they came up with him; but he [Page 87] had alighted, tied his horse to a tree, under which he stood himself, drenched through with the rain. In this wet condition, he was prevailed upon to come into the coach; and after an hour's ride they reached the parsonage house. Mr. Harley, who had not ut­tered a single word all the time he was in the coach, desired a bed to be pre­pared for him; and bowing low to his mother, retired; apparently so ill, that she thought it necessary to send for the apothecary of the village, who, after visiting him, pronounced him to be feverish, and ordered him some medicines. Martin, however, rode to the next town to get a physician; who thought his sever rather high, but did not apprehend any dangerous con­sequences from it. He had a tolerable night, it seems; and the next morn­ing calling Martin to his bed-side, directed him what account he was to give to Sir John concerning the ac­cident that detained him. Accord­ingly [Page 88] Sir John is but half-informed of the truth, added Mr. Greville, and what I have told you, the honest and dis;creet old man imparted to me in private.’

MR. Greville accounts very naturally for this violent conduct in Mrs. Harley. —Her pride, mortified by the indiffer­ence of Sir John; her ambitious views disappointed, she proposed to herself a malicious pleasure in interrupting that happiness which she could not participate.

I CANNOT help agreeing with Mr. Greville, that a woman so rash, fo selfish, and imprudent, is not fit to have the guidance of any of her children. But she will never yield to persuasions. ‘It is superfluous to employ reason with those that have none,’ says he; ‘she must be forced to comply. Extremes are always dangerous; but they be­come wise means, when they are ne­cessary. [Page 89] It is true, indeed, they never work by halves, but will decide the matter one way or other.’

My uncle could not be satisfied with the favourable account Martin brought of Mr. Harley's present condition; he seemed determined to go and see him, and to carry his own physician with him; but Mr. Greville, apprehensive that Mrs. Harley might give him some disgust, prevailed upon him to lay aside all thoughts of this journey him­self, and consent to his going with the doctor; who was immediately sent to; and they both went away early in the morning.

This was a melancholy interval. Fear is a great magnifier of evils, —My uncle reasoned so long upon the pro­bable consequences of what had hap­pened to Mr. Harley, that he almost reduced me to despair. The doctor's return restored us to some degree of [Page 90] tranquillity; he affured us, that Mr. Harley was in no degree of danger, and that we might expecl to see him the next day, Mr. Greville staying to ac­company him. His arrival was impa­tiently expected by my uncle, who obliged me to walk with him several times down the avenue, in hopes of meeting the carriage.

ALAS! it came not that day, nor the next; but the servants, who were dis­patched each day to the parsonage-house, always brought us favourable accounts from Mr. Greyille, which, however, contributed but little to the relief of our anxiety; and my uncle, now determined to set out himself, which I no longer opposed. While his post-chaise was getting ready, we took our usual melan­choly walk, and, to our inexpressible joy, the carriage appeared in sight. — My uncle left me, and, forgetting his gout, actually ran towards it.

[Page 91]MR. Harley got out, and threw him­self into his arms. When I came up to them, I was amazed at the alteration I perceived in his countenance. Joy, at the sight of me, overspread his face with a faint blush, which instantly gave place to an ashy paleness. —His eyes had lost their sparkling vivacity; but they still retained that melting softness with which his partiality always beheld me.

THE sight of him, thus altered, af­fected me so much, that I could have, wept like an infant, had not shame re­strained me. My uncle would needs support him as he walked to the house. Mr. Greville, as we followed them, took an opportunity to tell me, that Mrs. Harley was much altered in her behaviour; that she was perfectly com­plaisant, docile, and obliging; and ready to approve of every arrangement, in her own and her children's affairs, which Sir John should think fit to pro­pose.

[Page 92]'WEAK persons,' he observed, ‘never yield at the time they ought to do. It was not possible for her to recover the ground she had lost by her former violence; but as her present conduct seemed to promise no farther opposi­tion, we had reason to be contended.’

SIR John took not the least notice of her behaviour to Mr. Harley, but em­ployed all his attention in forwarding his recovery; and, indeed, he mends so fast, that we have reason to hope, his health will soon be perfectly re-esta­blished.

My dear Euphemia, good fortune, as well as evil accidents, seldom come alone. I have this moment your dear, your welcome packet. Sir John's agent in London took care to forward it to me by one of his clerks, who is to take back what letters I have ready.

[Page 93]A SHIP for New-York, he tells me, being to sail immediately, I have but just time to run it over; and, to my inex­pressible satisfaction, I find you have had an agreeable voyage, are well, and not unhappy. What a feast do you pre­pare for me, by writing thus to the mo­ment, and making me present to all the occurrences of your life. —All, all are of consequence to me! Heaven grant, that you may never send me less pleasing news! You cannot complain, nor be unhappy, by yourself alone; I partake of all your good or evil fortune; and feel so lively a reflexion of any uneasi­ness you suffer, that there needs but one blow to give two wounds.

My uncle interrupts me, to tell me, the messenger waits for my packet. —He sends a thousand kind remem­brances to you. You know what a favourite you are with Mr. Greville; he forgot, that it is not decent for a wise man to be transported with joy [Page 94] or grief, on any occasion whatever, but the news of your health, and safe arrival at your destined port, threw him so much off his guard, that he discovered little less sensibility than myself.

MR. Harley would fain have me believe, that he admires and loves you as much as I do; but that is impossible, because, he does not know you as well. —But he begs me to tell you, that he joins with me, in every fond and tender wish for your health and happiness. —Adieu, my ever loved and valued friend—Adieu!

MARIA HARLEY.

P. S. You must make me acquainted with your kind and sensible friend, Mrs. Benson, whose affectionate attachment to you entitles her to my love and respect. Poor Fanny! she has writ­ten me a very pretty letter; remem­ber [Page 95] me kindly to her. Her lover be­wails her absence with unaffected far­row, and, I am persuaded, will never forget her. — This circumstance you may either disclose, or conceal from her, as your prudence shall judge best.

LETTER XXXVII. MRS. NEVILLE TO MISS HARLEY.

MY DEAR MARIA,

WERE it possible for me to be less interested than 1 am in all your concerns, yet your agreeable narrative would have acted very powerfully upon my hopes and fears. When I reflect upon some passages you have related, I cannot helpsmiling at the blunders which distance produces. At the very mo­ment when I had reason to fear that fortune was preparing some obstacles to your happiness, that happiness was al­ready secured; and I hope and believe, that you were then the wife of that no­ble and generous youth who only could deserve you.

[Page 97]I shall be very glad to hear that Mrs. Harley pursues her intention of retiring to France; a mother-in-law of her complexion will be best conciliated at a distance. Ceremony between per­sons so nearly connected, but ill supplies the place of cordiality and friendship, and leaves a craving void in the heart, which will sometimes be filled with peevishness and discontent; and a for­mal civility is all that can subsist between characters so opposite as yours and hers.

IN Mrs. Bellenden, this acquired qua­lity of politeness is almost a virtue; and indeed it has the semblance of many— it makes her patient with absurdity, gen­tle with impertinence, forgiving with rudeness, and easy with all persons and on all occasions. You would admire her pleasing behaviour, and the grace with which she accommodates herself to the boorish manners of the men, and the awkward ignorance of the women of [Page 98] this place. She has actually taken a great deal of pains to acquire as much knowledge of the Dutch language as to enable her to address some trifling con­versation to these uncouth visitants, with whom the young ladies are so much disgusted, that they have contriv­ed to keep them out of the assembly Mrs. Bellenden holds every fortnight, which is now pretty numerous, from the resort of many strangers of fashion to this city.

AMONG these Mr. Euston holds a distinguished rank; elegant in his per­son, polite in his manners, and engag­ing in his address: he throws off the philosopher in the charming circle form­ed by the Colonel's daughters. Miss Bellenden has thought him worthy of her chains, and calls forth all her attrac­tions to enslave him. The dignified Louisa looks as if his adorations might be endured; and Clara, without seem­ing to have the least design upon his [Page 99] heart, aims only at improving her un­derstanding, by listening with the most respectful attention to all he says, when any opportunity offers to engage him in conversation.

Two nights ago Mrs. Bellenden gave a ball and supper, on occasion of the arrival of a young gentleman, son to the late governor of New-York, who is ap­pointed third lieutenant to the Colonel. We had some music; all the young la­dies sing and play, and Mrs. Bellenden does both excellently.

MR. Neville and myself were among the performers; but nobody thought of asking the philosophic Mr. Euston to make one. Mrs. Bellenden, however, heedfully observing him during the per­formance of Dryden's Ode on St. Ceci­lia's Day, exclaimed— ‘I am sure Mr. Euston understands music!’ — He smiled.

[Page 100]'Ah! I thought so,' pursued she; ‘come, Sir, I insist upon your joining us.’ Miss Bellenden rose immedi­ately from the harpsichord, and offered her place; and Mr. Neville presented his German flute. Mr. Euston chose the harpsichord; and sitting down, sung that beautiful little song of Ben John­son's in the Silent Woman, which you know I admire so much.

Still to be fine, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast:
Still to be powdered, still perfum'd,
Lady, it is to be presum'd,
Tho' art's hid causes are not found,
All is not genuine, all not sound:
Give me a look, give me a face
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free,
Such sweet neglect more taketh me,
Than all th' adulteries of art—
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

THE company were so delighted with the long and the performance, that we [Page 101] encored it three times. This little in­cident unravelled a mystery which had hitherto puzzled us all. Mr. Euston's long stay at Albany, and his assiduous attendance at the Fort, created some­thing more than a suspicion, that his heart had been surprised by the charms of one of the young ladies; but he was so much upon his guard, that it was not possible to guess which was the dis­tinguished fair one.

HE sung the last stanza with so much feeling, such pointed expression in his eyes, and such particular application to Clara, that his preference of her was no longer a secret. The elegant simpli­city of her dress brought her exactly within the poet's description; a white lutestring robe, so fitted to her shape, as to disguise nothing of its admirable symmetry; the graceful folds, not dis­torted by the Gothic invention of a hoop, swept the ground, but with no [Page 102] enormous train, like that of a tragedy queen. A girdle of black velvet, bor­dered with small pearls, circled her slender waist; her hair was loosely tied up behind with a knot of pale pink rib­bon, and some strings of pearls, of the same size with those bound round her girdle, confined its shining ringlets from fall­ing too low over her forehead and temples.

THIS dress, in which nothing seemed designed for ornament, but all for use, formed a striking contrast with that of Miss Bellenden's, where flowers, fea­thers, fringes, streamers, flounces, trimmings, formed an assemblage of gay colours and figures, on which, as Young observes,

"The dazzled eyes could find no rest."

[Page 103]MISS Louisa was dressed with more propriety, but she was fine; and her deportment, like her dress, stately.

MR. Euston's manner was too parti­cular to escape notice—Miss Bellenden reddened—Clara seemed wholly uncon­cerned.

‘WHAT an odious old-fashioned song,’ said the mortified beauty, ‘was that the preaching gentleman gave us; and the music was as bad as the words.’ I defended both. —Clara was silent; but her eyes, which are great talkers, spoke sufficiently plain.

‘I DO not doubt but Clara thinks she has made a conquest,’ said Miss Bellenden, spitefully; ‘but I am sure nobody will envy her.’

'Ah! why,' repeated Clara, look­ing earnestly at her sister,

"Will Beauty blunt on fops her fatal dart;
"Nor claim the triumph of a letter'd heart?"

'A LETTER'D heart!' exclaimed Miss Bellenden, laughing aloud. ‘For [Page 104] Heaven's sake! what is a letter'd heart? I protest I will ask Mr. Euston himself; he is so wise, he knows every thing—he shall tell me what a letter'd heart is.’

