LONDON: Printed for T. PAYNE and SON at the Mews-Gate, and T. CADELL in the Strand. MDCCLXXXII.




LADY Margaret Monckton received Cecilia with the most gloomy cold­ness: she apologised for the liberty she had taken in making use of her lady­ship's house, but, meeting no return of civility, she withdrew to the room which had been prepared for her, and resolved as much as possible to keep out of her sight.

It now became necessary without further delay to settle her plan of life, and fix her place of residence. The forbidding looks of Lady Margaret made her hasten her resolves, which otherwise would for a while [Page 4] have given way to grief for her recent mis­fortune.

She sent for the surveyor who had the superintendance of her estates, to enquire how soon her own house would be fit for her reception; and heard there was yet work for near two months.

This answer made her very uncomforta­ble. To continue two months under the roof with Lady Margaret was a penance she could not enjoin herself, nor was she at all sure Lady Margaret would submit to it any better: she determined, therefore, to re­lease herself from the conscious burthen of being an unwelcome visitor, by boarding with some creditable family at Bury, and devoting the two months in which she was to be kept from her house, to a general ar­rangement of her affairs, and a final settling with her guardians.

For these purposes it would be necessary she should go to London: but with whom, or in what manner, she could not decide. She desired, therefore, another conference with Mr. Monckton, who met her in the parlour.

She then communicated to him her schemes; and begged his counsel in her perplexities.

He was delighted at the application, and extremely well pleased with her design of [Page 5] boarding at Bury, well knowing, he could then watch and visit her at his pleasure, and have far more comfort in her society than even in his own house, where all the vigi­lance with which he observed her, was short of that with which he was himself observed by Lady Margaret. He endeavoured, how­ever, to dissuade her from going to town, but her eagerness to pay the large sum she owed him, was now too great to be con­quered. Of age, her fortune wholly in her power, and all attendance upon Mrs. Charl­ton at an end, she had no longer any excuse for having a debt in the world, and would suffer no persuasion to make her begin her career in life, with a negligence in settling her accounts which she had so often cen­sured in others. To go to London there­fore she was fixed, and all that she desired was his advice concerning the journey.

He then told her that in order to settle with her guardians, she must write to them in form, to demand an account of the sums that had been expended during her minority, and announce her intention for the future to take the management of her fortune into her own hands.

She immediately followed his directions, and consented to remain at the grove till their answers arrived.

Being now, therefore, unavoidably fixed [Page 6] for some time at the house, she thought it proper and decent to attempt softening Lady Margaret in her favour. She exerted all her powers to please and to oblige her; but the exertion was necessarily vain, not only from the disposition, but the situation of her ladyship, since every effort made for this conciliatory purpose, rendered her doubly amiable in the eyes of her husband, and consequently to herself more odious than ever. Her jealousy, already but too well founded, received every hour the poi­sonous nourishment of fresh conviction, which so much soured and exasperated a temper naturally harsh, that her malignity and ill-humour grew daily more acrimo­nious. Nor would she have contented her­self with displaying this irascibility by ge­neral moroseness, had not the same suspicious watchfulness which discovered to her the pas­sion of her husband, served equally to make manifest the indifference and innocence of Cecilia; to reproach her therefore, she had not any pretence, though her knowledge how much she had to dread her, past cur­rent in her mind for sufficient reason to hate her. The Angry and the Violent use little discrimination; whom they like, they en­quire not if they approve; but whoever, no matter how unwittingly, stands in their way, [Page 7] they scruple not to ill use, and conclude they may laudably detest.

Cecilia, though much disgusted, gave not over her attempt, which she considered but as her due while she continued in her house. Her general character, also, for peevishness and haughty ill-breeding, skil­fully, from time to time, displayed, and artfully repined at by Mr. Monckton, still kept her from suspecting any peculiar ani­mosity to herself, and made her impute all that passed to the mere rancour of ill-hu­mour. She confined herself, however, as much as possible to her own apartment, where her sorrow for Mrs. Charlton almost hourly encreased, by the comparison she was forced upon making of her house with the grove.

That worthy old lady left her grand­daughters her co-heiresses and sole execu­trixes. She bequeathed from them nothing considerable, though she left some donations for the poor, and several of her friends were remembered by small legacies. Among them Cecilia had her picture, and favourite trinkets, with a paragraph in her will, that as there was no one she so much loved, had her fortune been less splendid, she should have shared with her grand-daughters what­ever she had to bestow.

Cecilia was much affected by this last and [Page 8] solemn remembrance. She more than ever coveted to be alone, that she might grieve undisturbed, and she lamented without ceas­ing the fatigue and the illness which, in so late a period, at it proved, of her life, she had herself been the means of occasioning to her.

Mr. Monckton had too much prudence to interrupt this desire of solitude, which indeed cost him little pain, as he considered her least in danger when alone. She re­ceived in about a week answers from both her guardians. Mr. Delvile's letter was closely to the purpose, without a word but of business, and couched in the haughtiest terms. As he had never, he said, acted, he had no accounts to send in; but as he was going to town in a few days, he would see her for a moment in the presence of Mr. Briggs, that a joint release might be signed, to prevent any future application to him.

Cecilia much lamented there was any necessity for her seeing him at all, and looked forward to the interview as the greatest mor­tification she could suffer.

Mr. Briggs, though still more concise, was far kinder in his language: but he ad­vised her to defer her scheme of taking the money into her own hands, assuring her she would be cheated, and had better leave it to him.

[Page 9] When she communicated these epistles to Mr. Monckton, he failed not to read, with an emphasis, by which his arrogant meaning was still more arrogantly enforced, the letter of Mr. Delvile aloud. Nor was he sparing in comments that might render it yet more offensive. Cecilia neither concurred in what he said, nor opposed it, but contented her­self, when he was silent, with producing the other letter.

Mr. Monckton read not this with more favour. He openly attacked the character of Briggs, as covetous, rapacious, and over­reaching, and warned her by no means to abide by his counsel, without first taking the opinion of some disinterested person. He then stated the various arts which might be practised upon her inexperience, enumerat­ed the dangers to which her ignorance of business exposed her, and annotated upon the cheats, double dealings, and tricks of stock jobbing, to which he assured her Mr. Briggs owed all he was worth, till, per­plexed and confounded, she declared her­self at a loss how to proceed, and earnestly regretted that she could not have his coun­sel upon the spot.

This was his aim: to draw the wish from her, drew all suspicion of selfish views from himself: and he told her that he con­sidered her present situation as so critical, [Page 10] the future confusion or regularity of her money transactions seeming to depend upon it, that he would endeavour to arrange his affairs for meeting her in London.

Cecilia gave him many thanks for the kind intention, and determined to be to­tally guided by him in the disposal and di­rection of her fortune.

Mean time he had now another part to act; he saw that with Cecilia nothing more remained to be done, and that, harbouring not a doubt of his motives, she thought his design in her favour did her nothing but honour; but he had too much knowledge of the world to believe it would judge him in the same manner, and too much con­sciousness of duplicity to set its judgment at defiance. To parry, therefore, the con­jectures which might follow his attending her, he had already prepared Lady Marga­ret to wish herself of the party: for how­ever disagreeable to him was her presence and her company, he had no other means to be under the same roof with Cecilia.

Miss Bennet, the wretched tool of his various schemes, and the mean sycophant of his lady, had been employed by him to work upon her jealousy, by secretly inform­ing her of his intention to go to town, at the same time that Cecilia went thither to meet her guardians. She pretended to have [Page 11] learned this intelligence by accident, and to communicate it from respectful regard; and advised her to go to London herself at the same time, that she might see into his de­signs, and be some check upon his pleasure.

The encreasing infirmities of Lady Mar­garet made this counsel by no means palat­able: but Miss Bennet, following the artful instructions which she received, put in her way so strong a motive, by assuring her how little her company was wished, that in the madness of her spite she determined upon the journey. And little heeding how she tormented herself while she had any view of tormenting Mr. Monckton, she was led on by her false confident to invite Cecilia to her town house.

Mr. Monckton, in whom by long prac­tice, artifice was almost nature, well know­ing his wife's perverseness, affected to look much disconcerted at the proposal; while Cecilia, by no means thinking it necessary to extend her compliance to such a punish­ment, instantly made an apology, and de­clined the invitation.

Lady Margaret, little versed in civility, and unused to the arts of persuasion, could not, even for a favourite project, prevail upon herself to use entreaty, and therefore, thinking her scheme defeated, looked gloo­mily disappointed, and said nothing more.

[Page 12] Mr. Monckton, saw with delight how much this difficulty inflamed her, though the moment he could speak alone with Cecilia he made it his care to remove it.

He represented to her that, however pri­vately she might live, she was too young to be in London lodgings by herself, and gave an hint which she could not but understand, that in going or in staying with only ser­vants, suspicions might soon be raised, that the plan and motive of her journey were different to those given out.

She knew he meant to insinuate that it would be conjectured she designed to meet Delvile, and though colouring, vext and provoked at the suggestion, the idea was sufficient to frighten her into his plan.

In a few days, therefore, the matter was wholly arranged, Mr. Monckton, by his skill and address, leading every one whi­ther he pleased, while, by the artful coolness of his manner, he appeared but to follow himself. He sat out the day before, though earnestly wishing to accompany them, but having as yet in no single instance gone to town in the same carriage with Lady Mar­garet, he dared trust neither the neighbour­hood nor the servants with so dangerous a subject for their comments.

Cecilia, compelled thus to travel with only her Ladyship and Miss Bennet, had a [Page 13] journey the most disagreeable, and deter­mined, if possible, to stay in London but two days. She had already fixed upon a house in which she could board at Bury when she returned, and there she meant quietly to reside till she could enter her own.

Lady Margaret herself, exhilarated by a notion of having outwitted her husband, was in unusual good spirits, and almost in good humour. The idea of thwarting his designs, and being in the way of his en­tertainment, gave to her a delight she had seldom received from any thing; and the belief that this was effected by the supe­riority of her cunning, doubled her con­tentment, and raised it to exultation. She owed him, indeed, much provocation and uneasiness, and was happy in this opportu­nity of paying her arrears.

Mean while that consummate master in every species of hypocrisy, indulged her in this notion, by the air of dissatisfaction with which he left the house. It was not that she meant by her presence to obviate any im­propriety: early and long acquainted with the character of Cecilia, she well knew, that during her life the passion of her husband must be confined to his own breast: but conscious of his aversion to herself, which she resented with the bitterest ill-will, and [Page 14] knowing how little, at any time, he desired her company, she consoled herself for her inability to give pleasure by the power she possessed of giving pain, and bore with the fatigue of a journey disagreeable and incon­venient to her, with no other view than the hope of breaking into his plan of avoiding her. Little imagining that the whole time she was forwaring his favourite pursuit, and only acting the part which he had ap­pointed her to perform.


LADY Margaret's town house was in Soho Square; and scarcely had Cecilia entered it, before her desire to speed her departure, made her send a note to each of her guardians, acquainting them of her ar­rival, and begging, if possible, to see them the next day.

She had soon the two following answers:



Received yours of the same date; can't come to-morrow. Will, Wednesday the 10th.

Am, &c. JNo BRIGGS.
Miss Cecilia Beverley.


Mr. Delvile has too many affairs of im­portance upon his hands, to make any appointment [Page 16] till he has deliberated how to arrange them. Mr. Delvile will acquaint Miss Beverley when it shall be in his power to see her.

These characteristic letters, which at ano­ther time might have diverted Cecilia, now merely served to torment her. She was eager to quit town, she was more eager to have her meeting with Mr. Delvile over, who, oppressive to her even when he meant to be kind, she foresaw, now he was in wrath, would be imperious even to rude­ness. Desirous, however, to make one in­terview suffice for both, and to settle what­ever business might remain unfinished by letters, she again wrote to Mr. Briggs, whom she had not spirits to encounter with­out absolute necessity, and informing him of Mr. Delvile's delay, begged he would not trouble himself to call till he heard from her adain.

Two days passed without any message from them; they were spent chiefly alone, and very uncomfortably, Mr. Monckton being content to see little of her, while he knew she saw nothing of any body else. On the third morning, weary of her own thoughts, weary of Lady Margaret's ill­humoured looks, and still more weary of [Page 17] Miss Bennet's parasitical conversation, she determined, for a little relief to the heavi­ness of her mind, to go to her book­seller, and look over and order into the country such new publications as seemed to promise her any pleasure.

She sent therefore, for a chair, and glad to have devised for herself any amusement, set out in it immediately.