CLARA, anxious that her sister should not expose her ignorance, yet not daring to contradict her, gave me a beseeching look.

'No, no,' said I, holding her, ‘he will laugh at us.’

'AH!' replied Miss Bellenden, ‘I thought it was nonsense. But pray, dear Clara, let us have no more of your rhimes; indeed they make you appear very silly; and you know my mamma cannot endure your reading those books so much.’

IT is true, that Clara is fond of quot­ing her beloved poets; but she does it so aptly, her voice is so harmonious, [Page 105] and her expression so just and beautiful, yet without the least affectation, or even consciousness of her powers of charming in this way, that every one, except her mother and sister, are de­lighted, when she either reads or re­peats.

MR. Euston, though not a declared lover, has the marks strongly on him. —He scarce ever loses sight of his young charmer. —The ladies are sure to meet him wherever they go; this hap­pens by chance, to be sure, as he would have it appear. —And chance was very favourable to us on an occasion, which I am going to acquaint you with. For, since I must always be writing to you, and the simple tenor of my life affords no great and striking events to interest your curiosity, you must give me leave to entertain you, by selecting from those little occurrences, which every day pro­duces, such as are more worthy your attention.

[Page 106]You must know, then, that among the many contrivances we form, to vary our amusements in this place, Clara, who is a little romantic, proposed one, which met with general approbation: — This was, to make an excursion into the woods, which we beheld so beauti­ful in prospect, from the ramparts of the Fort, and to pass an afternoon amidst their shades.

MRS. Bellenden not opposing our scheme, we set out early after dinner; the young ladies, Mrs. Benson, and myself, attended by Miss Bellenden's maid, and two men-servants, who car­ried a large basket, filled with every thing necessary for tea. Clara soon found out a proper place. —It was a lit­tle valley, surrounded with losty trees. The servants filled the tea-kettle at a spring of delicate water, with which these woods abound; and lighted a fire at a convenient distance, while we seated [Page 107] ourselves, as well as we could, and be­gan our different employments.

MISS Bellenden produced her net­ting, Louisa her flower-piece, Mrs. Benson and I our plain-work, and Clara her book. This was a novel, newly published in your world; and because it has uncommon merit, I suppose you have read it. Mr. Euston presented it to Clara; and told us, that Cecilia is the performance of a young lady, whose elegant genius is generally admired.

MANY of the incidents in this very sensible novel are extremely affecting, and made me weep like a child. I am not ashamed to own, that I have been much moved by such agreeable fictions; and that it was not for real evils 1 shed tears, but the ingenious fancies of an­other person, that excited these strong emotions. This has been called a ty­rannical power, which the senses usurp over reason; and proves, that the [Page 108] neighbourhood of the imagination is extremely contagious to the intellectual part.

CLARA was permitted by Miss Bel­lenden to read to us, while our tea was preparing.

IN the midst of this pleasing entertain­ment, we were alarmed with a hideous noise, which, to our terrified imagina­tion seemed like the howling of wild beasts. Miss Bellenden screamed aloud, her sisters echoed her cries, and clung round Mrs. Benson and me, hiding their faces in our bosoms. We were half dead with fear ourselves, yet en­deavoured to comfort the young ladies.

'THESE are Indians, Madam,' said one of the men-servants to me; ‘and by their shouting I imagine they are drunk. They will be upon us, pre­sently, I suppose. For Heaven's sake! do not discover any signs of fear; you will enrage them if you do.’

[Page 109]I HAD been told this before; and therefore earnestly recommended it to our young friends, to appear as com­posed as possible.

THEY had just raised their heads, and dried their eyes, when three savages bolted out of the wood, and presented their hideous figures to our eyes. As soon as they perceived us, they set up a frightful yell, and stood still, gaz­ing on us with fixed attention.

LOUISA and Clara, not with standing all their efforts to appear calm, even sobbed with the violence of their emo­tions. Miss Bellenden, though pale and trembling, adjusted her hair, and drew herself up, with an air that shewed her consciousness of her charms. Such is the force of habit, that even in this moment of terror, her thoughts were not wholly diverted from their usual course, and the desire of charming was always uppermost.

[Page 110]THE two men-servants took no notice of the savage intruders, but appeared to be very busy about the tea; and Mrs. Benson, very complaisantly, presented them with some cakes, which they ac­cepted with a kind of surly satisfaction. She then offered them some tea; they tasted it, and returned the cups, shaking their heads; and made signs which we did not understand; but one of the foot­men told us they wanted rum.

I BID him make them comprehend, that we had not any; at which they looked displeased, and talked to each other. It appeared to us, that they supposed we had some of this darling liquor, and would not part with any to them; and this thought encreased our apprehensions; besides, we heard one of our servants say, in a whisper to his companion, ‘They are deadly drunk, I am afraid they will be mischie­vous.’

[Page 111]WE knew not what to do—to stay was dreadful—and if we offered to go, it was probable they would hinder us. However, Mrs. Benson, in order to sound their intentions, bid the servants put up the tea equipage in the bas­ket.

THE Indians looked angry at this mo­tion; and one of them, moving from the place where they had both, till now, stood like statues, kicked the bas­ket with his foot, and threw it down, seeming mightily pleased with the crash of the china.

THE young ladies, no longer able to restrain their fears, screamed aloud. The Indians looked at them with a fierce and menacing air, and moved towards us—We gave ourselves over for lost.— When, to our inexpressible joy, Mr. Euston appeared, brought thither by Miss Bellenden's maid, whom we had [Page 112] not missed; and who, upon the first ap­pearance of the Indians, left us; and ran towards the Fort, in order to pro­cure some assistance, if necessary.

MR. Euston, whom the screams he had heard very much alarmed, ap­proached us with great anxiety in his looks. He addressed his enquiries in general, but his eyes were almost always turned upon Clara. Finding, by our answers, that the savages had behaved peaceably enough, he entered into some conversation with them, in their own language; after which he informed us that these Indians were stragglers from a large party of their friends, a tribe of the Iroquois Indians, who had come down the river to celebrate one of their festivals, in the neighbourhood of Al­bany. He told us, we had nothing to fear, those nations being our good al­lies; that when they were intoxicated with liquor, they were apt to be trouble­some; [Page 113] but if they had known who we were, they would have behaved with more civility.

WE soon found, by their altered looks and manners, that Mr. Euston had given them some information con­cerning us. They gathered up the fragments of the china they had broke, and gazed on them with wishing eyes; but did not offer to take any, till Mrs. Benson made signs to them, that they might have them; this present seemed very acceptable; and finding that we were preparing to go, they marched before us, officiously clearing our path from the underwood and broken boughs that obstructed our walk. They accom­panied us to the gates of the Fort, and then took leave of us, with many tokens of reverence and respect.

WE had now so effectually overcome our fears, that when Mr. Euston pro­posed our going the next day to visit [Page 114] the Indians little camp, we eagerly ac­cepted it. The Colonel, however, chose to be of the party; this drew in Mrs. Bellenden, and Mr. Neville, and all the officers that were not upon duty, attended us; which, with some ser­vants, made up a large train.

THE Indians were assembled in a little plain; a great number of huts might be seen among the trees. These huts consisted of three poles, covered on the top with the bark of trees, and lined with their branches, to keep out the sun. The women and children sat at the entrance of the huts. — Their hus­bands and fathers lay indolently along within, smoaking or drinking.

THE young men were differently em­ployed; some in dancing, others in shooting at a mark with their arrows, and not a few busy in preparing the feast.

[Page 115]SEVERAL large kettles, full of veni­son, were suspended by a rope, fastened to two trees at a convenient distance, between which a large fire was kindled. As soon as our company appeared, they instantly quitted their sports and em­ployments, and crouding together, formed a circle, and continued gazing on us in a profound silence.

MR. Euston approached them, and pointing to Colonel Bellenden, told them who he was. The Indians, con­sidering this visit from the great chief, as they called him, as a high honour, prepared, in token of respect, to enter­tain him with a dance. They kindled a large fire in the midst of the plain, threw their mantles over their shoulders, each holding up a large knife in one hand, they danced round the fire in a ring, their feet keeping time to a slow and barbarous strain, and their eyes fixed on the ground. This ceremony, which we thought very frightful, but [Page 116] with which we affected to appear ex­tremely pleased, lasted half an hour.

AS soon as the Indians had finished their dance, they resumed their former sports, and we mixed among the wo­men, some of whom were tolerably handsome. We took notice of the children; and were delighted to hear the women speak, though we could not understand them, the tone of their voices was so exquisitely sweet and har­monious.

WHILE we were ranging from hut to hut, Miss Bellenden observed two young Indians at a distance, leaning against a tree with a discontented air. — Their figures were pleasing, and their dress mighty smart; their heads were adorned with feathers; their ears loaded with strings of wampum, and their mantles trimmed with several rows of tinsel lace. These young men had neither joined the dance, nor mixed in any of [Page 117] the sports. Curious to know the cause of their exclusion, we went up to them; and Mr. Euston asked them, Why they continued apart from the rest?

WITHOUT changing their posture, and scarce raising their eyes to look on us, they told him, that not being of the party, they had no right to eat, and therefore had no inclination to dance.

WE now searched our pockets for some trifles, to present to these poor ne­glected young savages. One of us pro­duced a small pen-knife, another a lit­tle snuff-box, Miss Bellenden made an offering of her pocket-glass, and Louisa gave a knot of ribbons; Clara blushed, because she could find nothing in her pocket but her Pastor Fido, which, as she was now studying Italian with great application, she always carried about her; not willing, however, to appear less liberal than the rest of the com­pany, [Page 118] she presented her cambric pocket handkerchief with a bashful air, which the Indian who received it immediately tore in two, tying a piece round each arm. We lest them extremely de­lighted with our civility, and returned to the Fort. Adieu, my dear Maria, I must close my letter here — A sloop is this instant going off for New-York, and will take my packet.

EUPHEMIA NEVILLE.

LETTER XXXVIII. MRS. BENSON TO MISS HARLEY.

MADAM,

IT shall never be laid to my charge that you speak of me favourably, and that I hear of it without gratitude; a good opinion lays one under an obli­gation from whomsoever it comes; but when judgment like yours com­mends, not to be vain would be to be above human frailty. He who said Socrates was prouder of one word spoke by the oracle in his favour, than of all the praises the worlds bestowed upon him, speaks my sentiments. In return for your making me vain, Ma­dam, [Page 120] which, the cause considered, I can scarce allow to be a fault, I will make you happy by informing you, that your valued and amiable friend is a mother, and has given us a lovely boy, who is called after a young gentleman, whom we hope has been for some time the happiest man in the world.

I WRITE this by Mrs. Neville's bed­side, who is, with some little alteration of the old phrase on this occasion, bet­ter than could be expected.

To explain this I must tell you, that when the affair was all over, the lady in bed, and in a sweet sleep, I retired to take some rest, having been up the whole night; but was soon waked by a loud and confused noise of many tongues speaking all at once. Among these I distinguished Mr. Neville's, who by the oaths he threw out in quick suc­cession, I understood to be in a violent rage.

[Page 121]ALARMED and confounded at a cla­mour so preposterous at such a time, I flew down stairs: at the entrance of Mrs. Neville's chamber I met Mr. Ne­ville, who seizing my arm with a dreadful gripe, exclaimed— ‘Oh! Ma­dam, come in, see what these Dutch devils have done, —they have killed my wife!’

I ENTERED the room, trembling, and saw one part of it newly scoured, and streams of water running over the other, which issued from a large pail that had been overturned.

While Mr. Neville continued curs­ing and raving at the nurse, who, being entitled by her age and her wealth to wear a forehead cloth, a distinction which the matrons here are extremely fond of, considered herself as highly af­fronted by his behaviour. I enquired of Fanny, who stood by in great agi­tation, [Page 122] the meaning of the strange ap­pearances I beheld.