Upon entering the shop, she saw the Book­seller engaged in close conference with a man meanly dressed, and much muffled up, who seemed talking to him with uncommon earnestness, and just as she was approaching, said, ‘"To terms I am indifferent, for writ­ing is no labour to me; on the contrary, it is the first delight of my life, and therefore, and not for dirty pelf, I wish to make it my profession."’

The speech struck Cecilia, but the voice struck her more, it was Belfield's! and her amazement was so great, that she stopt short to look at him, without heeding a man who attended her, and desired to know her com­mands.

The bookseller now perceiving her, came forward, and Belfield, turning to see who interrupted them, started as if a spectre had crossed his eyes, flapped his hat over his face, and hastily went out of the shop.

Cecilia checking her inclination to speak [Page 18] to him, from observing his eagerness to escape her, soon recollected her own errand, and employed herself in looking over new books.

Her surprize, however, at a change so sudden in the condition of this young man, and at a declaration of a passion for writing, so opposite to all the sentiments which he had professed at their late meeting in the cottage, awakened in her a strong curiosity to be informed of his situation; and after putting aside some books which she desired to have packed up for her, she asked if the gentleman who had just left the shop, and who, she found by what he had said, was an Author, had written any thing that was published with his name?

‘"No, ma'am,"’ answered the Booksel­ler, ‘"nothing of any consequence; he is known, however, to have written several things that have appeared as anonymous; and I fancy, now, soon, we shall see some­thing considerable from him."’

‘"He is about some great work, then?"’

‘"Why no, not exactly that, perhaps, at present; we must feel our way, with some little smart jeu d'esprit before we undertake a great work. But he is a very great genius, and I doubt not will produce some­thing extraordinary."’

‘"Whatever he produces,"’ said Cecilia, [Page 19] ‘"as I have now chanced to see him, I shall be glad you will, at any time, send to me."’

‘"Certainly, ma'am; but it must be among other things, for he does not chuse, just now, to be known: and it is a rule in our business never to tell people's names when they desire to be secret. He is a lit­tle out of cash, just now, as you may sup­pose by his appearance, so instead of buy­ing books, he comes to sell them. How­ever, he has taken a very good road to bring himself home again, for we pay very handsomely for things of any merit, espe­cially if they deal smartly in a few touches of the times."’

Cecilia chose not to risk any further ques­tions, lest her knowledge of him should be suspected, but got into her chair, and re­turned to Lady Margaret's.

The sight of Belfield reminded her not only of himself; the gentle Henrietta again took her place in her memory, whence her various distresses and suspences had of late driven from it every body but Delvile, and those whom Delvile brought into it. But her regard for that amiable girl, though sunk in the busy scenes of her calamitous uncertainties, was only sunk in her own bosom, and ready, upon their removal, to revive with fresh vigour. She was now in­deed more unhappy than even in the period [Page 20] of her forgetfulness, yet her mind was no longer filled with the restless turbulence of hope, which still more than despondency unfitted it for thinking of others.

This remembrance thus awakened, a­wakened also a desire of renewing the con­nection so long neglected. All scruples concerning Delvile had now lost their foun­dation, since the doubts from which they arose were both explained and removed: she was certain alike of his indifference to Henrietta, and his separation from herself; she knew that nothing was to be feared from painful or offensive rivalry, and she resolved, therefore, to lose no time in seeking the first pleasure to which since her disappointment she had voluntarily looked forward.

Early in the evening, she told Lady Mar­garet she was going out for an hour or two, and sending again for a chair, was carried to Portland-Street.

She enquired for Miss Belfield, and was shewn into a parlour, where she found her drinking tea with her mother, and Mr. Hobson, their landlord.

Henrietta almost screamed at her sight, from a sudden impulse of joy and surprize, and, running up to her, flung her arms round her neck, and embraced her with the most rapturous emotion: but then, drawing back with a look of timidity and shame, [Page 21] she bashfully apologized for her freedom, saying, ‘"Indeed, dearest Miss Beverley, it is no want of respect, but I am so very glad to see you it makes me quite forget myself!"’

Cecilia, charmed at a reception so in­genuously affectionate, soon satisfied her doubting diffidence by the warmest thanks that she had preserved so much regard for her, and by doubling the kindness with which she returned her caresses.

‘"Mercy on me, madam,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, who during this time had been busily employed in sweeping the hearth, wiping some slops upon the table, and smoothing her handkerchief and apron, ‘"why the girl's enough to smother you. Henny, how can you be so troublesome? I never saw you behave in this way before."’

‘"Miss Beverley, madam,"’ said Henriet­ta, again retreating, ‘"is so kind as to par­don me, and I was so much surprised at seeing her, that I hardly knew what I was about."’

‘"The young ladies, ma'am,"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"have a mighty way of saluting one another till such time as they get hus­bands: and then I'll warrant you they can meet without any salutation at all. That's my remark, at least, and what I've seen of the world has set me upon making it."’

This speech led Cecilia to check, however [Page 22] artless, the tenderness of her fervent young friend, whom she was much teized by meeting in such company, but who seemed not to dare understand the frequent looks which she gave her expressive of a wish to be alone with her.

‘"Come, ladies,"’ continued the facetious Mr. Hobson, ‘"what if we were all to sit down, and have a good dish of tea? and suppose, Mrs. Belfield, you was to order us a fresh round of toast and butter? do you think the young ladies here would have any objection? and what if we were to have a little more water in the tea-kettle? not forgetting a little more tea in the tea­pot. What I say is this, let us all be com­fortable; that's my notion of things."’

‘"And a very good notion too,"’ said Mrs. Belfield, ‘"for you who have nothing to vex you. Ah, ma'am, you have heard, I suppose, about my son? gone off! no­body knows where! left that lord's house, where he might have lived like a king, and gone out into the wide world nobody knows for what!"’

‘"Indeed?"’ said Cecilia, who, from see­ing him in London concluded he was again with his family, ‘"and has he not acquainted you where he is?"’

‘"No, ma'am, no,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, ‘he's never once told me where he is gone, [Page 23] nor let me know the least about the matter, for if I did I would not taste a dish of tea again for a twelvemonth till I saw him get back again to that lord's! and I believe in my heart there's never such another in the three kingdoms, for he has sent here after him I dare say a score of times. And no wonder, for I will take upon me to say he won't find his fellow in a hurry, Lord as he is."’

‘"As to his being a Lord,"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"I am one of them that lay no great stress upon that, unless he has got a good long purse of his own, and then, to be sure, a Lord's no bad thing. But as to the matter of saying Lord such a one, how d'ye do? and Lord such a one, what do you want? and such sort of compliments, why in my mind, it's a mere nothing, in com­parison of a good income. As to your son, ma'am, he did not go the right way to work. He should have begun with busi­ness, and gone into pleasure afterwards: and if he had but done that, I'll be bold to say we might have had him at this very minute drinking tea with us over this fire­side."’

‘"My son, Sir,"’ said Mrs. Belfield, rather angrily, ‘"was another sort of a person than a person of business: he always despised [Page 24] it from a child, and come of it what may, I am sure he was born to be a gentleman."’

‘"As to his despising business,"’ said Mr. Hobson, very contemptuously, ‘"why so much the worse, for business is no such de­spiseable thing. And if he had been brought up behind a counter, instead of dangling after these same Lords, why he might have had a house of his own over his head, and been as good a man as myself."’

‘"A house over his head?"’ said Mrs. Belfield, ‘"why he might have had what he would, and have done what he would, if he had but followed my advice, and put himself a little forward. I have told him a hundred times to ask some of those great people he lived amongst for a place at court, for I know they've so many they hardly know what to do with them, and it was always my design from the beginning that he should be something of a great man; but I never could persuade him, though, for any thing I know, as I have often told him, if he had but had a little courage he might have been an Ambassador by this time. And now, all of a sudden, to be gone nobody knows where!"—’

‘"I am sorry, indeed,"’ said Cecilia, who knew not whether most to pity or wonder at her blind folly; ‘"but I doubt not you will hear of him soon."’

[Page 25] ‘"As to being an Ambassador, ma'am"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"it's talking quite out of character. Those sort of great people keep things of that kind for their own poor relations and cousins. What I say is this; a man's best way is to take care of himself. The more those great people see you want them, the less they like your company. Let every man be brought up to busi­ness, and then when he's made his for­tune, he may walk with his hat on. Why now there was your friend, ma'am,"’ turn­ing to Cecilia, ‘"that shot out his brains without paying any body a souse; pray how was that being more genteel than standing behind a counter, and not owing a shilling?"’

‘"Do you think a young lady,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield warmly, ‘"can bear to hear of such a thing as standing behind a counter? I am sure if my son had ever done it, I should not expect any lady would so much as look at him. And yet, though I say it, she might look a good while, and not see many such persons, let her look where she pleased. And then he has such a winning manner into the bargain, that I believe in my heart there's never a lady in the land could say no to him. And yet he has such a prodigious shyness, I never could make him own he had so much as [Page 26] asked the question. And what lady can begin first?"’

‘"Why no,"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"that would be out of character another way. Now my notion is this; let every man be agreeable! and then he may ask what lady he pleases. And when he's a mind of a lady, he should look upon a frown or two as nothing; for the ladies frown in court­ship as a thing of course; it's just like a man's swearing at a coachman; why he's not a bit more in a passion, only he thinks he sha'n't be minded without it."’

‘"Well, for my part,"’ said Mrs. Bel­field, ‘"I am sure if I was a young lady, and most especially if I was a young lady of fortune, and all that, I should like a modest young gentleman, such as my son, for example, better by half than a bold swearing young fellow, that would make a point to have me whether I would or no."’

‘"Ha! Ha! Ha!"’ cried Mr. Hobson; ‘"but the young ladies are not of that way of thinking; they are all for a little life and spirit. Don't I say right, young ladies?"’

Cecilia, who could not but perceive that these speeches was levelled at herself, felt offended and tired; and finding she had no chance of any private conversation with Henrietta, arose to take leave: but while [Page 27] she stopped in the passage to enquire when she could see her alone, a footman knocked at the door, who, having asked if Mr. Belfield lodged there, and been answered in the affirmative, begged to know whether Miss Beverley was then in the house?

Cecilia, much surprised, went forward, and told him who she was.

‘"I have been, madam,"’ said he, ‘"with a message to you at Mr. Monckton's, in Soho-Square: but nobody knew where you was; and Mr. Monckton came out and spoke to me himself, and said that all he could suppose was that you might be at this house. So he directed me to come here."’

‘"And from whom, Sir, is your mes­sage?"’

‘"From the honourable Mr. Delvile, madam, in St. James's-Square. He desires to know if you shall be at home on Satur­day morning, the day after to-morrow, and whether you can appoint Mr. Briggs to meet him by twelve o'clock exactly, as he sha'n't be able to stay above three minutes."’

Cecilia gave an answer as cold as the message; that she would be in Soho-Square at the time he mentioned, and acquaint Mr. Briggs of his intention.

The footman then went away; and Henriet­ta told her, that if she could call some morn­ing she might perhaps contrive to be alone [Page 28] with her, and added, ‘"indeed I wish much to see you, if you could possibly do me so great an honour; for I am very miserable, and have nobody to tell so! Ah, Miss Be­verley! you that have so many friends, and that deserve as many again, you little know what a hard thing it is to have none!—but my brother's strange disappearing has half broke our hearts!"’

Cecilia was beginning a consolatory speech, in which she meant to give her pri­vate assurances of his health and safety, when she was interrupted by Mr. Albany, who came suddenly into the passage.

Henrietta received him with a look of pleasure, and enquired why he had so long been absent; but, surprised by the sight of Cecilia, he exclaimed, without answering her, ‘"why didst thou fail me? why ap­point me to a place thou wert quitting thy­self?—thou thing of [...]air professions! thou inveigler of esteem! thou vain, delusive promiser of pleasure!"’

‘"You condemn me too hastily,"’ said Cecilia; ‘"if I failed in my promise, it was not owing to caprice or insincerity, but to real and bitter misfortune which incapa­citated me from keeping it. I shall soon, however,—nay, I am already at your dis­posal, if you have any commands for me."’

‘"I have always,"’ answered he, ‘"commands [Page 29] for the rich, for I have always com­passion for the poor."’

‘"Come to me, then, at Mr. Monck­ton's in Soho-Square,"’ cried she, and has­tened into her chair, impatient to end a con­ference which she saw excited the wonder of the servants, and which also now drew out from the parlour Mr. Hobson and Mrs. Belfield. She then kissed her hand to Hen­rietta, and ordered the chairmen to carry her home.