SHE told me the nurse, as soon as I was retired, had called up the house­maid, and ordered the room to be scoured. ‘I remonstrated against it in vain,’ pursued Fanny, weeping, ‘and said it would kill my lady—that it was not the custom in our country. But finding that I could not prevail, I called my master, who was so shocked at their having wetted the room, which he said would kill his wife with cold, that he kicked down the pail in a rage, and set it all afloat as you see.’

I ORDERED a large fire to be made in the room; and, collecting all the carpets in the house, laid them one upon another on the floor. Mrs. Ne­ville was anxious only for her child. I opposed very bad arguments to her rea­sonable fears, but it was absolutely ne­cessary [Page 123] to quiet her mind; as for Mr. Neville, he continued to rail and swear.

‘DID you ever hear of such a savage custom?’ said he; ‘what! scour the chamber of a lying-in woman!’

'THE greatest mischief,' I replied, ‘is likely to happen from the pail of water that was thrown down.’

'AYE,' said he, ‘that was unfortu­nate, to be sure; but it was very na­tural for me to be in, a passion you know, when my wife's life was endan­gered by that old Dutch woman's ab­surdity.’

To persuade Mr. Neville that he can ever be wrong is a talk no human un­derstanding is equal to. I suffered him therefore to march off in triumph, at having silenced me with so complete a defence, and took care to prevent any [Page 124] future blunders of the nurse, who only followed the custom of her country, to which we were strangers, and therefore could not guard against.

MRS. Neville and the child are per­fectly well. She makes an admirable nurse, and loses none of her delicacy by doing the duty of a mother. This little stranger has been received with great joy by the father, who having now an heir to his uncle's estate, is not appre­hensive of its going out of his line.

MRS. Neville has given you an ac­count, Madam, of our adventure in the woods with the two drunken savages; her situation made me tremble for the consequences of the fright she must ne­cessarily have been in, which, however, she concealed so well, as to make me tolerably easy; but our little boy bears under his left breast the distinct mark of a bow and arrow, the arms born by one [Page 125] of these savages. This power of the imagination has been denied with such force of argument by some learned writers, that nothing but the evidence of my own eyes could force my assent to the possibility of it.

A TROUBLESOME affair has fallen out within these few days, which I have been fortunate enough to conceal from my friend, whose keenness of observa­tion it is difficult to elude.

MR. Neville and Lieutenant Blood had a dispute about some trifle, which was managed with such heat on both sides as to produce a quarrel; and a challenge ensued on the part of Mr. Neville. The day, the hour, and the place of meeting were all settled, but happily the colonel was informed of the design time enough to prevent it, and put them both under an arrest.

[Page 126]THE only difficulty now was to recon­cile them, that nothing of the kind might be apprehended for the future. The colonel undertook Mr. Blood, who on such occasions, being endowed with that docility with which the valiant re­proach the wife, was prevailed upon by his commander's arguments, enforced by his authority, to lay aside his wrath. I had more trouble with Mr. Neville, who is passionate and obstinate, but I carried my point at last, by reasons partly serious, partly jesting.

'IF Heaven,' said I, ‘had given you three or four lives, you might at any time venture one, and sometimes, in a fit of valour, let one go, knowing you have another in store; but to be pro­digal in poverty, and to be careless of the only head you have, when no art can make you a new one, is unreason­able to the last degree.’ Mr. Neville at length agreed to let the Colonel set­tle [Page 127] the difference; and all was made up over a bottle of wine at the Fort.

I HAVE now, Madam, acquainted you with every thing that has passed here worthy your notice; and have nothing to add, but that I am with the greatest esteem and respect, your obedient ser­vant,

C. BENSON.

LETTER XXXIX. MRS. NEVILLE TO MISS HARLEY.

I REMEMBER I once told you, my dear Maria, that I was resolved to turn philosopher, and so be revenged on Fortune for all her cruelties to me. I am now called to a new trial, which yet is not so severe as some I have al­ready sustained; but you, who on all occasions feel for me, perhaps, more than I do for myself, will think it suffi­ciently mortifying.

I HAD just began to taste something like happiness. —My dear little boy re­pays my care, with every advantage a fond mother can desire, — health, beauty, sweetness of temper, and early reason; [Page 129] a wise and faithful friend at home; some agreeable companions abroad; and a growing taste for the climate, and the wild yet not unpleasing scenes around me.

HOW truly has it been said, that the limits of our joy is but the absence of some degree of sorrow. Within these few days Mr. Neville has informed me, that he has obtained a promise of Colonel Bellenden, to be appointed to the com­mand of a fort in Schonectady.

THIS is a little town, distant about thirty miles from Albany, inhabited only by some Dutch traders. Seldom visited by any strangers, but Indians, who straggle hither, not only from the five nations of the Iroquois, our allies, but the savages of Canada, and other barbarous nations.

WHETHER impelled by that restlessness of temper, which makes every change, [Page 130] even for the worse, desireable; or the strange pride, of being greatest where all is little, I know not, but Mr. Ne­ville is fixed in his resolution; and when he acquainted me with the approaching change in my situation, it was not to hear my opinion, to ask my advice, or to sooth me into a consent, but barely to signify his will to me; to which I offered no opposition, well knowing that it would produce no other effect, but ill humour, and unjust reproach.

WHEN Mr. Neville left me, after this unwelcome communication, Mrs. Ben­son, alarmed at the fullenness of his as­pect as he passed by her, came eagerly to my chamber, to enquire the cause of his apparent dissatisfaction; when I told her what had passed, the paused for a few moments, casting on me now and then a soft and sympathising look — then recollecting herself, she took my hand, which she tenderly prest—

[Page 131]'My dear child,' said the, ‘of evils; the least is the best. Your days will pass less unhappily in this, I will sup­pose, wild solitude, than they can possibly do here; though here you have some agreeable society, and some elegant amusements. Mr. Neville's discontent would embitter all; nor would you be free from a little self-accusation, although you could carry your point, if it cannot be done with­out violating that obedience which you have solemnly vowed at the al­tar.’

'ALL the evil in the world, my dear,' pursued she, ‘consists, as I have some­where read, in the disagreement be­tween the object and the appetite; as when a person has what he desires not, or desires what he has nor, or desires amiss. He that composes his spirit to the present accident, hath a variety of instances for his virtue, but none to [Page 132] trouble him; because his desires are not at war with his present fortune. You have heard the philosopher,’ went she on, smiling, 'now hear the friend.

‘DOUBT not but I will follow you to this savage solitude; and we shall be able to strike out amusements, which, as they will depend entirely upon our­selves, will always be within our reach. —We have books, we have music, and ideas I hope, to furnish out an agreeable and profitable conversation. Your little boy will soon be of an age to exercise you in higher cares than those of a tender and diligent nurse. Our judgment is formed by experi­ence; the principles of truth unfold themselves by degrees with the na­tural progress of reason. —That pro­gress, in this sweet plant, you will watch, direct, and improve; and hav­ing no temptations to divert your at­tention from so delightful, so laudable [Page 133] an employment, you will with the more ease perform the task, which God and nature have assigned you.’

IT was thus that this worthy woman reasoned with me, soothed me, and re­conciled my will to a dispensation, which my heart murmured at before; so that when Mrs. Bellenden came to condole with me, upon a separation so un­expected, and offered, if I would consent to it, to manage matters so with the Colonel as to prevent this wild scheme, (as she called it,) of my husband's, taking place, I earnestly intreated her to form no obstacle to his designs, declaring my voluntary acquiescence to them.

THIS lady is too good a wife to dis­approve of my conduct on this occasion. She promised me to make my banish­ment as tolerable as possible, by a fre­quent intercourse of visits. I smiled, and pointing to the now dreary prospect around us, for winter, which in this [Page 134] country sets in with a sudden transition from extreme heat to intense cold, had already covered the ground with snow, at least three feet deep. —One pure ex­pance of white meets the dazzled eye, as far as its sight can reach; the branches of the trees, loaded with snow, look like enormous plumes of feathers spangled with gems, formed by the frost. That beautiful river, where we used to see innumerable elegant little hoops, failing to and from New-York, is now become an icy plain, and bears on its frozen bosom deep loaded car­riages, called sledges, drawn by horses, which seem to fly over the glassy sur­face.

'SEE, Madam,' said I, ‘what a stern appearance Nature has put on; can friendship find a way through those pathless woods, to visit the poor exile at Schonectady?’

[Page 135] ‘NEVER doubt it, my dear Mrs. Ne­ville,’ replied the good lady, ‘those pathless woods shall yet afford us a passage to you, when we need it, but happily that will not be till spring; for Lieutenant G— is not to be relieved till then.’ This was pleasing news to all, but Mr. Neville, who is impatient to enter upon his new com­mand.

ALAS! my dear Maria, you can have no conception of the rigor of a North American winter. We have had a fall of snow, which continued three days, which now lies upon the ground, to the depth of five feet, and is frozen so hard that it feels like the solid earth. We are, it seems, to expect no abatement of this extreme rigor these five months; but the constant serenity of a cloudless sky, and the enlivening rays of the sun, increase that cheerfulness which we owe to our now well-braced nerves: but it is cold, intensely cold; I can scarce [Page 136] keep myself tolerably warm, though I sit by a fire, where half the forest is blazing.

MRS. Benson looks over my shoulder as I am writing, and tells me, laughing, that metaphor is carried very high—But seriously, although my standish is placed upon the steel hearth, it is with diffi­culty the ink is kept from freezing, and slakes of black ice frequently fall out of my pen upon the paper. — This will ac­count for some of the many blots you meet with.

I WAS interrupted by a visit from Mr. Euston. He is much altered—Clara's attractions have proved too powerful for his philosophy. He reasons less, though he talks more than he used to do; but all his discourse bears some analogy to the present disposition of his heart; and, whatever be the subject, it leads him insensibly to the object that fills his thoughts. Hitherto he has declared [Page 137] himself no otherwise, than by assidui­ties, and the silent rhetoric of looks and sighs. But he has a rival, whom he must either supplant, or yield to; and this circumstance will decide the mat­ter.

WITH this rival I would fain make you acquainted; if I knew how to des­cribe a creature, to whom no distinction can belong for more than ten minutes together. He is every thing and no­thing. —Mrs. Benson says, he is more fool than wise, and more a wag than fool. At the very moment, when he has been talking so much to the pur­pose that you would. pronounce him a sensible young fellow, he throws out something so wretchedly silly, as to de­serve the appellation of a fool. One while the stupid solemnity of his coun­tenance excites a laugh, at another, the archness of his look and satirical smiles, make one afraid of him.

[Page 138]HE is son to the late Governor, and nephew to the Earl of H —, by whose interest he was appointed, third lieutenant to Colonel Bellenden; and came from England to take possession of his new post. He has a fine face, and a figure remarkably elegant; his man­ners are often polite, and often clownish; his address sometimes courtly, and some­times aukward; in a word, he is a per­fect contradiction. But you will be better able to form an idea of him, from a few traits, which my memory furnishes me with for your informa­tion.

A FEW days after his arrival, being at the Fort, where a large company was assembled, and where the beauty of his person, the elegance of his dress, and the politenes of his behaviour, engaged every ones attention, Miss Bellenden happened to drop her glove; he took it up, and presented it to her with a grace that was infinitely pleasing, entreating [Page 139] her at the same time to permit him the honour of drawing it on; she smiled and held out her arm, on which, white as it is, a few freckles appeared.

Mr. C— looked earnestly on it for a minute, then exclaimed—

‘HEAVENS! why you are spotted like a toad.’ She blushed, and frowned. Those persons who were near enough to hear what he said, expressed in their looks the utmost astonishment.

CLARA, who sat next him, laughed; upon which Mr. C—, finding Miss Bellenden sat sullen and silent, and would not even look at him, turned to her sister, and with the easiest and most gallant air imaginable, entered into a conversation with her full of sprightliness, and of turns, which, if they could not be called witty, were at least very like wit. Clara took occasion to rally him upon the coarse speech he had made to [Page 140] her sister, but he defended himself with such an arch simplicity, as quite con­founded her.

COLONEL Bellenden knows not how to treat him; respectable on account of his birth and connexions, he has a cer­tain air of grandeur diffused over his whole person, that keeps contempt at a distance, in spite of all his absurdities.

ON the day that he was to be pre­sented to the troops, who were drawn up upon the parade, headed by their officers, with colours flying, drums beating, and all the pomp and circum­stance of military ceremonial, he ap­peared, instead of regimentals, in white and silver, and a plume of feathers in his hat without a cockade. The Colonel perceived him before he came to the gates, and hastily ran to prevent his entering, and exposing himself to the derision of the soldiers.

[Page 141] ‘WHAT is the meaning or your ap­pearing in this dress, Sir,’ said he, with an indignant frown; ‘Do you not know what is to be done to-day?’

‘WE are to have a ball, Sir; are we not?’ replied Mr.C—, with an air highly respectful, but not in the least disconcerted. The Colonel was abso­lutely taken in by the steady composure of his looks, and the seeming simplicity of his answer.

'WHAT strange misapprehension,' said he, ‘is this! Go, Sir, put on your regimentals, and appear in your pro­per character.’ He then desired Mr. Neville to accompany him, and inform him what was to be done.

Mr. C— retired, making a low obeisance; and in a short time after­wards returned, dressed en militaire.

[Page 142]NOTHING could exceed the elegance and dignity of his figure in this dress— there was something so noble in his air, so interesting in his countenance, that every eye beheld him with pleasure.

THE deep respect with which he re­ceived his pike from the colonel was accompanied with equal dignity; and the grace that appeared in his motions and attitude, when he took his post, drew a kind look of approbation from his benevolent commander. But what was his confusion and disappointment when this young man, forgetting his duty and his station, faint with heat, and fatigued as it should seem with holding his pike, gave it into the hand of a serjeant, who stood nearest him, and quitting his rank, ran towards the ladies, snatched a fan out of Miss Bel­lenden's hand, and began to fan him­self with the utmost composure, amidst the general astonishment his extravagant action occasioned.

[Page 143]AT first all eyes were fixed on him with silent wonder; then an ill sup­pressed laugh ran through the ranks; the officers caught the contagion, but quickly recovered themselves, attentive to the motions of the colonel, who for a moment stood gazing on the strange youth with a severe and steady eye; then advancing towards him—

'Boy,' whispered he to him, ‘a fool's cap and bells would better become you than this respectable dress and manly profession.’ Then calling Mr. Neville, he spoke to him in a low voice; and turning again to Mr. C—, who by this time had given Miss Bellenden her fan with his usual graceful manner—

'Go, Sir,' said he, ‘follow this of­ficer, and learn how ill the behaviour of a buffoon sits upon a gentleman and a soldier.’

Mr.C— either was, or affected an ex­treme surprise in his looks at this repri­mand [Page 144] but, silent and submissive, he bowed profoundly low to the colonel, then to the ladies, and went off the pa­rade with Mr. Neville.

THE business of the day, concluding thus ridiculously, afforded us sufficient matter for discourse. Mr. Neville placed a centinel at the door of Mr. C.'s lodgings, and informed him he was put under an arrest. After some ridiculous enquiries concerning the nature of his offence, and the duration of his confine­ment, he sent his respectful compliments to the commandant; and ordering his servant to bring his flute, Mr. Neville left him entertaining himself very agree­ably.

COLONEL Bellenden sent for him the next day, and they had a private confe­rence, that lasted near two hours. I sup­pose he softened the colonel by his sub­mission; for he appeared to be received [Page 145] into some degree of favour. The sol­diers, to a man, are loud in his praise, for he ordered a noble largess to be distributed among them; and they can see no faults in an officer who is so liberal.

HE met with some mortifications, however, in Mrs. Bellenden's circle that evening. She looked grave upon him; Miss Bellenden treated him with con­tempt — Louisa shunned him — Clara, moved by the natural sweetness of her disposition, took pity on him, and suf­fered him to engross her conversation the whole night. This kindness com­pleted the conquest of his heart; he is become seriously in love with her, and much less extravagant in his behaviour than usual. I can perceive that Mr. Euston is uneasy, notwithstanding his endeavours to conceal it.

[Page 146]'OUR new Cymon,' said he to me one day with a forced laugh, ‘improves daily.’ — 'Not so much,' replied I, ‘as to give him hopes of obtaining his Iphigenia.’

'WHY not,' said he, ‘the miracle would not be new, though he were to become a wise man. Love, which has sometimes made a philosopher a fool, may make a fool a philosopher.’

THE people of this country have be­gun their winter amusements. Nothing is to be seen on the river but sledges full of happy parties:—these are the only carriages in use in this severe season.

THERE is an odd custom among the younger and meaner sort, which it is impossible to reconcile with good order and decency.

A COMPANY of a dozen young Dutch­men, and as many girls, agree to go [Page 147] out upon a froolick as they call it. These are distributed into six sledges, two couples in a sledge: as they go at a pro­digious rate, they sometimes travel forty and fifty miles in a day, to the differ­ent farm-houses they propose to visit.

As soon as they appear, all hands are set to work, to provide an entertain­ment for them; and great is the slaughter among the poultry and pigs to furnish out the feast. They sit long at table, and conclude the evening with dancing, for they always carry a fidler along with them.

WHEN they are disposed to go to rest, the largest room in the house is pre­pared for their reception. They spread before an enormous fire a quantity of mats and carpets, over which they lay feather beds and coverlets. The company lie down in their clothes, and sleep as well as they can, till morning, [Page 148] when a plentiful breakfast of tea, cream, hot cakes, and hung beef, is provided for them; after which they drive away to their next stage, which is generally at a great distance, where they meet with the same welcome and, equal hos­pitality.

IN this manner they traverse the country, spending sometimes a week, sometimes a fortnight, in these excur­sions; the farmers, wherever they, chuse to stop, being, by an ancient custom, obliged to receive them, and treat them well.

I WENT out yesterday for the first time in our new winter carriage. Mrs. Benson, Miss Clara, and Mr. Euston, made up my party, for Mr. Neville was upon guard. We were well wrapped up in furrs, and our feet defended from the piercing cold by several bear-skins, that were laid at the bottom of the sledge. [Page 149] Happy was it for us that Mr. Euston was with us, for an accident happened that might have had the most danger­ous consequences.

OUR road lay through the woods: as we flew along, (for so the motion of these vehicles over the frozen snow may be called) suddenly I perceived the two fore paws of an animal upon the lower part of the sledge, on that side where I sat. The driver that instant lashing his horses, the creature by this increased velocity lost his hold: Mr. Euston, at the same moment, seized a loaded horse-pistol, which was carried by the servant who sat behind the carriage, and jumped out. We then perceived our danger. The furious bear, for a bear it was, had followed the sledge, and was come almost near enough to spring upon us, when our gallant friend, opposing himself to its assault, levelled his piece, [Page 150] and took so sure an aim, as laid the fierce creature weltering in its blood at his feet.

THE explosion of the gun, repeated by a thousand echoes, the hideous howl­ing of the dying animal, mixed with our screams, filled the wild solitude around us with sounds more dreadful than imagination can conceive. We were by this time at a considerable distance; for our driver did not slacken his pace; and had not the sledge been overturned, passing over the body of a large tree, that lay across the road, which in his terror he did not observe, we should have been out of sight.

NONE of us received the least hurt by this accident; for the overturning of a sledge is seldom attended with any dan­ger, being open on each side, and hav­ing no top.

[Page 151]MR. Euston now came up to us, and anxiously enquired if we were safe. We congratulated him upon his victory; and with the most heart-felt gratitude thanked him for our preservation. Clara said little; but that little was accompa­nied with a look so expressive, as seem­ed to have a powerful effect upon her lover's heart, for he gazed on her for a moment with extreme tenderness, and heard not one word that Mrs. Ben­son and I said to him about his combat.

AT length he helped us into our car­riage; and, as he was stepping into it himself, Clara grasped my hand eagerly and whispered—'Ah! Madam, he bleeds.'

'He does indeed,' said I, greatly alarmed, perceiving then, for the first time, that one of his legs was covered with blood. — 'You are hurt, Sir,' said I.

[Page 152]'I HAVE got a scratch,' replied he, smiling; ‘the creature made an at­tack upon my leg, but my fire had the good fortune to take place before I received much damage.’

'YOU must give us leave, however,' said Mrs. Benson, ‘to bind up your wound with what linen we can col­lect.’ We all contributed; Clara, who till then had looked pale as death, now blushed excessively as she offered her help. Mr. Euston suffered us to do as we pleased— his whole at­tention was fixed upon my amiable young friend. We ordered the driver to make what haste he could back to the Fort, where his wound was dressed by the surgeon of the garrison, who eased us of our fears by declaring that it was not in the least dangerous.

THE colonel and his lady were full of acknowledgments to this gentleman [Page 153] for his gallant defence of us; and in­deed we had all reason to be grateful; for had he not by springing out of the sledge exposed himself singly to the assault of the ferocious animal, it is uncertain which of us might have been seized upon.

SUCH accidents as this, however, are very rare so near any of the settlements, and in the day too. But love, Mrs. Benson says, laughing, was determin­ed to favour so respectable a votary, by affording him an opportunity of shewing how well he deserved the pre­ference which Clara, notwithstanding all her bashfulness and reserve, seems disposed to give him over his young rival. But this rival is countenanced by Mrs. Bellenden, who, seduced by the splendour of his family, and the large fortune he is likely to inherit, is willing to overlook all his extravagan­cies. The colonel, I believe, if left to his own judgment, would favour Mr. [Page 154] Euston, and prefer an easy indepen­dence for his daughter, with a man of his character, to the superior advantages of birth and fortune, clogged with the absurdities of Mr. C—.

I HEARD him speak highly in his praise one day to Mrs. Bellenden, who does not seem to relish his conversation.

‘WHAT was formerly said of a great man,’ said he, ‘to whom I had the honour to be known, may be very well applied to Mr. Euston. As nature has given him the good qua­lities that cannot be acquired by study, so his own study hath procured him all the good qualities that are not the gifts of nature.’ — This was a fine eulogium, my dear Maria; and I took care the worthy man should not be ignorant of it.

I HAVE a very pretty letter from young Mansel, with one enclosed from [Page 155] his mother, full of the most affection­ate acknowledgments for my kindness to her son. She has sent me some very valuable presents, which prove how much her grateful disposition has over­rated the little services I was able to do the amiable youth she is so justly fond of.

COLONEL Bellenden sends for my letter to enclose in his packet, which is this moment setting out for New-York. Some ships are expected to sail from thence in a few days. Adieu, then, my dear Maria; my ever loved, my ever valued friend, Adieu!

EUPHEMIA NEVILLE.

LETTER XL. MRS. NEVILLE TO MRS. HARLEY.

I WAS almost reduced to despair, my dear Maria, when I heard that seve­ral ships were come from England; and after waiting three weeks, in anxious expectation, no letter from you appeared. But one1 has now come to comfort me; and that I got it at length, after so long a delay, I owe to the remorse of a man unknown, who being but half wicked, contented himself with only opening it, but would not by any means that I should lose it.