It had not been without difficulty that she had restrained herself from mentioning what she knew of Belfield, when she found his mother and sister in a state of such pain­ful uncertainty concerning him. But her utter ignorance of his plans, joined to her undoubted knowledge of his wish of con­cealment, made her fear doing mischief by officiousness, and think it wiser not to be­tray what she had seen of him, till better informed of his own views and intentions. Yet, willing to shorten a suspence so un­easy to them, she determined to entreat Mr. Monckton would endeavour to find him out, and acquaint him with their anxiety.

That gentleman, when she returned to his house, was in a state of mind by no means enviable. Missing her at tea, he had asked Miss Bennet where she was, and hearing [Page 30] she had not left word, he could scarce conceal his chagrin. Knowing, however, how few were her acquaintances in town, he soon concluded she was with Miss Bel­field, but, not satisfied with sending Mr. Delvile's messenger after her, he privately employed one in whom he trusted for him­self, to make enquiries at the house without saying whence he came.

But though this man was returned, and he knew her safety, he still felt alarmed; he had flattered himself, from the length of time in which she had now done nothing without consulting him, she would scarce even think of any action without his pre­vious concurrence. And he had hoped, by a little longer use, to make his counsel become necessary, which he knew to be a very short step from rendering it abso­lute.

Nor was he well pleased to perceive, by this voluntary excursion, a struggle to cast off her sadness, and a wish to procure her­self entertainment: it was not that he de­sired her misery, but he was earnest that all relief from it should spring from himself: and though far from displeased that Delvile should lose his sovereignty over her thoughts, he was yet of opinion that, till his own liberty was restored, he had less to appre­hend from grief indulged, than grief allayed; [Page 31] one could but lead her to repining retirement, the other might guide her to a consolatory rival.

He well knew, however, it was as es­sential to his cause to disguise his disap­pointments as his expectations, and, certain that by pleasing alone he had any chance of acquiring power, he cleared up when Ceci­lia returned, who as unconscious of feeling, as of owing any subjection to him, pre­served uncontrolled the right of acting for herself, however desirous and glad of oc­casional instruction.

She told him where she had been, and related her meeting Belfield, and the un­happiness of his friends, and hinted her wish that he could be informed what they suffered. Mr. Monckton, eager to oblige her, went instantly in search of him, and returning to supper, told her he had traced him through the Bookseller, who had not the dexterity to parry his artful enquiries, and had actually appointed him to break­fast in Soho-Square the next morning.

He had found him, he said, writing, but in high spirits and good humour. He had resisted, for a while, his invitation on ac­count of his dress, all his clothes but the very coat which he had on being packed up and at his mother's: but, when laughed at by Mr. Monckton for still retaining some foppery, [Page 32] he gayly protested what remained of it should be extinguished; and acknow­ledging that his shame was no part of his philosophy, declared he would throw it wholly aside, and, in spite of his degrada­tion, renew his visits at his house.

‘"I would not tell him,"’ Mr. Monckton continued, ‘"of the anxiety of his family; I thought it would come more powerfully from yourself, who, having seen, can bet­ter enforce it."’

Cecilia was very thankful for this com­pliance with her request, and anticipated the pleasure she hoped soon to give Hen­rietta, by the restoration of a brother so much loved and so regretted.

She sent, mean time, to Mr. Briggs the message she had received from Mr. Delvile, and had the satisfaction of an answer that he would observe the appointment.


THE next morning, while the family was at breakfast, Belfield, according to his promise, made his visit.

A high colour overspread his face as he entered the room, resulting from a sensa­tion of grief at his fallen fortune, and shame at his altered appearance, which though he endeavoured to cover under an air of gaiety and unconcern, gave an awkwardness to his manners, and a visible distress to his coun­tenance: Mr. Monckton received him with pleasure, and Cecilia, who saw the conflict of his philosophy with his pride, dressed her features once more in smiles, which however faint and heartless, shewed her desire to re-assure him. Miss Bennet, as usual when not called upon by the master or lady of the house, sat as a cypher; and Lady Margaret, always disagreeable and repulsive to the friends of her husband, though she was not now more than com­monly ungracious, struck the quick-feeling and irritable Belfield, to wear an air of rude [Page 34] superiority meant to reproach him with his disgrace.

This notion, which strongly affected him, made him, for one instant, hesitate whether he should remain another in the same room with her: but the friendliness of Mr. Monckton, and the gentleness and good breeding of Cecilia, seemed so studious to make amends for her moroseness, that he checked his too ready indignation, and took his seat at the table. Yet was it some time before he could recover even the assumed vivacity which this suspected insult had robbed him of, sufficiently to enter into conversation with any appearance of ease or pleasure. But, after a while, soothed by the attentions of Cecilia and Mr. Monck­ton, his uneasiness wore off, and the native spirit and liveliness of his character broke forth with their accustomed energy.

‘"This good company, I hope,"’ said he, addressing himself, however, only to Ceci­lia, ‘"will not so much mistake the thing as to criticise my dress of this morning; since it is perfectly according to rule, and to rule established from time immemo­rial: but lest any of you should so much err as to fancy shabby what is only charac­teristic, I must endeavour to be beforehand with the malice of conjecture, and have the honour to inform you, that I am enlisted in [Page 35] the Grub-Street regiment, of the third story, and under the tattered banner of scribbling volunteers! a race which, if it boasts not the courage of heroes, at least equals them in enmity. This coat, therefore, is merely the uniform of my corps, and you will all, I hope, respect it as emblematical of wit and erudition."’

‘"We must at least respect you,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"who thus gaily can sport with it."’

‘"Ah, madam!"’ said he, more seriously, ‘"it is not from you I ought to look for respect! I must appear to you the most unsteady and coward-hearted of beings. But lately I blushed to see you from pover­ty, though more worthily employed than when I had been seen by you in affluence; that shame vanquished, another equally nar­row took its place, and yesterday I blushed again that you detected me in a new pur­suit, though I had only quitted my former one from a conviction it was ill chosen. There seems in human nature a worthless­ness not to be conquered! yet I will strug­gle with it to the last, and either die in the attempt, or dare seem that which I am, without adding to the miseries of life, the sting, the envenomed sting of dastardly false shame!"’

‘"Your language is wonderfully altered [Page 36] within this twelvemonth,"’ said Mr. Monck­ton; ‘"the worthlessness of human nature! the miseries of life! this from you! so lately the champion of human nature, and the panegyrist of human life!"’

‘"Soured by personal disappointment,"’ answered he, ‘"I may perhaps speak with too much acrimony; yet, ultimately, my opinions have not much changed. Happi­ness is given to us with more liberality than we are willing to confess; it is judg­ment only that is dealt us sparingly, and of that we have so little, that when felicity is before us, we turn to the right or left, or when at the right or left, we proceed strait forward. It has been so with me; I have sought it at a distance, amidst difficulty and danger, when all that I could wish has been immediately within my grasp."’

‘"It must be owned,"’ said Mr. Monck­ton, ‘"after what you have suffered from this world you were wont to defend, there is little reason to wonder at some change in your opinion."’

‘"Yet whatever have been my sufferings,"’ he answered, ‘"I have generally been in­volved in them by my own rashness or ca­price. My last enterprise especially, from which my expectations were highest, was the most ill judged of any. I considered not how little my way of life had fitted me [Page 37] for the experiment I was making, how ir­reparably I was enervated by long sedentary habits, and how insufficient for bodily strength was mental resolution. We may fight against partial prejudices, and by spi­rit and fortitude we may over come them; but it will not do to war with the general tenor of education. We may blame, de­spise, regret as we please, but customs long established, and habits long indulged, as­sume an empire despotic, though their power is but prescriptive. Opposing them is vain; Nature herself, when forced aside, is not more elastic in her rebound."’

‘"Will you not then,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"since your experiment has failed, return again to your family, and to the plan of life you formerly settled?"’

‘"You speak of them together,"’ said he, with a smile, ‘"as if you thought them in­separable; and indeed my own apprehension they would be deemed so, has made me thus fear to see my friends, since I love not resistance, yet cannot again attempt the plan of life they would have me pursue. I have given up my cottage, but my inde­pendence is as dear to me as ever; and all that I have gathered from experience, is to maintain it by those employments for which my education has fitted me, instead of seeking [Page 38] it injudiciously by the very road for which it has unqualified me."’

‘"And what is this independence,"’ cried Mr. Monckton, ‘"which has thus bewitched your imagination? a mere idle dream of romance and enthusiasm; without existence in nature, without possibility in life. In uncivilised countries, or in lawless times, independence, for a while, may perhaps stalk abroad; but in a regular government, 'tis only the vision of a heated brain; one part of a community must inevitably hang upon another, and 'tis a farce to call either independent, when to break the chain by which they are linked would prove destruc­tion to both. The soldier wants not the officer more than the officer the soldier, nor the tenant the landlord, more than the land­lord the tenant. The rich owe their dis­tinction, their luxuries, to the poor, as much as the poor owe their rewards, their necessa­ries, to the rich."’

‘"Man treated as an Automaton,"’ an­swered Belfield, ‘"and considered merely with respect to his bodily operations, may indeed be called dependent, since the food by which he lives, or, rather, without which he dies, cannot wholly be cultivated and prepared by his own hands: but considered [...]n a nobler sense, he deserves not the de­grading epithet; speak of him, then, as a [Page 39] being of feeling and understanding, with pride to alarm, with nerves to tremble, with honour to satisfy, and with a soul to be im­mortal!—as such, may he not claim the freedom of his own thoughts? may not that claim be extended to the liberty of speak­ing, and the power of being governed by them? and when thoughts, words, and actions are exempt from controul, will you brand him with dependency merely because the Grazier feeds his meat, and the Baker kneeds his bread?"’

‘"But who is there in the whole world,"’ said Mr. Monckton, ‘"extensive as it is, and dissimilar as are it inhabitants, that can pretend to assert, his thoughts, words, and actions, are exempt from controul? even where interest, which you so much disdain, interferes not,—though where that is I con­fess I cannot tell!—are we not kept silent where we wish to reprove by the fear of offending? and made speak where we wish to be silent by the desire of obliging? do we not bow to the scoundrel as low as to the man of honour? are we not by mere forms kept standing when tired? made give place to those we despise? and smiles to those we hate? or if we refuse these atten­tions, are we not regarded as savages, and shut out of society?"’

‘"All these,"’ answered Belfield, ‘"are [Page 40] so merely matters of ceremony, that the concession can neither cost pain to the proud, nor give pleasure to the vain. The bow is to the coat, the attention is to the rank, and the fear of offending ought to extend to all mankind. Homage such as this infringes not our sincerity, since it is as much a mat­ter of course as the dress that we wear, and has as little reason to flatter a man as the shadow which follows him. I no more, therefore, hold him deceitful for not op­posing this pantomimical parade, than I hold him to be dependent for eating corn he has not sown."’

‘"Where, then, do you draw the line? and what is the boundary beyond which your independence must not step?"’

‘"I hold that man,"’ cried he, with energy, ‘"to be independent, who treats the Great as the Little, and the Little as the Great, who neither exults in riches nor blushes in po­verty, who owes no man a groat, and who spends not a shilling he has not earned."’

‘"You will not, indeed, then, have a very numerous acquaintance, if this is the description of those with whom you pur­pose to associate! but is it possible you imagine you can live by such notions? why the Carthusian in his monastery, who is at least removed from temptation, is not mor­tified so severely as a man of spirit living in [Page 41] the world, who would prescribe himself such rules."’

‘"Not merely have I prescribed,"’ re­turned Belfield, ‘"I have already put them in practice; and far from finding any pen­nance, I never before found happiness. I have now adopted, though poor, the very plan of life I should have elected if rich; my pleasure, therefore, is become my busi­ness, and my business my pleasure."’

‘"And is this plan,"’ cried Monckton, ‘"nothing more than turning Knight-errant to the Booksellers?"’

‘"'Tis a Knight-errantry,"’ answered Bel­field, laughing, ‘"which, however ludicrous it may seem to you, requires more soul and more brains than any other. Our giants may, indeed, be only windmills, but they must be attacked with as much spirit, and con­quered with as much bravery, as any fort or any town, in time of war should be demolished; and though the siege, I must confess, may be of less national utility, the assailants of the quill have their honour as much at heart as the assailants of the sword."’