[Page 157]How do I rejoice, that all your little difficulties are over, and that you have been for some months the happy wife of the worthiest and most amiable young man in the world.

I LOVE YOU dearly, for the matronly style in which you make your enquiries after my little boy; and I do not think I need offer you any apology for enter­taining you with nursery tales—of the perilous adventures we have atchieved against the small-pox, measles, cutting of teeth, and other rocks and quick-fands, to which the poor little bark of infancy is exposed. And I have no doubt but you will believe me, when I tell you, that my Edward is very hand­some, surprisingly witty, and is the most agreeable companion in the world. I pass the greatest part of my time with him, and never think the time so passed is tedious.

[Page 158]BUT all is hurry and bustle now in Albany; the town is full of strangers of fashion; nothing but balls and en­tertainments at the fort. The Gover­nor is soon expected here, in order to meet in congress our good allies, the Iroquois, and pay them the usual sub­sidies, in blankets, hatchets, iron-ket­tles, glass jewels, and the like; a ce­remony which is renewed every third year.

GREAT numbers of these Indians are already arrived. Already we behold a large town rising in a plain, behind the fort, consisting of houses made of branches of trees, interwoven with each other, and fastened to a number of stakes. These people subsist upon the produce of hunting, fishing, and some sponta­neous fruits. We sometimes visit the women and children in their huts, and make them little presents; but we never go but in large companies, and well at­tended; [Page 159] for most of the men have a sa­vage fierceness in their looks, that is very terrible, though no real danger is to be apprehended.

MRS. Benson and I are in great, af­fliction —Mr. Euston has left Albany, and will soon leave the whole province, as he proposes to return to England this summer. It is no difficult matter to perceive, that he has left his heart be­hind him; and although he pleaded pressing affairs, which demanded his presence at home, yet it is certain, that the ill success of his passion for Clara, is the true cause of his sudden departure.

I LEARN, from my young friend, that he had, in the most respectful manner imaginable, solicited Mrs. Bellenden to favour his suit, and procure the Colo­nel's consent; giving such an account of his family, his fortune, and character, which, as they knew to be true, by the [Page 160] testimony of the first persons in the pro­vince, they could form no reasonable objection to.

MRS. Bellenden, however, received his proposals with great coldness, though with her usual politeness; and being pressed for a decisive answer, frankly owned, she had other views for Miss Clara, and begged he would desist from all future pretensions to her. He bowed, was silent, and from that mo­ment avoided all occasions of entertain­ing the young lady particularly.

THE evening before he left Albany he spent with me; and notwithstanding an apparent depression of spirits, his conversation was so agreeable and in­structive, as to fill me with the deepest regret for the loss of it.

I WAS at the fort the next morning, when he came to take leave of the fa­mily. [Page 161] Miss Bellenden, when she saw him enter the room, whispered me ex­ultingly—

'THANK Heaven! the Preacher, (so she always calls him) ‘is going to leave us.’

THE Colonel pressed his hand affec­tionately, and expressed much concern at his leaving Albany; Mrs. Bellenden said the civilist things in the world upon the occasion. He addressed himself to Miss Bellenden and Louisa, with an easy po­lite air; but his compliment to Clara was confused, inarticulate, and accom­panied with evident emotion.

SHE curtsied low, with an air of deep respect, without once raising her eyes, or uttering a word. As soon as he was gone, she withdrew, and was followed by a sarcastic laugh from her eldest sister, who is very angry that her triumphs are lessened, by the con­quests [Page 162] made by this little girl, who possesses the power of pleasing in a higher degree than any one I ever saw.

MR. C— is more pert than ever since the departure of Mr. Euston, in whose company he had sensibility enough to appear awed and abashed. Mrs. Bellenden is continually giving him les­sons of decorum, and he promises to practice them all, in hopes of pleasing Miss Clara, whose coldness and reserve to him are increased since the absence of his rival. He has made a formal ap­plication to the Colonel for his consent to address his youngest daughter; and was told, that he must first procure the appro­bation of his friends. This he immedi­ately set about, by writing to the Go­vernor, under whose direction he is placed, intreating him to propose the affair to his mother, and the Earl of H—, his uncle.

[Page 163]THE Governor has taken no other notice of his request, than to send or­ders for his leaving Albany immediately, and returning to New-York.

IN his Excellency's letter to the Co­lonel, upon this occasion, he hints at the reason of his sudden order. The Colo­nel answered with that noble frankness which marks his character; and gave him an account of the young man's ap­plication, and the answer he had thought proper to give him; treating the mat­ter, however, in so careless a manner, as gave him to understand, that he had scarce considered it as meriting any serious attention.

MRS. Bellenden charges the Gover­nor with unpoliteness on this occasion, and want of due respect to her husband; whose birth, she hints, is equal if not superior to that of the Governor; al­though he holds but the second rank in the province.

[Page 164]IT is certain, that the immediate or­der he sent for the young man's leaving Albany, seemed suggested by a very unnecessary caution, if we consider the noble principles which influence all the actions, of Colonel Bellenden. His ge­nerous character could not be unknown to the Governor; and Mrs. Bellenden is, possibly, not much in the wrong, when she insinuates, that his extreme caution was the result of a thorough ac­quaintance with his own heart, which would not suffer him to be scrupulous, if an advantageous offer for one of his daughters was made him.

WHEN Mr. C— received the Governor's letter, he flew to the Fort, and entered Mrs. Bellenden's apartment with it open in his hand. She was be­ginning to condole with the disappointed lover, when he interrupted her by ex­claiming, ‘Was there ever any thing so mortifying, Madam? here am I commanded to return to New-York; [Page 165] and so I shall lose the fine sight you will have here soon. This meeting with the Indians must needs be very enter­taining, and would have afforded me something to talk of, when I returned to England. I never will forgive the Governor for playing me this trick.’

MRS. Bellenden, amazed and con­founded at this new absurdity, looked at him for a moment with great con­tempt.

'I KNOW not,' said she, at last, ‘whe­ther you will have any thing to talk of when you return to England, but I am sure, whoever has seen and con­versed with you, will have something to talk of as long as they live.’

HE bowed with the most satisfied air imaginable; then begged permission to wait upon Miss Clara.

[Page 166] ‘WHY, what have you to say to her, Sir?’ said Mrs. Bellenden.

'SAY to her, Madam!' replied he, ‘why she has heard, I suppose, that I am ordered back to New-York.’

'AND what then?' said Mrs. Bel­lenden.

'WHAT then, Madam!' repeated he, staring at her with signs of surprise.—

'THIS order does not affect her,' re­sumed the lady, she will not lose the fine sight.’—She smiled.—The youth looked a little disconcerted.

'To be plain with you, Mr. C—,' pursued she, ‘Clara has received orders from her father, to see you no more. When your relations think proper to make any proposals to Mr. Bellenden, it will then be time enough to consi­der [Page 167] whether we will accept them or not.’

SOME company coming in, prevented any further discourse upon the subject. Mr. C— being to set out that af­ternoon, Mrs. Bellenden invited him to dinner; and as I was taking leave of her, she followed me to the door of her apartment, and, in a whisper, desired me to take Clara home with me, and to tell her, she was permitted to pass the day at my house. This offer was highly acceptable, both to the young lady and myself. The ridiculous character of her lover afforded us great diversion; and I could perceive she was in transports at being thus freed from his addresses.

MRS. Bellenden has since told me, that Mr. C— had not the least ap­pearance of a despairing lover all dinner time, where he eat very heartily, and talked a great deal of nothing, as usual.

[Page 168]THIS young man's volubility is really surprising. The reason Hudibras gives, why those who talk on trifles speak with the greatest fluency, is, that the tongue is like a race-horse, which runs the fas­ter the less weight it carries; and Mr. C— never fails to distance all his opponents.

BUT scarce was the cloth removed, and the servants retired, when suddenly starting up, he, with a melancholy ear­nestness in his looks, begged the Colo­nel to give him audience for a few mo­ments in his closet—the Colonel com­plied. As soon as they were entered, he shut the door, and falling down upon his knees, with his hands clasped, and tears in his eyes, he implored the Colo­nel to give his consent, that the chap­lain might marry hirn to Miss Clara, be­fore he went away. The Colonel en­deavoured to raise him, and smiling, said, he asked a thing which his honour would not permit him to grant. But [Page 169] to get rid of his importunities, told him, that if my Lord H— would write to him, and give his free consent to his marriage with his daughter, he should have liberty to see her; but as her free consent was no less necessary, he must next endeavour to gain that.

THE young man, as if all difficulties were now removed, rose up in a trans­port, kissed his hand, and returning to the room where he had left Mrs. Bel­lenden and her two daughters, took leave of them very politely; the Colo­nel accompanying him to the water­side, where he staid till he saw him em­bark, on board the sloop that waited for him.

YESTERDAY the arrival of the Gover­nor was announced, by the firing of the cannon of the Fort. The river was covered with the sloops that carried his train, which was increased by a crowd of persons, whom curiosity induced to [Page 170] join them. Mrs. Bellenden took me in her coach to the water-side, to see the manner of his reception. His Excel­lency had reason to be pleased with Co­lonel Bellenden's attention on this oc­casion; he had never been welcomed, it was said, with equal distinction. I was struck with this circumstance, so much to the honour of our commandant. Mrs. Bellenden and her daughters were in raptures, when the Colonel, at the head of the troops, saluted the Governor as he passed. This ceremony, which is in itself very graceful, was performed by the Colonel with peculiar elegance, to which the dignity of his person and air greatly contributed.

THE Governor was attended by an immense crowd, to the house that had been provided for him; for he absolutely refused to accept of an apartment in the Fort, for fear of incommoding the fa­mily. He took notice to those about him, of the particularly honourable re­ception, [Page 171] Colonel Bellenden had given him. And that he might not be out­done in generosity, took the very extra­ordinary resolution of paying him a visit that same evening; accordingly, he slipped away from the obsequious crowd, and attended only by five or six gentlemen of his train, took his way on foot to the Fort.

I WAS walking with the ladies upon the ramparts, and the Colonel had just joined us, when the centinels at the gate, sent to inform him, that the Go­vernor was coming up the Fort-hill.

THE Colonel immediately ordered the guard to turn out to receive him; but Mr. Blood, the lieutenant who mounted guard that day, was not to be found.

COLONEL Bellenden, who without consi­dering his rank, thought only of paying the Governor the accustomed honours, [Page 172] performed the duty of a lieutenant upon guard, headed the men himself, and saluted the Governor as he entered the gates.

MR. Mountague, surprised, ran up to him with some precipitation; and laying hold of his pike, which he him­self gave into the hands of a soldier, em­braced him with the warmest expressi­ons of kindness and respect, and arm in arm they walked together into the house; where the Colonel introduced him to his wife and family.

THE Governor, who is a very well bred man, soon dispersed, by the po­liteness of his compliments, the cloud upon Mrs. Bellenden's brow, who re­tained some resentment in her heart against him, for the supposed slight they had received on Mr. C—'s account. His Excellency looked earnestly at Clara, and singling her out, entered into some conversation with her. He [Page 173] afterwards said, to a gentleman in his company, who repeated it to Mr. Ne­ville, that he was surprised C—, who was a blockhead, had taste enough to fall in love with her.

HE was willing, as it should seem, to prove that he did not condemn his taste; for when Mr. Blood, by the Colonel's orders, went to receive the watch-word from the Governor, the gallant old gen­tleman gave this young lady's name for the word; and, by his directions, the lieutenant repeated it aloud to the Colo­nel, before all the company, saying—

'SIR, the word is—Clara.'

THIS piece of gallantry produced different effects on the company; Mrs. Bellenden looked pleased, Miss Bellen­den bit her lips almost through with spite, Clara blushed, all were surprised, but Mr. Blood thought proper to as­sume a disapproving sneer.