‘"I suppose then,"’ said Monckton, archly, ‘"if a man wants a biting lampoon, or an handsome panegyric, some news-paper scan­dal, or a a sonnet for a lady—"’

‘"No, no,"’ interrupted Belfield eagerly, [Page 42] ‘"if you imagine me a hireling scribble [...] for the purposes of defamation or of flat­tery, you as little know my situation as my character. My subjects shall be my own, and my satire shall be general. I would as much disdain to be personal with an anony­mous pen, as to attack an unarmed man in the dark with a dagger I had kept con­cealed."’

A reply of rallying incredulity was rising to the lips of Mr. Monckton, when read­ing in the looks of Cecilia an entire appro­bation of this sentiment, he checked his desire of ridicule, and exclaimed, ‘"spoken like a man of honour, and one whose works may profit the world!"’

‘"From my earliest youth to the present hour,"’ continued Belfield, ‘"literature has been the favourite object of my pursuit, my recreation in leisure, and my hope in em­ployment. My propensity to it, indeed, has been so ungovernable, that I may pro­perly call it the source of my several mis­carriages throughout life. It was the bar to my preferment, for it gave me a distaste to other studies; it was the cause of my unsteadiness in all my undertakings, because to all I preferred it. It has sunk me to distress, it has involved me in difficulties; it has brought me to the brink of ruin by making me neglect the means of living, [Page 43] yet never, till now, did I discern it might itself be my support."’

‘"I am heartily glad, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"your various enterprizes and struggles have at length ended in a project which promises you so much satisfaction. But you will surely suffer your sister and your mother to partake of it? for who is there that your prosperity will make so happy?"’

‘"You do them infinite honour, madam, by taking any interest in their affairs; but to own to you the truth, what to me appears prosperity, will to them wear another as­pect. They have looked forward to my elevation with expectations the most impro­bable, and thought every thing within my grasp, with a simplicity incredible. But though their hopes were absurd, I am pained by their disappointment, and I have not courage to meet their tears, which I am sure will not be spared when they see me."’

‘"'Tis from tenderness, then,"’ said Ce­cilia, half smiling, ‘"that you are cruel, and from affection to your friends that you make them believe you have forgotten them?"’

There was a delicacy in this reproach exactly suited to work upon Belfield, who feeling it with quickness, started up, and cried, ‘"I believe I am wrong!—I will go to them this moment!"’

[Page 44] Cecilia felt eager to second the generous impulse; but Mr. Monckton, laughing at his impetuosity, insisted he should first finish his breakfast.

‘"Your friends,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"can have no mortification so hard to bear as your voluntary absence; and if they see but that you are happy, they will soon be reconciled to whatever situation you may chuse."’

‘"Happy!"’ repeated he, with animation, ‘"Oh I am in Paradise! I am come from a region in the first rude state of nature, to civilization and refinement! the life I led at the cottage was the life of a savage; no intercourse with society, no consolation from books; my mind locked up, every source dried of intellectual delight, and no enjoy­ment in my power but from sleep and from food. Weary of an existence which thus levelled me with a brute, I grew ashamed of the approximation, and listening to the remonstrance of my understanding, I gave up the precipitate plan, to pursue one more consonant to reason. I came to town, hired a room, and sent for pen, ink and paper: what I have written are trifles, but the Bookseller has not rejected them. I was settled, therefore, in a moment, and comparing my new occupation with that I had just quitted, I seemed exalted on the sudden from a mere creature of instinct, to [Page 45] a rational and intelligent being. But when first I opened a book, after so long an ab­stinence from all mental nourishment,—Oh it was rapture! no half-famished beggar regaled suddenly with food, ever seized on his repast with more hungry avidity."’

‘"Let fortune turn which way it will,"’ cried Monckton, ‘"you may defy all its malice, while possessed of a spirit of en­joyment which nothing can subdue!"’

‘"But were you not, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"as great an enthusiast the other day for your cottage, and for labour?"’

‘"I was, madam; but there my philoso­phy was erroneous: in my ardour to fly from meanness and from dependence, I I thought in labour and retirement I should find freedom and happiness; but I forgot that my body was not seasoned for such work, and considered not that a mind which had once been opened by knowledge, could ill endure the contraction of dark and per­petual ignorance. The approach, however, of winter, brought me acquainted with my mistake. It grew cold, it grew bleak; lit­tle guarded against the inclemency of the weather, I felt its severity in every limb, and missed a thousand indulgencies which in possession I had never valued. To rise at break of day, chill, freezing, and com­fortless! no sun abroad, no fire at home! [Page 46] to go out in all weather to work, that work rough, coarse and laborious!—unused to such hardships, I found I could not bear them, and, however unwillingly, was com­pelled to relinquish the attempt."’

Breakfast now being over, he again arose to take leave.

‘"You are going, then, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"immediately to your friends?"’

‘"No, madam,"’ answered he hesitating, ‘"not just this moment; to-morrow morn­ing perhaps,—but it is now late, and I have business for the rest of the day."’

‘"Ah, Mr. Monckton!"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"what mischief have you done by occa­sioning this delay!’

‘"This goodness, madam,"’ said Belfield, ‘"my sister can never sufficiently acknow­ledge. But I will own, that though, just now, in a warm moment, I felt eager to present myself to her and my mother, I rather wish, now I am cooler, to be saved the pain of telling them in person my situ­ation. I mean, therefore, first to write to them."’

‘"You will not fail, then, to see them to-morrow?"’

‘"Certainly—I think not."’

‘"Nay, but certainly you must not, for I shall call upon them to-day, and assure them they may expect you. Can I soften [Page 47] your task of writing by giving them any message from you?"’

‘"Ah, madam, have a care!"’ cried he; ‘"this condescension to a poor author may be more dangerous than you have any sus­picion! and before you have power to help yourself, you may see your name prefixed to the Dedication of some trumpery pam­phlet!"’

‘"I will run,"’ cried she, ‘"all risks; remember, therefore, you will be responsi­ble for the performance of my promise."’

‘"I will be sure,"’ answered he, ‘"not to forget what reflects so much honour upon myself."’

Cecilia was satisfied by this assent, and he then went away.

‘"A strange flighty character!"’ cried Mr. Monckton, ‘"yet of uncommon capacity, and full of genius. Were he less imagina­tive, wild and eccentric, he has abilities for any station, and might fix and distinguish himself almost where-ever he pleased."’

‘"I knew not,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"the full worth of steadiness and prudence till I knew this young man; for he has every thing else; talents the most striking, a love of virtue the most elevated, and manners the most pleasing; yet wanting steadiness and prudence, he can neither act with consist­ency nor prosper with continuance."’

[Page 48] ‘"He is well enough,"’ said Lady Mar­garet, who had heard the whole argument in sullen taciturnity, ‘"he is well enough, I say; and there comes no good from young women's being so difficult."’

Cecilia, offended by a speech which im­plied a rude desire to dispose of her, went up stairs to her own room; and Mr. Monck­ton, always enraged when young men and Cecilia were alluded to in the same sentence, retired to his library.

She then ordered a chair, and went to Portland-Street, to fulfil what she had offered to Belfield, and to revive his mother and sister by the pleasure of the promised interview.

She found them together: and her intel­ligence being of equal consequence to both, she did not now repine at the presence of Mrs. Belfield. She made her communica­tion with the most cautious attention to their characters, softening the ill she had to relate with respect to Belfield's present way of living, by endeavouring to awaken affection and joy from the prospect of the approach­ing meeting. She counselled them as much as possible to restrain their chagrin at his misfortunes, which he would but construe into reproach of his ill management; and she represented that when once he was re­stored to his family, he might almost imperceptibly [Page 49] be led into some less wild and more profitable scheme of business.

When she had told all she thought proper to relate, kindly interspersing her account with the best advice and best com­fort she could suggest, she made an end of her visit; for the affliction of Mrs. Bel­field upon hearing the actual situation of her son, was so clamorous and unappease­able, that, little wondering at Belfield's want of courage to encounter it, and having no opportunity in such a storm to console the soft Henrietta, whose tears flowed abund­antly that her brother should thus be fallen, she only promised before she left town to see her again, and beseeching Mrs. Belfield to moderate her concern, was glad to leave the house, where her presence had no power to quiet their distress.

She passed the rest of the day in sad re­flections upon the meeting she was herself to have the next morning with Mr. Delvile. She wished ardently to know whether his son was gone abroad, and whether Mrs. Delvile was recovered, whose health, in her own letter, was mentioned in terms the most melancholy: yet neither of these enquiries could she even think of making, since rea­sonably, without them, apprehensive of some reproach.


MR. Monckton, the next day, as soon breakfast was over, went out, to avoid showing, even to Cecilia, the anxiety he felt concerning the regulation of her for­tune, and arrangement of her affairs. He strongly, however, advised her not to men­tion her large debt, which, though con­tracted in the innocence of the purest be­nevolence, would incur nothing but reproof and disapprobation, from all who only heard of it, when they heard of its inutility.

At eleven o'clock, though an hour before the time appointed, while Cecilia was sitting in Lady Margaret's dressing-room, ‘"with sad civility and an aching head,"’ she was summoned to Mr. Briggs in the parlour.

He immediately began reproaching her with having eloped from him, in the sum­mer, and with the various expences she had caused him from useless purchases and spoilt provisions. He then complained of Mr. Delvile, whom he charged with defrauding him of his dues; but observing in the midst [Page 51] of his railing her dejection of countenance, he suddenly broke off, and looking at her with some concern, said, ‘"what's the mat­ter, Ducky? a'n't well? look as if you could not help it."’

‘"O yes,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"I thank you, Sir, I am very well."’

‘"What do look so blank for, then?"’ said he, ‘"hay? what are fretting for?—crossed in love?—lost your sweet-heart?"’

‘"No, no, no,"’ cried she, with quickness.

‘"Never mind, my chick, never mind,"’ said he, pinching her cheek, with resumed good humour, ‘"more to be had; if one won't snap, another will; put me in a passion by going off from me with that old grandee, or would have got one long ago. Hate that old Don; used me very ill; wish I could trounce him. Thinks more of a fusty old parchment than the price of stocks. Fit for nothing but to be stuck upon an old monument for a Death's head."’

He then told her that her accounts were all made out, and he was ready at any time to produce them; he approved much of her finishing wholly with the old Don, who had been a mere cypher in the executorship; but he advised her not to think of taking her money into her own hands, as he was wil­ling to keep the charge of it himself till she was married.

[Page 52] Cecilia, thanking him for the offer, said she meant now to make her acknowledg­ments for all the trouble he had already taken, but by no means purposed to give him any more.

He debated the matter with her warmly, told her she had no chance to save herself from knaves and cheats, but by trusting to nobody but himself, and informing her what interest he had already made of her money, enquired how she would set about getting more?

Cecilia, though prejudiced against him by Mr. Monckton, knew not how to com­bat his arguments; yet conscious that scarce any part of the money to which he alluded was in fact her own, she could not yield to them. He was, however, so stubborn and so difficult to deal with, that she at length let him talk without troubling herself to answer, and privately determined to beg Mr. Monckton would fight her battle.

She was not, therefore, displeased by his interruption, though very much surprised by the sight of his person, when, in the midst of Mr. Briggs's oratory, Mr. Hobson entered the parlour.

‘"I ask pardon, ma'am,"’ cried he, ‘"if I intrude; but I made free to call upon the account of two ladies that are acquaintances [Page 53] of yours, that are quite, as one may say, at their wit's ends."’

‘"What is the matter with them, Sir?"’

‘"Why, ma'am, no great matter, but mothers are soon frightened, and when once they are upon the fret, one may as well talk to the boards! they know no more of rea­soning and arguing, than they do of a shop ledger! however, my maxim is this; every body in their way; one has no more right to expect courageousness from a lady in them cases, than one has from a child in arms; for what I say is, they have not the proper use of their heads, which makes it very excusable."’

‘"But what has occasioned any alarm? nothing, I hope, is the matter with Miss Belfield?"’

‘"No, ma'am; thank God, the young lady enjoys her health very well: but she is taking on just in the same way as her mamma, as what can be more natural? Example, ma'am, is apt to be catching, and one lady's crying makes another think she must do the same, for a little thing serves for a lady's tears, being they can cry at any time: but a man is quite of another nature, let him but have a good conscience, and be clear of the world, and I'll engage he'll not wash his face without soap! that's what I say!"’

[Page 54] ‘"Will, will!"’ cried Mr. Briggs, ‘"do it myself! never use soap; nothing but waste; take a little sand; does as well."’

‘"Let every man have his own propo­sal;"’ answered Hobson; ‘"for my part, I take every morning a large bowl of water, and souse my whole head in it; and then when I've rubbed it dry, on goes my wig, and I am quite fresh and agreeable: and then I take a walk in Tottenham Court Road as far as the Tabernacle, or there­abouts, and snuff in a little fresh country air, and then I come back, with a good wholesome appetite, and in a fine breathing heat, asking the young lady's pardon; and I enjoy my pot of fresh tea, and my round of hot toast and butter, with as good a relish as if I was a Prince."’

‘"Pot of fresh tea,"’ cried Briggs, ‘"bring a man to ruin; toast and butter! never suf­fer it in my house. Breakfast on water­gruel, sooner done; fills one up in a second. Give it my servants; can't eat much of it. bob 'em there!"’ nodding significantly.

‘"Water-gruel!"’ exclaimed Mr. Hob­son, ‘"why I could not get it down if I might have the world for it! it would make me quite sick, asking the young lady's pardon, by reason I should always think I was preparing for the small-pox. My notion is quite of another nature; the first thing I [Page 55] do is to have a good fire; for what I say is this, if a man is cold in his fingers, it's odds if ever he gets warm in his purse! ha! ha! warm, you take me, Sir? I mean a pun. Though I ought to ask pardon, for I suppose the young lady don't know what I am a saying."’

‘"I should indeed be better pleased, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"to hear what you have to say about Miss Belfield."’

‘"Why, ma'am, the thing is this; we have been expecting the young 'Squire, as I call him, all the morning, and he has never come; so Mrs. Belfield, not knowing where to send after him, was of opinion he might be here, knowing your kindness to him, and that."’

‘"You make the enquiry at the wrong place, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, much provoked by the implication it conveyed; ‘"if Mr. Belfield is in this house, you must seek him with Mr. Monckton."’

‘"You take no offence, I hope, ma'am, at my just asking of the question? for Mrs. Belfield crying, and being in that dilemma, I thought I could do no less than oblige her by coming to see if the young gentle­man was here."’

‘"What's this? what's this?"’ cried Mr. Briggs eagerly; ‘"who are talking of? hay? [Page 56] —who do mean? is this the sweet-heart? eh, Duck?"’

‘"No, no, Sir,"’ cried Cecilia.

‘"No tricks! won't be bit! who is it? will know; tell me, I say!"’

‘"I'll tell you, Sir,"’ cried Mr. Hobson; ‘"it's a very handsome young gentleman, with as fine a person, and as genteel a way of behaviour, and withal, as pretty a man­ner of dressing himself, and that, as any lady need desire. He has no great head for business, as I am told, but the ladies don't stand much upon that topic, being they know nothing of it themselves."’

‘"Has got the ready?"’ cried Mr. Briggs, impatiently; ‘"can cast an account? that's the point; can come down handsomely? eh?"’

‘"Why as to that, Sir, I'm not bound to speak to a gentleman's private affairs. What's my own, is my own, and what is another person's, is another person's; that's my way of arguing, and that's what I call talking to the purpose."’

‘"Dare say he's a rogue! don't have him, chick. Bet a wager i'n't worth two shil­lings; and that will go for powder and po­matum; hate a plaistered pate; commonly a numscull: love a good bob jerom."’

‘"Why this is talking quite wide of the mark,"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"to suppose a [Page 57] young lady of fortunes would marry a man with a bob-jerom. What I say is, let every body follow their nature; that's the way to be comfortable; and then if they pay every one his own, who's a right to call 'em to account, whether they wear a bob-jerom, or a pig-tail down to the calves of their legs?"’

‘"Ay ay,"’ cried Briggs, sneeringly, ‘"or whether they stuff their gullets with hot rounds of toast and butter."’

‘"And what if they do, Sir?"’ returned Hobson, a little angrily; ‘"when a man's got above the world, where's the harm of living a little genteel? as to a round of toast and butter, and a few oysters, fresh opened, by way of a damper before dinner, no man need be ashamed of them, provided he pays as he goes: and as to living upon water­gruel, and scrubbing one's flesh with sand, one might as well be a galley-slave at once. You don't understand life, Sir, I see that."’

‘"Do! do!"’ cried Briggs, speaking through his shut teeth; ‘"you're out there! oysters!—come to ruin, tell you! bring you to jail!"’

‘"To jail, Sir?"’ exclaimed Hobson, ‘"this is talking quite ungenteel! let every man be civil; that's what I say, for that's the way to make every thing agreeable: but as to telling a man he'll go to jail, and that, it's tantamount to affronting him."’

[Page 58] A rap at the street-door gave now a new relief to Cecilia, who began to grow very apprehensive lest the delight of spending money, thus warmly contested with that of hoarding it, should give rise to a quarrel, which, between two such sturdy champions for their own opinions, might lead to a con­clusion rather more rough and violent than she desired to witness: but when the parlour­door opened, instead of Mr. Delvile, whom she now fully expected, Mr. Albany made his entrance.

This was rather distressing, as her real business with her guardians made it proper her conference with them should be undis­turbed: and Albany was not a man with whom a hint that she was engaged could be risked: but she had made no preparation to guard against interruption, as her little ac­quaintance in London had prevented her expecting any visitors.

He advanced with a solemn air to Cecilia, and, looking as if hardly determined whe­ther to speak with severity or gentleness, said, ‘"once more I come to prove thy sin­cerity; now wilt thou go with me where sorrow calls thee? sorrow thy charity can mitigate?"’

‘"I am very much concerned,"’ she an­swered, ‘"but indeed at present it is utterly impossible."’

[Page 59] ‘"Again,"’ cried he, with a look at once stern and disappointed, ‘"again thou failest me? what wanton trifling! why shouldst thou thus elate a worn-out mind, only to make it feel its lingering credulity? or why, teaching me to think I had found an angel, so unkindly undeceive me?"’

‘"Indeed,"’ said Cecilia, much affected by this reproof, ‘"if you knew how heavy a loss I had personally suffered—"’

‘"I do know it,"’ cried he, ‘"and I grieved for thee when I heard it. Thou hast lost a faithful old friend, a loss which with every setting sun thou may'st mourn, for the rising sun will never repair it! but was that a reason for shunning the duties of humanity? was the sight of death a motive for neglecting the claims of benevolence? ought it not rather to have hastened your fulfilling them? and should not your own suffering experience of the brevity of life, have taught you the vanity of all things but preparing for its end?’

‘"Perhaps so, but my grief at that time made me think only of myself.’

‘"And of what else dost thou think now?"’

‘"Most probably of the same person still!"’ said she, half smiling, ‘"but yet believe me, I have real business to transact."’

‘"Frivolous, unmeaning, ever-ready ex­cuses! what business is so important as the relief of a fellow-creature?"’

[Page 60] ‘"I shall not, I hope, there,"’ answered she, with alacrity, ‘"be backward; but at least for this morning I must beg to make you my Almoner."’

She then took out her purse.

Mr. Briggs and Mr. Hobson, whose quarrel had been suspended by the appear­ance of a third person, and who had stood during this short dialogue in silent amaze­ment, having first lost their anger in their mutual consternation, now lost their con­sternation in their mutual displeasure: Mr. Hobson felt offended to hear business spoken of slightly, and Mr. Briggs felt enraged at the sight of Cecilia's ready purse. Neither of them, however, knew which way to in­terfere, the stern gravity of Albany, joined to a language too lofty for their compre­hension, intimidating them both. They took, however, the relief of communing with one another, and Mr. Hobson said in a whisper ‘"This, you must know, is, I am told, a very particular old gentleman; quite what I call a genius. He comes often to my house, to see my lodger Miss Henny Belfield, though I never happened to light upon him myself, except once in the pas­sage: but what I hear of him is this; he makes a practice, as one may say, of going about into people's houses, to do nothing but find fault."’

[Page 61] ‘"Shan't get into mine!"’ returned Briggs; ‘"promise him that! don't half like him; be bound he's an old sharper."’

Cecilia, mean time, enquired what he desired to have.

Half a guinea, he answered.

‘"Will that do?"’

‘"For those who have nothing,"’ said he, ‘"it is much. Hereafter, you may assist them again. Go but and see their distresses, and you will wish to give them every thing."’

Mr. Briggs now, when actually between her fingers he saw the half guinea, could contain no longer; he twitched the sleeve of her gown, and pinching her arm, with a look of painful eagerness, said in a whisper ‘"Don't give it! don't let him have it! chouse him, chouse him! nothing but an old bite!"’

‘"Pardon me, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, in a low voice, ‘"his character is very well known to me."’ And then, disengaging her arm from him, she presented her little offering.

At this sight, Mr. Briggs was almost out­rageous, and losing in his wrath, all fear of the stranger, he burst forth with fury into the following outcries, ‘"Be ruined! see it plainly; be fleeced! be stript! be robbed! won't have a gown to your back! [Page 62] won't have a shoe to your foot! won't have a rag in the world! be a beggar in the street! come to the parish! rot in a jail?—half a guinea at a time!—enough to break the Great Mogul!’

‘"Inhuman spirit of selfish parsimony!"’ exclaimed Albany, ‘"repinest thou at this loan, given from thousands to those who have worse than nothing? who pay to day in hunger for bread they borrowed yester­day from pity? who to save themselves from the deadly pangs of famine, solicit but what the rich know not when they pos­sess, and miss not when they give?"’

‘"Anan!"’ cried Briggs; recovering his temper from the perplexity of his under­standing, at a discourse to which his ears were wholly unaccustomed, ‘"what d'ye say?"’

‘"If to thyself distress may cry in vain,"’ continued Albany, ‘"if thy own heart resists the suppliant's prayer, callous to entreaty, and hardened in the world, suffer, at least, a creature yet untainted, who melts at sor­row, and who glows with charity, to pay from her vast wealth a generous tax of thankfulness, that fate has not reversed her doom, and those whom she relieves, relieve not her!"’

‘"Anan!"’ was again all the wondering Mr. Briggs could say.

[Page 63] ‘"Pray, ma'am,"’ said Mr. Hobson to Cecilia, ‘"if its no offence, was the Gen­tleman ever a player?"’

‘"I fancy not, indeed!"’

‘"I ask pardon, then, ma'am; I mean no harm; but my notion was the gentleman might be speaking something by heart."’

‘"Is it but on the stage, humanity exists?"’ cried Albany, indignantly; ‘"Oh thither hasten, then, ye monopolizers of plenty! ye selfish, unfeeling engrossers of wealth, which ye dissipate without enjoying, and of abundance, which ye waste while ye refuse to distribute! thither, thither haste, if there humanity exists!"’

‘"As to engrossing,"’ said Mr. Hobson, happy to hear at last a word with which he was familiar, ‘"it's what I never approved myself. My maxim is this; if a man makes a fair penny, without any under­hand dealings, why he has as much a title to enjoy his pleasure as the Chief Justice, or the Lord Chancellor: and its odds but he's as happy as a greater man. Though what I hold to be best of all, is a clear con­science, with a neat income of 2 or 3000 a year. That's my notion; and I don't think it's a bad one."’

‘"Weak policy of short-sighted igno­rance!"’ cried Albany, ‘"to wish for what, if used, brings care, and if neglected, remorse! [Page 64] have you not now beyond what nature craves? why then still sigh for more?"’

‘"Why?"’ cried Mr Briggs, who by dint of deep attention began now better to com­prehend him, ‘"why to buy in, to be sure! ever hear of stocks, eh? know any thing of money"’

‘"Still to make more and more,"’ cried Albany, ‘"and wherefore? to spend in vice and idleness, or hoard in chearless misery! not to give succour to the wretched, not to sup­port the falling; all is for self, however little wanted, all goes to added stores, or added luxury; no fellow-creature served, nor even one beggar relieved!’

‘"Glad of it!"’ cried Briggs, ‘"glad of it; would not have 'em relieved; don't like 'em; hate a beggar; ought to be all whipt; live upon spunging."’

‘"Why as to a beggar, I must needs say,"’ cried Mr. Hobson, ‘"I am by no means an approver of that mode of pro­ceeding; being I take 'em all for cheats: for what I say is this, what a man earns, he earns, and it's no man's business to enquire what he spends, for a free-born Englishman is his own master by the nature of the law, and as to his being a subject, why a Duke is no more, nor a Judge, nor the Lord High Chancellor, and the like of those; [Page 65] which makes it tantamount to nothing, being he is answerable to nobody by the right of Magna Charta: except in cases of treason, felony, and that. But as to a beg­gar, it's quite another thing; he comes and asks me for money; but what has he to shew for it? what does he bring me in ex­change? why a long story that he i'n't worth a penny! what's that to me? nothing at all. Let every man have his own; that's my way of arguing."’