[Page 174]'YOUR Excellency,' said the Colo­nel, ‘has paid a dangerous compliment to the ladies; remember, it was a woman that betrayed the capitol.’

'AYE,' replied Mr. Mountague, wiih a side glance at Mr. Blood, whose impertinent looks had not escaped his notice, ‘but it was a goose that saved it—You may depend upon your lieu­tenant, I suppose, Colonel?’

MR. Blood left the room, with fury in his countenance; and afterwards de­clared to Mr. Neville, that if Mr. Montague had not been commander in chief, he would have challenged him, for calling him, by implication, a goose. He continues violently out of humour, blusters, and talks big.

MRS. Benson diverts herself, and every one else, with the singularities of this doughty lieutenant. ‘The whole man,’ says she, ‘as a wit once ob­served [Page 175] of such another Drawcansir, con­sists only of a pair of black menacing brows, and two fierce mustachios; and, therefore, utterly to defeat him, there needs only three or four clips of a pair of scissars. It is not possible to be afraid of him in earnest, for all his big looks.’ She thinks he hath choler enough, but does not believe he has any heart. She reckons him in the number of beasts that are skittish and rusty, but not furi­ous and dangerous. The Colonel told her, he had been often in the field. ‘I believe it,’ she replied, ‘but then it has been rather to feed than to fight.’

I WAS present to-day at the first meeting between the Governor and the chiefs of the Indian tribes. The assem­bly was held in a large hall. —The Go­vernor sat in state, attended by all the officers and the gentlemen of his train; our commandant sat on his right hand; [Page 176] the mayor, and the other magistrates, on his left. The Indian chiefs, who were placed opposite to him, were vener­able old men; they spoke in turn by their interpreter, and delivered them­selves gracefully enough. I regretted that I did not uhderstand their language; I am told it is highly figurative. Their tone of voice is soft and agreeable; and their passions, as it should seem, very obe­dient; for although many matters were discussed, which included complaints, reproaches, and even threats, yet all was uttered with great gravity and com­posure.

THE next day, the Governor gave them his answer. All was amicably settled; and on the third day, the go­vernment's presents, to the amount of five hundred pounds, were distributed among the tribes. The ceremony con­cluded with one of their war dances, at which none of us women chose to be present.

[Page 177]THEY are now preparing to return home; a circumstance which no one regrets. The rum, which was given them in large quantities, I think, very injudiciously, produces a great many disorders among them, and made them very disagreeable neighbours.

ALBANY is now quite deserted. — The Governor is gone, and has carried away with him all our gaiety. We have lived for these ten days past, in a conti­nual succession of balls, entertainments, and parties of pleasure; but they are over, and have left a melancholy void, which cannot be filled up with our usual simple amusements. Miss Bellenden is fretful, Louisa solemn, and Clara silent and pensive.

MY departure from this place, is fixed for next month. —A new source of disquiet among our little society, in [Page 178] which the absence of Mrs. Benson and myself, will be very sensibly felt, be­cause there are none to fill our places. However, Miss Bellenden will be easily comforted, for she has obtained leave of the Colonel and her mother, to spend three months at New-York: Miss Louisa goes with her. They are to be under the care of the wife of one of the prin­cipal merchants there, who is very de­serving of such a trust.

CLARA thinks herself happy, in being indulged in her request of remaining at home; she has lost much of her usual sprightliness; a soft and gentle melan­choly appears in her looks, and runs through all her conversation. It is the opinion of her family, and her friends, that her heart has received a deep, im­pression in favour of Mr. Euston; but this circumstance, which her modesty and reserve have concealed from herself; no one would be indelicate enough to hint to her. His acknowledged merit, [Page 179] and the respectful passion he expressed for her, might well produce this effect. I believe Mrs. Bellenden now thinks, she was rather too precipitate in rejecting his proposals, since her favourite scheme has not taken place.

MR. Euston is actually gone to Eng­land; Clara was present when the Co­lonel mentioned it, as a piece of news he had just heard; every one carefully avoided looking at her. As I sat close to her, I could hear her hem away a sigh; she left the room on some pretence soon af­terwards, and when she returned, no other alteration appeared in her counte­nance, than that her seriousness was a little encreased.

MRS. Bellenden, with a view to divert her daughter, as well as to oblige me, has given her leave to be of my party to Schonectady. Mr. Neville proposed this little excursion, in order to take a view of the fort he is to command there, and [Page 180] to acquire some knowledge of the place, and the inhabitants among whom we are soon to reside.

FROM thence we are to go to Fort-Hunter; where we shall have an oppor­tunity of becoming acquainted with the Mohawks, a tribe of the Iroquois, who are converted to Christianity, and have their village, or castle, as they call it, in the neighbourhood of that fort. We reckon upon being absent a week upon this excursion.

MRS. Bellenden insists upon having my little boy with her, till my return; he will be attended by Fanny, of whom he is excessively fond, and whose care and tenderness I can depend upon; so that I have nothing to make me uneasy, but a separation, which, however, will be but for a short time. I shall now close this packet, and leave it with the Colonel, that if any opportunity offers, while I am away, of sending it to New-York [Page 181] it may not be lost. I ever am, my dear Maria, your's most affec­tionately,

EUPHEMIA NEVILLE.

LETTER XLI. MRS. NEVILLE TO MRS. HARLEY.

MY DEAR MARIA,

I NEVER go far from home without carrying with me materials for writ­ing, that I may seize every opportunity of conversing with you in idea, at least; an employment which constitutes one of the greatest pleasures of my life.

WE arrived here, after a very plea­sant journey, early in the evening. Lieutenant Granger came out to meet us, and conducted us to his little for­tress, which we found a very simple sructure. The town, or rather village, [Page 183] (for so it is in appearance) consists of a small number of houses, built in the Dutch taste, and inhabited only by per­sons who carry on a trade with our In­dian allies. —No language but Dutch is spoke here. There are some planta­tions pleasantly situated, and the country about is romantic and picturesque.

MRS. Granger is a Dutch woman, a little more polished than her neigh­bours; an advantage which she owes to the conversation and instructions of her husband, who is a civil well bred man. She talks English tolerably well, and gave me all the information I could ex­pect concerning the place, the people, and the manner of living here.

OBSERVING that I sighed two or three times during her discourse, she told me, that to be sure, it was not so fine a place as Albany, and the people were not so rich, nor lived so grand, but that my husband might save a great [Page 184] deal of money here, and that you know, said she, is the chief thing to be con­sidered in this world.

I COULD not help smiling at this re­mark, which she took for a sign that I understood the force of her argument perfectly well.

I DO not find that I shall be tempted to make any acquaintance here, unless it is with an old lady, of whom she gave me this account; that she is an English woman, the widow of an officer who once commanded here, and whom she has survived near twenty years.

'WHEN her husband died,' said Mrs. Granger, ‘she resolved never to leave the place, but to die here herself, that she might be buried with him; so she built herself a pretty little house near the skirts of the town, and lives upon her pension and the profits of her negroes work: she has four of them, and they [Page 185] love her so well, that they think they can never work hard enough for her. But she is a strange sort of a woman, for she will take but half of their earn­ings; the other half she lodges in safe hands, that it may be a provision for them when she dies, when she intends they shall be free.’

‘SHE has other odd fancies too; for when she stands godmother to a child, as soon as it is three years old, she takes it, whether boy or girl, and breeds it up till it is ten years old, teaching it English and French, and writing and accompts, for she is very learned. She is never without one of these god­children in the house with her. My husband thinks it a great favour when she will allow him to visit her, which is but seldom, for she does not love company, and is never without a book in her hand; and every year she has a cargo of them comes from New-York.’

[Page 186]To meet with a person of such a de­scription in this solitary place, is surely a fortunate circumstance. I hope I shall not find her difficult of access, for most eagerly shall I solicit her acquaintance.

MRS. Benson and Mr. Neville are very busy in projecting alterations and improvements in the house and garden. The security one derives from living in a fortress in this wild country, and among these savage inhabitants, con­tribute not a little to reconcile me to my situation; and, all things considered, my condition will not by the wise be thought bad.

WE have been here two days. Our hospitable host is very unwilling to part with us, and pressed us much to visit the Falls of Cohas in his company. Accordingly, we set out the next morn­ing in a kind of covered waggon, in which our whole party was very well accommo­dated. We had clear uninterrupted [Page 187] sunshine, not a cloud appearing above the horizon, and very little wind at all. However, when we came near the Fall, there was a continual drizzling rain, occasioned by the vapours which rose from the water during its fall, and was carried about by the wind, so that our clothes were wetted as if there had been a shower of rain. This cataract, which is in the river Mohawk before it falls into Hudson's river, is said to be very remarkable. Both above and below are solid rocks; the rock there, Mr. Granger told us, is three hundred yards broad. At the fall there is a rock crossways in the river, running every where equally high, and crossing in a straight line with that side that forms the fall: it represents, as it were, a wall towards the other side, which is not quite perpendicular. The heighth of this rock over which the water rolls, ap­pears to be about four-and-twenty yards. We carried a cold collation with us, and dined very comfortably in [Page 188] a hut, built for the accommodation of travellers, whose curiosity induces them to visit this place; and got home early in the evening, sufficiently fatigued with our journey.

WE reached this place early in the afternoon. The river, which is navi­gable for several miles beyond it, af­forded us a most delightful passage, though in a canoe which was rowed with paddles by four careful Dutchmen, who observed a profound silence all the time. We were often willing to interrupt it, by asking several questions which curiosity suggested, but to no purpose, for they were not disposed to be in the least communicative.

THIS frail and simple vessel, which was nothing more than a large tree hol­lowed, at the bottom of which we sat upon mats and bear skins, carried us swiftly up the stream, while on each side our eyes wandered over the wild but [Page 189] charming scenes of the romantic shores, detatched woods, adding beauty to the tops of the verdant mountains, cast a sweet yet dreadful gloom on either hand; and, assisted by the gentle dashing of the little oars, disposed the mind to no unpleasing melancholy.

CLARA, lost in thought, was only roused from her reverie by the shouts of a number of Indians, who were ranged along the shore near, the place where we were to land. Several of them jump­ed officiously into the river, and drew the canoe on shore. Mr. Butler, who loves parade it seems, received the daughter of the commandant with great ceremony. The flag was displayed on the bastion; and the guard drawn up; a great croud of Indians followed us to the gates, and some of the chiefs were permitted to enter, one of whom, in a set speech of several minutes, addressed to Clara, invited us, as we were told by Mr. Butler, to their castle.

[Page 190]TO-DAY, being Sunday, we heard di­vine service in the Mohawk chapel, which is a pretty neat building. A great deal of finery is displayed on the pulpit and the altar, and there is some fine wrought plate for the communion table.

THE chaplain preached in Dutch. Every sentence of the sermon was re­peated to the Mohawks in their own language by an interpreter. The com­mon-prayer and the Psalms are translat­ed into the Mohawk tongue, and I ob­served that many of the Indians had their books in their hands.

I NEVER heard the Psalms sung more delightfully. The voices of the men are strong and clear; those of the wo­men exquisitely melodious. We walk often on the ramparts, from whence we have a fine view of the country and the Indian plantations, where all the work is done by the women, the sole [Page 191] employment of the men being hunting and fishing; and when they have brought in game sufficient to supply their families, they spend the rest of their time in drinking and smoaking in their huts, relating their past exploits in war, and planning new expeditions.

THESE poor females work in the fields with one or more infants at their backs; and thus encumbered, bring home heavy burdens, their husbands being too lazy and too insolent to partake their labours.