‘"Ungentle mortals!"’ cried Albany, ‘"in wealth exulting; even in inhumanity! think you these wretched outcasts have less sensibility than yourselves? think you, in cold and hunger, they lose those feelings which even in voluptuous prosperity from time to time disturb you? you say they are all cheats? 'tis but the niggard cant of avarice, to lure away remorse from obdu­racy. Think you the naked wanderer begs from choice? give him your wealth and try."’

‘"Give him a whip!"’ cried Briggs, sha'n't have a souse! send him to Bridewell! nothing but a pauper; hate 'em; hate 'em all! full of tricks; break their own legs, put out their arms, cut off their fingers, snap their own ancles,—all for what? to get at the chink! to chouse us of cash! [Page 66] ought to be well flogged; have 'em all sent to the Thames; worse than the Convicts.

‘"Poor subterfuge of callous cruelty! you cheat yourselves, to shun the fraud of others! and yet, how better do you use the wealth so guarded? what nobler purpose can it answer to you, than even a chance to snatch some wretch from sinking? think less how much ye save, and more for what; and then consider how thy full coffers may hereafter make reparation, for the empty catalogue of thy virtues."’

‘"Anan!"’ said Mr. Briggs, again lost in perplexity and wonder.

‘"Oh yet,"’ continued Albany, turning towards Cecilia, ‘"preach not here the hard­ness which ye practice; rather amend your­selves than corrupt her; and give with liberality what ye ought to receive with gratitude!"’

‘"This is not my doctrine,’ "cried Hob­son; ‘"I am not a near man, neither, but as to giving at that rate, it's quite out of character. I have as good a right to my own savings, as to my own gettings; and what I say is this, who'll give to me? let me see that, and it's quite another thing: and begin who will, I'll be bound to go on with him, pound for pound, or pence for pence. But as to giving to them beggars, it's what I don't approve; I pay the poor's [Page 67] rate, and that's what I call charity enough for any man. But for the matter of living well, and spending one's money hand­somely, and having one's comforts about one, why it's a thing of another nature, and I can say this for myself, and that is, I never grudged myself any thing in my life. I always made myself agreeable, and lived on the best. That's my way."’

‘"Bad way too,"’ cried Briggs, ‘"never get on with it, never see beyond your nose; won't be worth a plum while your head wags!"’ then, taking Cecilia apart, ‘"hark'ee, my duck,"’ he added, pointing to Albany, ‘"who is that Mr. Bounce, eh? what is he?"’

‘"I have known him but a short time, Sir; but I think of him very highly."’

‘"Is he a good man? that's the point, is he a good man?"’

‘"Indeed he appears to me uncom­monly benevolent and charitable."’

‘"But that i'n't the thing; is he warm? that's the point, is he warm?"’

‘"If you mean passionate,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"I believe the energy of his manner is merely to enforce what he says."’

‘"Don't take me, don'ttake me,"’ cried he, impatiently; ‘"can come down with the ready, that's the matter; can chink the little gold boys? eh?"’

[Page 68] ‘"Why I rather fear not by his appear­ance; but I know nothing of his affairs."’

‘"What does come for? eh? come a courting?"’

‘"Mercy on me, no!"’

‘"What for then? only a spunging?"’

‘"No, indeed. He seems to have no wish but to assist and plead for others."’

‘"All fudge! think he i'n't touched? ay, ay; nothing but a trick! only to get at the chink: see he's as poor as a rat, talks of nothing but giving money; a bad sign! if he'd got any, would not do it. Wanted to make us come down; warrant thought to bam us all! out there! a'n't so soon gulled."’

A knock at the street-door gave now a new interruption, and Mr. Delvile at length appeared.

Cecilia, whom his sight could not fail to disconcert, felt doubly distressed by the unnecessary presence of Albany and Hob­son; she regretted the absence of Mr. Monckton, who could easily have taken them away; for though without scruple she could herself have acquainted Mr. Hobson she had business, she dreaded offending Albany, whose esteem she was ambitious of obtaining.

Mr. Delvile entered the room with an air stately and erect; he took off his hat, but [Page 69] deigned not to make the smallest inclina­tion of his head, nor offered any excuse to Mr. Briggs for being past the hour of his appointment: but having advanced a few paces, without looking either to the right or left, said, ‘"as I have never acted, my coming may not, perhaps, be essential; but as my name is in the Dean's Will, and I have once or twice met the other executors mentioned in it, I think it a duty I owe to my own heirs to prevent any possible future enquiry or trouble to them."’

This speech was directly addressed to no one, though meant to be attended to by every one, and seemed proudly uttered as a mere apology to himself for not having declined the meeting.

Cecilia, though she recovered from her confusion by the help of her aversion to this self-sufficiency, made not any answer. Albany retired to a corner of the room; Mr. Hobson began to believe it was time for him to depart; and Mr. Briggs think­ing only of the quarrel in which he had separated with Mr. Delvile in the summer, stood swelling with venom, which he longed for an opportunity to spit out.

Mr. Delvile, who regarded this silence as the effect of his awe-inspiring presence, became rather more complacent; but cast­ing his eyes round the room, and perceiving [Page 70] the two strangers, he was visibly surprised, and looking at Cecilia for some explanation, seemed to stand suspended from the purpose of his visit till he heard one [...]

Cecilia, earnet to have the business con­cluded, turned to Mr. Briggs, and said, ‘"Sir, here is pen and ink [...] to write, or am I? or what is to be done?"’

‘"No, no,"’ said he, with a sneer, ‘"give it t'other; all in our turn; don't come before his Grace the Right Honourable Mr. Vampus."’

‘"Before whom, Sir?"’ said Mr. Delvile, reddening.

‘"Before my Lord Don Pedigree,"’ an­swered Briggs, with a spiteful grin, ‘"know him? eh? ever hear of such a person?"’

Mr. Delvile coloured still deeper, but turning contemptuously from him, disdained making any reply.

Mr. Briggs, who now regarded him as a defeated man, said exultingly to Mr. Hob­son, ‘"what do stand here for?—hay?—fall o' your marrowbones; don't see 'Squire High and Mighty?"’

‘"As to falling on my marrowbones,"’ answered Mr. Hobson, ‘"it's what I shall do to no man, except he was the King himself, or the like of that, and going to make me Chancellor of the Exchequer, or Commissioner of Excise. Not that I mean [Page 71] the gentleman any offence; but a man's a man, and for one man to worship another is quite out of law."’

‘"Must, must!"’ cried Briggs, ‘"tell all his old grand-dads else: keeps 'em in a roll; locks 'em in a closet; says his prayers to 'em; can't live without 'em: likes 'em better than cash!—wish had 'em here! pop 'em all in the sink!"’

‘"If your intention, Sir,"’ cried Mr Delvile, fiercely, ‘"is only to insult me, I am prepared for what measures I shall take. I declined seeing you in my own house, that I might not be under the same restraint as when it was my unfortunate lot to meet you last."’

‘"Who cares?"’ cried Briggs, with an air of defiance, ‘"what can do, eh? poke me into a family vault? bind me o' top of an old monument? tie me to a stinking car­case? make a corpse of me, and call it one of your famous cousins?—"’

‘"For heaven's sake, Mr. Briggs,"’ in­terrupted Cecilia, who saw that Mr. Delvile, trembling with passion, scarce refrained lift­ing up his stick, ‘"be appeased, and let us finish our business!"’

"Albany now, hearing in Cecilia's voice the alarm with which she was seized, came forward and exclaimed, ‘"whence this un­meaning dissention? to what purpose this [Page 72] irritating abuse? Oh vain and foolish! live ye so happily, last ye so long, that time and peace may thus be trifled with?"’

‘"There, there!"’ cried Briggs, holding up his finger at Mr. Delvile, ‘"have it now! got old Mr. Bounce upon you! give you enough of it; promise you that!"’

‘"Restrain,"’ continued Albany, ‘"this idle wrath; and if ye have ardent passions, employ them to nobler uses; let them stimulate acts of virtue, let them animate deeds of beneficence! Oh waste not spirits that may urge you to good, lead you to honour, warm you to charity, in poor and angry words, in unfriendly, unmanly de­bate!"’

Mr. Delvile, who from the approach of Albany, had given him his whole attention, was struck with astonishment at this ad­dress, and almost petrified with wonder at his language and exhortations.

‘"Why I must own,"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"as to this matter I am much of the same mind myself; for quarreling's a thing I don't uphold; being it advances one no way; for what I say is this, if a man gets the better, he's only where he was before, and if he gets worsted, why it's odds but the laugh's against him: so, if I may make bold to give my verdict, I would have one of these gentlemen take the other by the [Page 73] hand, and so put an end to bad words. That's my maxim, and that's what I call being agreeable."’

"Mr. Delvile, at the words one of these gentlemen take the other by the hand, looked scornfully upon Mr. Hobson, with a frown that expressed his highest indignation, at being thus familiarly coupled with Mr. Briggs. And then, turning from him to Cecilia, haughtily said, ‘"Are these two persons,"’ pointing towards Albany and Hobson, ‘"waiting here to be witnesses to any transaction?"’

‘"No, Sir, no,"’ cried Hobson, ‘"I don't mean to intrude, I am going directly. So you can give me no insight, ma'am,"’ ad­dressing Cecilia, ‘"as to where I might light upon Mr. Belfield?"’

‘"Me? no!"’ cried she, much provoked by observing that Mr. Delvile suddenly looked at her.

‘"Well, ma'am, well, I mean no harm: only I hold it that the right way to hear of a young gentleman, is to ask for him of a young lady: that's my maxim. Come, Sir,"’ to Mr. Briggs, ‘"you and I had like to have fallen out, but what I say is this; let no man bear malice; that's my way: so I hope we part without ill blood?"’

‘"Ay, ay;"’ said Mr. Briggs, giving him a nod.

[Page 74] ‘"Well, then,"’ added Hobson, ‘"I hope the good-will may go round, and that not only you and I, but these two good old gentlemen will also lend a hand."’

Mr. Delvile now was at a loss which way to turn for very rage; but after looking at every one with a face flaming with ire, he said to Cecilia, ‘"If you have collected to­gether these persons for the purpose of af­fronting me, I must beg you to remember I am not one to be affronted with impu­nity!"’

Cecilia, half frightened, was beginning an answer that disclaimed any such inten­tion, when Albany, with the most indig­nant energy, called out, ‘"Oh pride of heart, with littleness of soul! check this vile arrogance, too vain for man, and spare to others some part of that lenity thou nou­rishest for thyself, or justly bestow on thy­self that contempt thou nourishest for others!"’

And with these words he sternly left the house.

The thunderstruck Mr. Delvile began now to fancy that all the demons of tor­ment were designedly let loose upon him, and his surprise and resentment operated so powerfully that it was only in broken sentences he could express either. ‘"Very extraordinary!—a new method of conduct! [Page 75] —liberties to which I am not much used!—impertinences I shall not hastily forget,—treatment that would scarce be pardon­able to a person wholly unknown!—"’

‘"Why indeed, Sir,"’ said Hobson, ‘"I can't but say it was rather a cut up; but the old gentleman is what one may call a genius, which makes it a little excusable; for he does things all his own way, and I am told it's the same thing who he speaks to, so he can but find fault, and that."’

‘"Sir,"’ interrupted the still more highly offended Mr. Delvile, ‘"what you may be told is extremely immaterial to me; and I must take the liberty to hint to you, a con­versation of this easy kind is not what I am much in practice in hearing."’

‘"Sir, I ask pardon,"’ said Hobson, ‘"I meant nothing but what was agreeable, however, I have done, and I wish you good day. Your humble servant, ma'am, and I hope, Sir,"’ to Mr. Briggs, ‘"you won't begin bad words again?"’

‘"No, no,"’ said Briggs, ‘"ready to make up; all at end; only don't much like Spa [...], that's all!"’ winking significantly, ‘"not [...] over fond of a skeleton!"’

Mr. Hobson now retired; and Mr. Del­ville and Mr. Briggs, being both [...] and [...], in haste to have done, settled [...] five minutes all for which they [...], [Page 76] after passing more than an hour in agreeing what that was.

Mr. Briggs then, saying he had an en­gagement upon business, declined settling his own accounts till another time, but promised to see Cecilia again soon, and added, ‘"be sure take care of that old Mr. Bounce! cracked in the noddle; see that with half an eye! better not trust him! break out some day: do you a mischief!"’