We went to visit the Indian town to­day, well accompanied; for Captain Butler ordered some of the soldiers to attend us, in appearance to do us ho­nour, but in reality to quiet our weak apprehensions, which he had in vain endeavoured to convince us was very ill founded. But it was not possible to persuade us we were safe without a [Page 192] guard, among such a great number of savages, whose appearance we thought very frightful.

Wa were obliged, in order to avoid giving offence by an appearance of pre­ference, to enter the houses or wig­wams, as the Indians call them, of all who invited us. Most of these wigwams were large enough to accommodate several families, each of which occu­pied no more than a square of eight or ten feet, that contained their bed, and a few other necessaries. The fire-place, which is in the middle of the hut, and is common to all, had a large opening in the roof to let out the smoke, of which however sufficient remained to blind us.

THE squaus, so the Indian women are called, were extremely pleased with the notice we took of their children; and, in return for the presents we made them, [Page 193] gave us garters composed of wampom, strung in figures, and dyed of the most beautiful colours imaginable.

THE principal chief of this nation has a house built and furnished in the Eu­ropean taste, for he is fond of imitating our manners; and here we actually drank tea; the squau, his lady, being ambitious to entertain us.

THIS Indian chief thought proper to confer the honour of adoption upon Miss Clara, as his brother did upon me. This is considered as a high mark of respect among them, which conferred upon us all the rights and claims of a Mo­hawk by birth. We each of us receiv­ed an Indian name upon this occasion. Their names always bear a relation to some real or imputed quality of body or mind. Clara's signified the morning star, and mine an ear of Indian wheat, denoting fruitfulness, for my present situation was not unnoticed by them.

[Page 194]THE ceremony concluded with one of their terrific dances, which we be­held from the ramparts of the Fort. Mr. Neville procured a quantity of their darling liquor rum, which he sent to them for their feast: it made them very quarrelsome, as usual; but we, safe behind our walls, suffered no inconve­nience from them.

WE returned here yesterday even­ing, and I had the pleasure to resign my fair charge to her mother, in good health, and tolerable spirits, receiving in return her hostage, as she called my little boy, who was so delighted to see me again, that he almost smothered me with kisses, and lisped out a thousand prettinesses to engage me always to stay with him, for it seems he took my ab­sence very heavily.

[Page 195]WE have received here an alarming account of an intended insurrection of the negroes at New-York: the plot was happily discovered before it was ripe for execution. We hear of no­thing but informations, prosecutions, tortures, and death. Should the in­fection spread, the danger here would be very great, where the negroes are still more numerous than at New-York. I had but one black servant in my house, a woman, and her I have sent away. There is no safety, I think, any where but in the Fort; and Mrs. Bellenden has been so good as to accommodate me with an apartment in it, where I shall remain till we remove to Schonectady, and there I shall be within walls and ramparts again. The Colonel's daugh­ters left New York but three days be­fore the conspiracy was discovered.

[Page 196]I AM now settled at Schonectady. My dear Mrs. Benson came here some days before me; and I found my house fitted up with an elegant neatness, which left me nothing to wish for on that article.

MR. Neville has been at as great an expence in improvements, as if he was to settle here for the remainder of his days. It is our opinion of things that is the measure of their value: like Caesar, he had rather be the first man in a village than the second in Rome; nor is he happy only in the gratification of his ambition, he contrives to amuse himself in a way that suits his taste:—He likes field sports, his bottle, and the pleasures of the table. He makes frequent ex­cursions to Albany and Fort Hunter; and spends much of his time at the neighbouring plantations, where, if he does not meet with polite manners, and sensible conversation, he is sure of find­ing [Page 197] good cheer, excellent wine, and un­restrained mirth.

MEANTIME I enjoy, in its highest perfection, what my favourite poet em­phatically calls ‘The feast of reason and the flow of soul,’ in the society of my dear Mrs. Benson, that wise and affectionate friend. With the widow lady I mentioned to you we are become very intimate; for she is extremely aimiable in her manners, and possesses a large share of good sense, im­proved by reading and reflection.

WITH such companions, with your dear animated letters, which make you present with me; with that never-fail­ing, that extatic source of delight, my lovely boy, now rising to my fondest hopes — this wild, this savage region blooms a paradise.

[Page 198]WITH this account of my present situarion, which I know will be welcome to you, I will close my letterS, for a ser­vant is just arrived from Albany, sent by the Colonel, to let me know that he is to send off some dispatches to-morrow to New-York, and will enclose any let­ters I have ready, that may be sent by the first ship that sails for England. Adieu, then, my dear Maria. Need I tell you that I am and ever will be yours most affectionately,

EUPHEMIA NEVILLE

LETTER XLII. MRS. BENSON TO MRS. HARLEY.

DEAR MADAM,

YOUR reproaches for our long si­lence would be just, had any thing but the severest of all calamities, pro­duced this seeming neglect. Your ami­able, and now unhappy friend, Madam, concluded her last letter to you in a strain, not only of content, but joy. — Her will wholly resigned to her present fortune, her heart glowing with the most delightful hopes of the future, she was eager to communicate, to her be­loved friend, part of the transports that filled her breast. Ah! what a reverse, in the space of a few months, did she [Page 200] experience! But take the melancholy tale in order, since I have now acquired composure enough to give you all the circumstances of it.

A FRIEND of Mr. Neville's, whom some private affairs had brought to New-York, accepted his invitation to stay a few days with us at Schonectady. Mr. Neville carried him to every place wor­thy his notice; the Falls of Cohas he had not yet seen, and a day was fixed upon for this little excursion. Mrs. Neville would willingly have avoided being of the party, the little Maria not being yet weaned; but Mr. Neville having resolved to take his son with him, the tender anxious mother would not stay behind.

ALL our party were in high spirits, except Mrs. Neville; her heart seemed to labour with some unknown oppres­sion, her speech was often interrupted with sighs, an air of melancholy over­spread her face. I asked her several [Page 201] times, if she was well: she assured me she felt no other disorder, but a strange tremor on her spirits, for which she could not account.

OBSERVING Mr. Neville to appear dissatisfied, at her being less chearful than usual, she endeavoured to dispel the gloom that hung upon her, and met his contracted brow with her wonted smile of complacency.

I MARKED the painful effort—I saw the starting tears that glistened in those eyes, which she turned upon him with an assumed chearfulness. Uneasy and apprehensive, I whispered, ‘My dear Euphemia, you are not well.’ ‘I am well, indeed I am,’ she replied; ‘but my spirits are uncommonly low to­day, that is all.’

OUR guest having sufficiently satis­fied his curiosity with the view of the cataract, our servants spread a cloth [Page 202] upon the rustic table, in the hut where we had dined before; and a cold col­lation being provided, we all sat down to it. But the keenness of that appetite, which I had borrowed from the air, and unusual exercise, was instantly checked, when I perceived that Mrs. Neville could not eat, but trifled with her knife and fork, in order to escape observation.

THE gentlemen drank their wine pretty freely; meantime, my dear Eu­phemia, heavy from fatigue, and yet more with the unusual weight that op­pressed her mind, gave the smiling in­fant, that hong upon her breast, into Fanny's arms, who sat next her; and reclining her head upon a mossy pillow, fell into a profound sleep.

MR. Neville now rose up, and pro­posed to his friend to walk into the woods, till the servants had dined, and the carriages were ready for our depar­ture. [Page 203] They took little Edward with them, that his innocent prattle might not interrupt his mother's repose; and, attended only by Mr. Neville's own ser­vant, they set out upon their walk.

MRS. Neville slept sound and easy; I was happy in the hope, that this salu­tary rest would restore her strength and spirits. When Fanny said, softly, ‘Are you not surprised, Madam, that Mr. Neville stays so long?’ I had never thought of this circumstance; I looked at my watch, and was astonished to find it so late.

THAT instant Mr. Neville entered the hut; with wild impatience in his look and accent, he enquired if Edward was with us.

'WITH us!' said I, trembling, ‘did he not go with you?’

[Page 204]'OH! Sutton,' said Mr. Neville to his friend, who had followed him, ‘my boy is not here!’

THIS exclamation was uttered so loud, that it awoke Mrs. Neville; her hus­band seeing her open her eyes, rushed out of the hut, and was followed by his friend. Fanny and I remained mo­tionless; fear and amazement strongly pictured in her face, and, I suppose, in mine; for Mrs. Neville, surprised at her husband's abrupt departure, turned towards us to ask the reason; but at the first glance, she uttered a piercing shriek.

'AH! I understand those looks,' said she, turning her eyes alternately upon Fanny and me; ‘some dreadful acci­dent has happened—My dear boy! my Edward! is he dead? Oh! tell me, I conjure you,’ pursued she, clasping her hands together, ‘tell me the truth— is my child dead?’ Her supplicating [Page 205] look and action, pierced my heart. 'Heaven forbid!' was all I could say. 'Then he is not dead,' said she; ‘Heaven by praised! I breathe again; from what agonizing pangs am I re­lieved! Oh! if you knew what I felt in that dreadful moment of suspence, which realized all the strange forebod­ings that have tortured my imagina­tion this day.’

Mr. Neville's servant that moment appeared at the door, and rolling his eager enquiring eyes about the place, exclaimed—

‘OH! he is not here! he is lost! I shall go mad!’

MRS. Neville starting up, cried, ‘who is lost? —My child! tell me—’

'OH! detain me not, Madam,' said he, for she held him by the arm; ‘let me go in search of him, I will find [Page 206] him, or never return.’ He broke from her loosened hold; she rushed out after him, with a distracted pace. Un­able to follow her, I received the sleep­ing infant out of Fanny's arms, who flew after her miserable mistress, and both were in an instant concealed from my sight by the impervious woods.

THUS desolate, alone, my heart torn with anguish, expecting every moment to hear of some new calamity, no crea­ture of whom I could make any inqui­ries, for all our people had dispersed themselves about the forest in search of the dear lost boy; trembling lest the baby should awake, and prest by wants I had no means of supplying, rent my afflicted heart with its tender wailings, I abandoned myself, I own it, I aban­doned myself, for a few moments, to despair.

REFLECTION at length returned, and brought with it sober councils.

[Page 207]'Is this,' said I to myself, ‘the part of a Christian, to shrink thus meanly in the hour of trial? where is that confidence in the goodness, that resignation to the will of God, which, till I was called upon to exert, I thought I possessed? Alas! in health and happy days, it is easy to talk of put­ting our trust in God; we readily trust him for life when we have health, for necessaries when we have compe­tence, and for deliverance when we have escaped from any danger; but when dangers assault, when calamities op­press us, we forget that he is powerful to save, and compassionate to relieve.’

I PURSUED this train of thought; and every moment, as a pious resignation gained upon my soul, I blessed, I adored the sacred power of religion, that could thus produce good out of evil, and make my present affliction the means of attaining eternal happiness.

[Page 208]THE calm uninterrupted sleep of the infant, afforded in my altered mind, matter for gratitude and praise; for how could I have stilled its cries, or procure proper food for it in this desert, unused, as it had hitherto been, to any nourish­ment but its fond mother's milk. —It slept, while I wept over it with tender­ness, and prayed with servor.

AT length I heard the sound of steps; I turned my eager eyes, my beloved Eu­phemia appeared, Mr. Sutton and her faithful Fanny supporting her. Now quick, now slow, was her flaultering pace; her countenance pale as death; her eyes, one instant raised to Heaven with supplicating tears, the next in wild despondence fixed on the ground; her closed hands wringing each other as if she would burst their sinews.

SHE threw herself on the bank beside me, without uttering a word; one ten­der glance she cast upon her sleeping in­sant [Page 209] in my arms, then burst into a flood of tears.

MR. Sutton begged her to compose herself if possible, saying, he would go again into the woods, and never give over his search, till he could bring her some news of her son. He went away instantly; and I took occasion from his last word, to draw some motives of con­solation for her.

‘OH! do not amuse me with false hopes,’ said she; ‘I shall never more see my child. He is, doubt it not, he is a prey to savage beasts, or savage men, still worse than beasts. Oh! thou delight of my heart and eyes, was this the fate to which thou wert born? —Mangled—torn—devoured—’

AT this sad thought she shrieked aloud, and sunk lifeless into Fanny's arms. With difficulty we recovered [Page 210] her; but it was but for a moment; successive fainting fits made us tremble for her life.

STILL I indulged some gleams of hope, that the sweet boy might yet be found. But when Mr. Neville returned, his frantic looks proclaimed the irremida­ble calamity.

'HE is lost!' groaned he out, ‘he is gone! —for ever gone!’

'AH!' cried I, 'see here,' pointing to his wife, who lay pale and motionless on Fanny's knees. —He gazed on her for a moment—

'WHAT is to be done?' said he; ‘tell me, advise me.’

'BY all means,' said Mr. Sutton, ‘let Mrs. Neville be carried home; place her in the carriage, thus insensi­ble [Page 211] as she is; believe it, when she re­covers sense and thought, it will be difficult to get her from hence.’

THIS, in the sad extremity to which we were reduced, was the best thing that could be done. Fanny got into the coach, and received her, still faint­ing, in her arms; I placed myself op­posite to them with the child, whose sleep seemed, by Providence, to be pro­longed for our comfort.

MR. Neville declared he would not leave the place, but continue his search till he found his son dead or alive. His friend staid with him, and the unhappy servant to whose care the child had been entrusted.

THIS man, in his looks and beha­viour, expressed the most poignant re­morse and agonizing grief; accusing him­self, with floods of tears, as being the cause of what had happened. It seems the [Page 212] little boy, tired with walking, desired to sit down under a tree, till his father and Mr. Sutton, who chose to go further, re­turned; William sat down with him. Overcome with the heat, and lulled by the dashing sound of the cataract, which may be heard at a great distance, they fell asleep.

THE man awakening, missed the child; and not yet much alarmed, sup­posing he had only strayed a few paces from him, called him several times aloud, and ran about in search of him. Not finding him, his fears increased; he wandered through the woods, still call­ing him in vain: then fondly hoping, that he should meet him, perhaps, in the place where he had so unfortunately fallen asleep, he returned thither; but instead of the child, saw Mr. Sutton and his master, who were looking for them.

[Page 213]MR. Neville seeing him alone, ex­claimed, with an eager look and tone, 'Where is Edward?' The man, con­founded, terrified, amazed, answered not a word. Mr. Neville, in a transport of fear and rage, seized him by the col­lar, and giving him a violent shake, 'Rascal,' said he, ‘have you lost my son?’

'OH! Sir,' cried the trembling wretch, ‘the child, tired with walking, fell asleep upon my knees; unhappily, I dropt asleep likewise, and when I waked, he was gone; I have been in search of him ever since.’

MR. Neville, now worked up almost to a delirium of fury, drew his sword, and had not Mr. Sutton held his arm, the poor fellow had fallen a victim to the tempest that raged within his soul.

'LET us go in search of your child,' said his friend to him; ‘let us take dif­ferent ways.’

[Page 214] ‘WHAT, hope of finding him safe in these wild woods!’ said the sighing fa­ther: ‘Ere this he is become a prey to some furious animal, or some human savage. —My fears distract me.’

WITH a furious pace he rushed into the thickest of the woods, calling his son. Mr. Sutton took a different path; as did the weeping servant. Alas! all were unsuccessful.

THE motion of the carriage, aided by some drops that Fanny applied, at length brought Mrs. Neville out of her faint­ing fit. With her senses, recollection —dreaful recollection! returned. She appeared not to consider where she was, or whither she was going, but groaned as if in the agonies of death. I begged her not to banish hope; that there was at least a possibility the child might be safe; that Mr. Neville and his friend were still in search of him; that en­quiries would be made at every farm­house [Page 215] for many miles around, and that so many persons would be employed in seeking him; that we were sure of hav­ing some intelligence.

'COULD you think it possible,' said she, ‘that I should ever be so trans­cendently miserable as to wish I may hear my boy is dead by a fall, by a sudden fit, or that he is drowned; but, oh! to have him torn in pieces by wild beasts, or mangled by those savage hunters of men, who, when hunger presses, devour their species. —Can I think that this is his fate, and not be mad? Talk not to me of hope. —Oh! when I think what my child has suffered, and is, perhaps, suffering now!’ —Again her spirits, her senses forsook her. Scarce did it seem charity to use any efforts to recover her from this state of insen­sibility.

[Page 216]IN these temporary deaths, from which our cares rescued her only to fall into them again, was this melancholy journey passed. At length we reached the Fort; we carried her up to her chamber, we put her to bed; a violent fever seized her; her ravings shewed the horrid images that filled her imagi­nation.

SOMETIMES she fancied she saw her son in the paws of a wild beast; some­times sprawling upon the lance of some ferocious Indian, writhing in the ago­nies of death. Her cries, her heart­rending complaints, filled all who heard her with the deepest anguish. Mrs. Lawson shared in all my sorrows and all my fatigue on this sad event.

FROM the Bellenden family we experienced every effort of tender sym­pathizing friendship. A very skilful phy­sician was, by their means, brought [Page 217] from New-York. He gave us little hope, and her death was hourly ex­pected.

MR. Neville returned, after an ab­sence of eight days, which he had spent in incessant wanderings, with beating heart. We crouded round him as soon. as he appeared:-''Tis all over,' said he; ‘there is no more room for hope or fear—my boy is dead.’

'THE manner,' cried I, almost breathless with terror— ‘tell us the man­ner of his death.’

'HEAVEN be praised!' said he, ‘that was not so horrid as I feared — he was drowned—he had strayed too near the river, he fell in. A countryman, (for William has not been heard of since) saw the lifeless corse of the dear in­nocent carried away by the stream.’ — A burst of grief here stopped his speech for a moment; then recovering— ‘Tell [Page 218] me your tale of horror now,’ said he; 'my wife, where is she?'

MRS. Lawson with some caution in­formed him of her condition, and would have prevented him from going into her chamber, but the physician was of opi­nion that the sight of him might have an effect very contrary to what we fear­ed. She had known none of us for se­veral days, and still continued to rave, and paint those horrid scenes that filled her tortured imagination.

MR. Neville just shewed himself. She started—she screamed—he retired. She rose up in her bed, and eagerly drew back the curtain.

'WHERE is he?' said she; ‘did I not see him?’

'WHO, my dear Euphemia,' said I, 'who did you see?'

[Page 219]'MY husband,' she replied; ‘where is he gone? why will you not let him come to me?’

TRANSPORTED at this instance of her returning reason, I called to him to ap­proach. She seized his hand with an eager pressure—

‘HAVE you found his mangled limbs?’ said she: ‘have you buried him? Was he, Oh! tell me, was he not devoured?’

MR. Neville was silent, not knowing what to say to her, when the physician interposed—

'TELL her the truth,' said he; ‘the truth will be less dreadful than the horrid ideas that possess her fancy.’

'MY dear Euphemia,' said Mr. Ne­ville, ‘be patient, be resigned — our child was drowned.’ — She paused a [Page 220] moment; then looking earnestly at him —

'You say he was drowned,' said she; 'are you sure of it?' The physician whispered— 'Say you saw him dead.'

'ALAS!' said he, ‘I am too sure of it.’

'Now then I may weep,' said she, after a pause of a moment— ‘now I may grieve; it is sorrow now, before it was distraction. Oh! my dear boy, you are dead, I shall never see you more; but you was not devoured.’ She threw her arms about my neck as I was leaning over her; and hiding her face in my bosom, burst into tears.

OH! how I blest the salutary shower; and, although I felt that the strong agony of sorrow shook her whole frame as I held her in my arms, yet, while her tears bedewed my bosom, I was chear­ed [Page 221] with the hope of a favourable change in her distemper.

FATIGUED at length, and almost fainting, her head sunk upon her pil­low, she closed her eyes, and but for the frequent sighs that forced their way, we should have thought, her dead.

THE physician, who had caused a composing medicine to be prepared for her, now gave it her himself. She swallowed it without uttering a word or opening her eyes, and soon afterwards fell into a profound sleep, that lasted several hours.

THIS first symptom of her amend­ment was followed by others that con­firmed our hopes. When she awoke she knew us all; desired to see the little Maria, who had been consigned to Fanny's care, and was perfectly well. She kissed and blessed her; spoke with great tenderness to her husband, and [Page 222] thanked Mrs. Lawson for her friendly attention. To me she spoke not, but held my hand fast clasped in hers, and sometimes pressed it to her lips. She often sighed, and I could observe tears steal down her cheeks continually.

IN this calm silent sorrow she remain­ed several days; meantime her fever abated fast; the physician pronounced her out of danger; and all we had now to do, he said, was to endeavour to recruit her strength and spirits. Mrs. Bellen­den came herself to fetch her to Al­bany; and it seemed to be the chief bu­siness of the whole family to soothe, to comfort, and amuse her.

PATIENT now as suffering infancy, and full of devout resignation, her grief is calm, sedate, and silent; but still she grieves. She has lost her usual chear­fulness, but the sensiblity of her heart is increased; always tender and com­passionate, she is now more so than [Page 223] ever, and feels for the woes of others as if she had none of her own to lament.

I LOVE, I admire her if possible more than ever. Well has it been said, that adversity is the shining time of the wise and good. None are more miserable than those who never experienced cala­mity; how can it be known whether they be good or bad? Such virtues as are only faculties and dispositions, de­serve little praise; but every act of vir­tue has in itself the principles of its own reward.

SUCH arguments as these I pressed upon my dear Euphemia, when I apprehend­ed her grief for the loss of her son would exceed the bounds her good sense and piety seemed to prescribe to it. I put her in mind of the noble stand she made against immoderate sorrow, when she lost her excellent mother; a loss that was followed by many cruel disappoint­ments and mortifications.

[Page 224]'ALAS!' she replied, ‘it is but an accidental fortitude we can boast, when we bear misfortunes so unequally. I know—I feel my weakness, but I am not able to overcome it.’ The sighs and tears that accompanied this con­fession, proved its truth.'

'No affliction, my child,' said I, ‘is greater than despair; it turns a natural evil into an intolerable one, and con­stitutes the punishment to which the wicked are condemned.’

WHEN I found a calm and steady re­signation take the place of that poignant anguish which had so long filled her heart: When I saw her return to her usual employments, if not with equal vicacity, yet with an air serene and com­posed: When I saw her cares for the little Maria give full employment for her maternal tenderness, without any of those sad retrospective thoughts which used to cast a damp upon the pleasure [Page 225] she received from the innocent caresses of this lovely child: then my hopes of her returning peace were confirm­ed. I congratulated her upon a change, so ardently desired by her friends, so salutary for herself. Never shall I forget her look and accent when she thus answered me: —

‘MY dear Mrs. Benson; those who will not suffer their portion of misery here, deserve to be something less than human, but nothing better.’

THUS, Madam, have I fulfilled the sad task my situation imposed upon me, of giving you this sad narrative. You will weep—you will mourn for the sufferings of your amiable friend; but when you have paid that tender tribute to her misfortunes, remember, that she is no longer in the first paroxisms of her grief; that while your imagination repre­sents her sinking beneath their weight, reason and religion have produced that [Page 226] resignation, which philosophy teaches, but which true piety alone can reach.

THAT heaven may preserve you from such severe trials, is my first and ardent wish; that your fortitude and patience may be equal to her's, my next. I am, with great truth, Madam, your faithful humble servant,

BENSON.
END OF THE THIRD VOLUME.

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