He then went away: but while the par­lour-door was still open, to the no little surprise of Cecilia, the servant announced Mr. Belfield. He hardly entered the room, and his countenance spoke haste and eager­ness. ‘"I have this moment, madam,"’ he said, ‘"been informed a complaint has been lodged against me here, and I could not rest till I had the honour of assuring you, that though I have been rather dilatory, I have not neglected my appointment, nor has the condescension of your interference been thrown away."’

He then bowed, shut the door, and ran off. Cecilia, though happy to understand by this speech that he was actually restored to his family, was sorry at these repeated intrusions in the presence of Mr. Delvile, who was now the only one that remained.

She expected every instant that he would ring for his chair, which he kept in waiting; [Page 77] but, after a pause of some continaunce, to her equal surprise and disturbance, he made the following speech. ‘"As it is probable I am now for the last time alone with you, ma'am, and as it is certain we shall meet no more upon business, I cannot, in justice to my own character, and to the respect I retain for the memory of the Dean, your uncle, take a final leave of the office with which he was pleased to invest me, without first fulfilling my own ideas of the duty it requires from me, by giving you some counsel relating to your future esta­blishment."’

This was not a preface much to enliven Cecilia; it prepared her for such speeches as she was least willing to hear, and gave to her the mixt and painful sensation of spirits depressed, with pride alarmed.

‘"My numerous engagements,"’ he con­tinued, ‘"and the appropriation of my time, already settled, to their various claims, must make me brief in what I have to re­present, and somewhat, perhaps, abrupt in coming to the purpose. But that you will excuse."’

Cecilia disdained to humour this arro­gance by any compliments or concessions: she was silent, therefore; and when they were both seated, he went on.

‘"You are now at a time of life when it [Page 78] is natural for young women to wisn for some connection: and the largeness of your for­tune will remove from you such difficulties as prove bars to the pretensions, in this ex­pensive age, of those who possess not such advantages. It would have been some plea­sure to me, while I yet considered you as my Ward, to have seen you properly dis­posed of: but as that time is past, I can only give you some general advice, which you may follow or neglect as you think fit. By giving it, I shall satisfy myself; for the rest, I am not responsible."’

He paused; but Cecilia felt less and less inclination to make use of the opportunity by speaking in her turn.

‘"Yet though, as I just now hinted, young women of large fortunes may have little trouble in finding themselves establish­ments, they ought not, therefore, to trifle when proper ones are in their power, nor to suppose themselves equal to any they may chance to desire,"’

Cecilia coloured high at this pointed re­prehension; but feeling her disgust every moment encrease, determined to sustain her­self with dignity, and at least not suffer him to perceive the triumph of his ostentation and rudeness.

‘"The proposals,"’ he continued ‘"of the Earl of Ernolf had always my approbation; [Page 79] it was certainly an ill-judged thing to neglect such an opportunity of being honourably settled. The clause of the name was, to him, immaterial; since his own name half a century ago was unheard of, and since he is himself only known by his title. He is still, however, I have au­thority to acquaint you, perfectly well dis­posed to renew his application to you."’

‘"I am sorry, Sir,"’ said Cecilia coldly, ‘"to hear it."’

‘"You have, perhaps, some other better offer in view?"’

‘"No, Sir,"’ cried she, with spirit, ‘"nor even in desire."’

‘"Am I, then, to infer that some infe­rior offer has more chance of your appro­bation?"’

‘"There is no reason, Sir, to infer any thing; I am content with my actual situa­tion, and have, at present, neither prospect nor intention of changing it."’

‘"I perceive, but without surprise, your unwillingness to discuss the subject; nor do I mean to press it: I shall merely offer to your consideration one caution, and then relieve you from my presence. Young women of ample fortunes, who are early independent, are sometimes apt to presume they may do every thing with impunity; but they are mistaken; they are as liable to [Page 80] censure as those who are wholly unprovided for."’

‘"I hope, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, staring, ‘"this at least is a caution rather drawn from my situation than my behaviour?"’

‘"I mean not, ma'am, narrowly to go into, or investigate the subject; what I have said you may make your own use of; I have only to observe further, that when young women, at your time of life, are at all negligent of so nice a thing as reputa­tion, they commonly live to repent it."’

He then arose to go, but Cecilia, not more offended than amazed, said, ‘"I must beg, Sir, you will explain yourself!"’

‘"Certainly this matter,"’ he answered, ‘"must be immaterial to me: yet, as I have once been your guardian by the nomination of the Dean your uncle, I cannot forbear making an effort towards preventing any indiscretion: and frequent visits to a young man—"’

‘"Good God! Sir,"’ interrupted Cecilia, ‘"what is it you mean?"’

‘"It can certainly, as I said before, be nothing to me, though I should be glad to see you in better hands: but I cannot sup­pose you have been led to take such steps without some serious plan; and I would advise you, without loss of time, to think better of what you are about."’

[Page 81] ‘"Should I think, Sir, to eternity,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"I could never conjecture what you mean!"’

‘"You may not chuse,"’ said he, proudly, ‘"to understand me; but I have done. If it had been in my power to have interfered in your service with my Lord Derford, not­withstanding my reluctance to being in­volved in any fresh employment, I should have made a point of not refusing it: but this young man is nobody,—a very impru­dent connection—"’

‘"What young man, Sir?"’

‘"Nay, I know nothing of him! it is by no means likely I should: but as I had already been informed of your attention to him, the corroborating incidents of my servant's following you to his house, his friend's seeking him at yours, and his own waiting upon you this morning; were not well calculated to make me withdraw my credence to it."’

‘"Is it, then, Mr. Belfield, Sir, con­cerning whom you draw these inferences, from circumstances the most accidental and unmeaning?"’

‘"It is by no means my practice,"’ cried he, haughtily, and with evident marks of high displeasure at this speech, ‘"to believe any thing lightly, or without even unques­tionable authority; what once, therefore, I [Page 82] have credited, I do not often find erroneous. Mistake not, however, what I have said into supposing I have any objection to your marrying; on the contrary, it had been for the honour of my family had you been married a year ago: I should not then have suffered the degradation of seeing a son of the first expectations in the kingdom upon the point of renouncing his birth, nor a woman of the first distinction ruined in her health, and broken for ever in her constitution."’

The emotions of Cecilia at this speech were too powerful for concealment; her colour varied, now reddening with indigna­tion, now turning pale with apprehension; she arose, she trembled and sat down, she arose again, but not knowing what to say or what to do, again sat down.

Mr. Delvile then, making a stiff bow, wished her good morning.

‘"Go not so, Sir!"’ cried she, in falter­ing accents; ‘"let me at least convince you of the mistake with regard to Mr. Belfield—"’

‘"My mistakes, ma'am,"’ said he, with a contemptuous smile, ‘"are perhaps not easily convicted: and I may possibly labour under others that would give you no less trouble: it may therefore be better to avoid any further disquisition."’

‘"No, not better,"’ answered she, again [Page 83] recovering her courage from this fresh pro­vocation; ‘"I fear no disquisition; on the contrary, it is my interest to solicit one."’

‘"This intrepidity in a young woman,"’ said he, ironically, ‘"is certainly very com­mendable; and doubtless, as you are your own mistress, your having run out great part of your fortune, is nothing beyond what you have a right to do."’

‘"Me!"’ cried Cecilia, astonished, ‘"run out great part of my fortune!"’

‘"Perhaps that is another mistake! I have not often been so unfortunate; and you are not, then, in debt?"’

‘"In debt, Sir?"’

‘"Nay, I have no intention to enquire into your affairs. Good morning to you, ma'am."’

‘"I beg, I entreat, Sir, that you will stop!—make me, at least, understand what you mean, whether you deign to hear my justification or not."’

‘"O, I am mistaken, it seems! misin­formed, deceived; and you have neither spent more than you have received, nor taken up money of Jews? your minority has been clear of debts? and your fortune, now you are of age, will be free from in­combrances?"’

Cecilia, who now began to understand [Page 84] him, eagerly answered, ‘"do you mean, Sir, the money which I took up last spring?"’

‘"O no; by no means, I conceive the whole to be a mistake!"’

And he went to the door.

‘"Hear me but a moment, Sir!"’ cried she hastily, following him; ‘"since you know of that transaction, do not refuse to listen to its occasion; I took up the money for Mr. Harrel; it was all, and solely for him."’

‘"For Mr. Harrel, was it?"’ said he, with an air of supercilious incredulity; ‘"that was rather an unlucky step. Your servant, ma'am."’

And he opened the door.

‘"You will not hear me, then? you will not credit me?"’ cried she in the cruellest agitation.

‘"Some other time, ma'am; at present my avocations are too numerous to permit me."’

And again, stiffly bowing, he called to his servants, who were waiting in the hall, and put himself into his chair.


CECILIA was now left in a state of perturbation that was hardly to be in­dured. The contempt with which she had been treated during the whole visit was nothing short of insult, but the accusations with which it was concluded did not more irritate than astonish her.

That some strange prejudice had been taken against her, even more than belonged to her connection with young Delvile, the message brought her by Dr. Lyster had given her reason to suppose: what that pre­judice was she now knew, though how ex­cited she was still ignorant; but she found Mr. Delvile had been informed she had taken up money of a Jew, without having heard it was for Mr. Harrel, and that he had been acquainted with her visits in Portland­Street, without seeming to know Mr. Bel­field had a sister. Two charges such as these, so serious in their nature, and so dis­tructive of her character, filled her with horror and consternation, and even somewhat [Page 86] served to palliate his illiberal and in­jurious behaviour.

But how reports thus false and thus dis­graceful should be raised, and by what dark work of slander and malignity they had been spread, remained a doubt inexplica­ble. They could not, she was certain, be the mere rumour of chance, since in both the assertions there was some foundation of truth, however cruelly perverted, or basely over-charged.

This led her to consider how few people there were not only who had interest, but who had power to propagate such calum­nies; even her acquaintance with the Bel­field's she remembered not ever mention­ing, for she knew none of their friends, and none of her own knew them. How, then, should it be circulated, that she ‘"visited often at the house?"’ how ever be invented that it was from her ‘"attention to the young man?"’ Henrietta, she was sure, was too good and too innocent to be guilty of such perfidy; and the young man him­self had always shewn a modesty and pro­priety that manifested his total freedom from the vanity of such a suspicion, and an ele­vation of sentiment that would have taught him to scorn the boast, even if he believed the partiality.

The mother, however, had neither been [Page 87] so modest nor so rational; she had openly avowed her opinion that Cecilia was in love with her son; and as that son, by never offering himself, had never been refused, her opinion had received no check of suf­ficient force, for a mind so gross and literal, to change it.

This part, therefore, of the charge she gave to Mrs. Belfield, whose officious and loquacious forwardness she concluded had induced her to narrate her suspicions, till, step by step, they had reached Mr. Delvile.

But though able, by the probability of this conjecture, to account for the report concerning Belfield, the whole affair of the debt remained a difficulty not to be solved. Mr. Harrel, his wife, Mr. Arnott, the Jew and Mr. Monckton, were the only persons to whom the transaction was known; and though from five, a secret, in the course of so many months, might easily be supposed likely to transpire, those five were so parti­cularly bound to silence, not only for her interest but their own, that it was not un­reasonable to believe it as safe among them all, as if solely consigned to one. For her­self, she had revealed it to no creature but Mr. Monckton; not even to Delvile; though, upon her consenting to marry him, he had an undoubted right to be acquainted with the true state of her affairs; but such [Page 88] had been the hurry, distress, confusion and irresolution of her mind at that period, that this whole circumstance had been driven from it entirely, and she had, since, frequently blamed herself for such want of recollection. Mr. Harrel, for a thousand reasons, she was certain had never named it; and had the communication come from his widow or from Mr. Arnott, the motives would have been related as well as the debt, and she had been spared the reproach of contracting it for purposes of her own extravagance. The Jew, indeed, was, to her, under no obligation of secrecy, but he had an obligation far more binding,—he was tied to himself.

A suspicion now arose in her mind which made it thrill with horror; ‘good God!’ she exclaimed, ‘can Mr. Monckton—"’

She stopt, even to herself;—she checked the idea;—she drove it hastily from her;—she was certain it was false and cruel;—she hated herself for having started it.

‘"No, cried she, he is my friend, the confirmed friend of many years, my well­wisher from childhood, my zealous coun­sellor and assistant almost from my birth to this hour:—such perfidy from him would not even be human!"’

Yet still her perplexity was undiminished; the affair was undoubtedly known, and it [Page 89] only could be known by the treachery of some one entrusted with it: and however ear­nestly her generosity combated her rising suspicions, she could not wholly quell them; and Mr. Monckton's strange aversion to the Delviles, his earnestness to break off her connexion with them, occurred to her remembrance, and haunted her perforce with surmises to his disadvantage.

That gentleman, when he came home, found her in this comfortless and fluctuating state, endeavouring to form conjectures upon what had happened, yet unable to succeed, but by suggestions which one moment ex­cited her abhorrence of him, and the next of herself.

He enquired, with his usual appearance of easy friendliness, into what had passed with her two guardians, and how she had settled her affairs. She answered without hesitation all his questions, but her manner was cold and reserved, though her com­munication was frank.

This was not unheeded by Mr. Monck­ton, who, after a short time, begged to know if any thing had disturbed her.

Cecilia ashamed of her doubts, though unable to get rid of them, then endeavoured to brighten up, and changed the subject to the difficulties she had had to encounter from the obstinacy of Mr. Briggs.

[Page 90] Mr. Monckton for a while humoured this evasion; but when, by her own exer­tion, her solemnity began to wear off, he repeated his interrogatory, and would not be satisfied without an answer.

Cecilia, earnest that surmises so inju­rious should be removed, then honestly, but without comments, related the scene which had just past between Mr. Delvile and herself.

No comments were, however, wanting to explain to Mr. Monckton the change of her behaviour: ‘"I see,"’ he cried hastily, ‘"what you cannot but suspect; and I will go myself to Mr. Delvile, and insist upon his clearing me."’

Cecilia, shocked to have thus betrayed what was passing within her, assured him his vindication required not such a step, and begged he would counsel her how to discover this treachery, without drawing from her concern at it a conclusion so of­fensive to himself.

He was evidently, however, and greatly disturbed; he declared his own wonder equal to her's how the affair had been be­trayed, expressed the warmest indignation at the malevolent insinuations against her conduct, and lamented with mingled acri­mony and grief, that there should exist even [Page 91] the possibility of casting the odium of such villainy upon himself.

Cecilia, distressed, perplexed, and ashamed at once, again endeavoured to appease him, and though a lurking doubt obstinately clung to her understanding, the purity of her own principles, and the softness of her heart, pleaded strongly for his innocence, and urged her to detest her suspicion, though to conquer it they were unequal.

‘"It is true,"’ said he, with an air inge­nuous though mortified, ‘"I dislike the Delvile's, and have always disliked them; they appear to me a jealous, vindictive, and insolent race, and I should have thought I betrayed the faithful regard I professed for you, had I concealed my opinion when I saw you in danger of forming an alliance with them; I spoke to you, therefore, with honest zeal, thoughtless of any enmity I might draw upon myself; but though it was an interference from which I hoped, by preventing the connection, to contribute to your happiness, it was not with a design to stop it at the expence of your character,—a design black, horrible and diabolical! a design which must be formed by a Daemon, but which even a Daemon could never, I think, execute!"’

The candour of this speech, in which his aversion to the Delvile's was openly acknowledged, [Page 92] and rationally justified, somewhat quieted the suspicions of Cecilia, which far more anxiously sought to be confuted than confirmed: she began, therefore, to con­clude that some accident, inexplicable as unfortunate, had occasioned the partial dis­covery to Mr. Delvile, by which her own goodness proved the source of her defama­tion: and though something still hung upon her mind that destroyed that firm con­fidence she had hitherto felt in the friend­ship of Mr. Monckton, she held it utterly unjust to condemn him without proof, which she was not more unable to procure, than to satisfy herself with any reason why so perfidiously he should calumniate her.

Comfortless, however, and tormented with conjectures equally vague and afflicting, she could only clear him to be lost in perplexity, she could only accuse him to be penetrated with horror. She endeavoured to sus­pend her judgment till time should deve­lop the mystery, and only for the present sought to finish her business and leave London.

She renewed, therefore, again, the sub­ject of Mr. Briggs, and told him how vain had been her effort to settle with him. Mr. Monckton instantly offered his services in assisting her, and the next morning they went together to his house, where, after an [Page 93] obstinate battle, they gained a complete vic­tory: Mr. Briggs gave up all his accounts, and, in a few days, by the active interfe­rence of Mr. Monckton, her affairs were wholly taken out of his hands. He stormed, and prophesied all ill to Cecilia, but it was not to any purpose; he was so disagreeable to her, by his manners, and so unintelligi­ble to her in matters of business, that she was happy to have done with him; even though, upon inspecting his accounts, they were all found clear and exact, and his desire to retain his power over her fortune, proved to have no other motive than a love of money so potent, that to manage it, even for another, gave him a satisfaction he knew not how to relinquish.

Mr. Monckton, who, though a man of pleasure, understood business perfectly well, now instructed and directed her in making a general arrangement of her affairs. The estate which devolved to her from her uncle, and which was all in landed property, she con­tinued to commit to the management of the steward who was employed in his life-time; and her own fortune from her father, which was all in the stocks, she now diminished to nothing by selling out to pay Mr. Monck­ton the principal and interest which she owed him, and by settling with her Book­seller.

[Page 94] While these matters were transacting, which, notwithstanding her eagerness to leave town, could not be brought into such a train as to permit her absence in less than a week, she passed her time chiefly alone. Her wishes all inclined her to bestow it upon Henrietta, but the late attack of Mr. Delvile had frightened her from keeping up that connection, since however carefully she might confine it to the daughter, Mrs. Belfield, she was certain, would impute it all to the son,

That attack rested upon her mind, in de­fiance of all her endeavours to banish it; the contempt with which it was made seemed intentionally offensive, as if he had been happy to derive from her supposed ill con­duct, a right to triumph over as well as reject her. She concluded, also, that Del­vile would be informed of these calumnies, yet she judged his generosity by her own, and was therefore convinced he would not credit them: but what chiefly at this time encreased her sadness and uneasiness, was the mention of Mrs. Delvile's broken con­stitution and ruined health. She had always preserved for that lady the most affectionate respect, and could not consider herself as the cause of her sufferings, without feeling the utmost concern, however conscious she had not wilfully occasioned them.

[Page 95] Nor was this scene the only one by which her efforts to forget this family were de­feated; her watchful monitor, Albany, failed not again to claim her promise; and though Mr. Monckton earnestly exhorted her not to trust herself out with him, she preferred a little risk to the keenness of his reproaches, and the weather being good on the morning that he called, she consented to accompany him in his rambles: only charging her footman to follow where-ever they went, and not to fail enquiring for her if she stayed long out of his sight. These precautions were rather taken to satisfy Mr. Monckton than herself, who, having now procured intelligence of the former disorder of his intellects, was fearful of some ex­travagance, and apprehensive for her safety.

He took her to a miserable house in a court leading into Piccadilly, where, up three pair of stairs, was a wretched woman ill in bed, while a large family of children were playing in the room.

‘"See here,"’ cried he, ‘"what human nature can endure! look at that poor wretch, distracted with torture, yet lying in all this noise! unable to stir in her bed, yet with­out any assistant! suffering the pangs of acute disease, yet wanting the necessaries of life!"’

Cecilia went up to the bed-side, and enquired [Page 96] more particularly into the situation of the invalid; but finding she could hardly speak from pain, she sent for the woman of the house, who kept a Green Grocer's shop on the ground floor, and desired her to hire a nurse for her sick lodger, to call all the children down stairs, and to send for an apothecary, whose bill she promised to pay. She then gave her some money to get what necessaries might be wanted, and said she would come again in two days to see how they went on.

Albany, who listened to these directions with silent, yet eager attention, now clasped both his hands with a look of rapture, and exclaimed ‘"Virtue yet lives,—and I have found her?"’

Cecilia, proud of such praise, and ambi­tious to deserve it, chearfully said, ‘"where, Sir, shall we go now?"’

‘"Home;"’ answered he with an aspect the most benign; ‘"I will not wear out thy pity by rendering woe familiar to it."’

Cecilia, though at this moment more dis­posed for acts of charity than for business or for pleasure, remembered that her for­tune however large was not unlimited, and would not press any further bounty for ob­jects she knew not, certain that occasions and claimants, far beyond her ability of an­swering, would but too frequently arise [Page 97] among those with whom she was more con­nected, she therefore yielded herself to his direction, and returned to Soho-Square.

Again, however, he failed not to call at the time she had appointed for re-visiting the invalid, to whom, with much glad­ness, he conducted her.

The poor woman, whose disease was a rheumatic fever, was already much better; she had been attended by an apothecary who had given her some alleviating medi­cine; she had a nurse at her bed-side, and the room being cleared of the children, she had had the refreshment of some sleep.

She was now able to raise her head, and make her acknowledgments to her bene­factress; but not a little was the surprise of Cecilia, when, upon looking in her face, she said, ‘"Ah, madam, I have seen you before!"’

‘"Cecilia, who had not the smallest re­collection of her, in return desired to know when, or where?"’

‘"When you were going to be married, madam, I was the Pew-Opener at — Church."’

Cecilia started with secret horror, and in­voluntarily retreated from the bed; while Albany with a look of astonishment ex­claimed, ‘"Married!—why, then, is it un­known?"’

[Page 98] ‘Ask me not!"’ cried she, hastily; ‘"it is all a mistake."’

‘"Poor thing!"’ cried he, ‘"this, then, is the string thy nerves endure not to have touched! sooner will I expire than a breath of mine shall make it vibrate! Oh sacred be thy sorrow, for thou canst melt at that of the indigent!"’

Cecilia then made a few general enqui­ries, and heard that the poor woman, who was a widow, had been obliged to give up her office, from the frequent attacks which she suffered of the rheumatism; that she had received much assistance both from the Rector and the Curate of — Church, but her continual illness, with the largeness of her family, kept her distressed in spite of all help.

Cecilia promised to consider what she could do for her, and then giving her more money, returned to Lady Margaret's.

Albany, who found that the unfortunate recollection of the Pew-Opener had awak­ened in his young pupil a melancholy train of reflections, seemed now to compassionate the sadness which hitherto he had reproved, and walking silently by her side till she came to Soho-Square, said in accents of kindness, ‘"Peace light upon thy head, and dissipate thy woes!"’ and left her.

[Page 99] ‘"Ah when!"’ cried she to herself, ‘"if thus they are to be revived for-ever!"’

Mr. Monckton, who observed that some­thing had greatly affected her, now expostu­lated warmly against Albany and his wild schemes; ‘"You trifle with your own hap­piness,"’ he cried, ‘"by witnessing these scenes of distress, and you will trifle away your fortune upon projects you can never fulfil: the very air in those miserable houses is unwholesome for you to breathe; you will soon be infected with some of the dis­eases to which you so incautiously expose yourself, and while not half you give in charity will answer the purpose you wish, you will be plundered by cheats and sharp­ers till you have nothing left to bestow. You must be more considerate for yourself, and not thus governed by Albany, whose in­sanity is but partially cured, and whose pro­jects are so boundless, that the whole capital of the East India Company would not suf­fice to fulfil them."’

Cecilia, though she liked not the seve­rity of this remonstrance, acknowledged there was some truth in it, and promised to be discreet, and take the reins into her own hands.

There remained for her, however, no other satisfaction; and the path which had thus been pointed out to her, grew more [Page 100] and more alluring every step. Her old friends, the poor Hills, now occurred to her memory, and she determined to see herself in what manner they went on.

The scene which this enquiry presented to her, was by no means calculated to strengthen Mr. Monckton's doctrine, for the prosperity in which she found this lit­tle family, amply rewarded the liberality she had shewn to it, and proved an irre­sistible encouragement to similar actions. Mrs. Hill wept for joy in recounting how well she succeeded, and Cecilia, delighted by the power of giving such pleasure, for­got all cautions and promises in the gene­rosity which she displayed. She paid Mrs. Roberts the arrears that were due to her, she discharged all that was owing for the children who had been put to school, de­sired they might still be sent to it solely at her expence, and gave the mother a sum of money to be laid out in presents for them all.

To perform her promise with the Pew­Opener was however more difficult; her ill health, and the extreme youth of her children making her utterly helpless: but these were not considerations for Cecilia to desert her, but rather motives for regarding her as more peculiarly an object of charity. She found she had once been a clearstarcher, [Page 101] and was a tolerable plain work­woman; she resolved, therefore, to send her into the country, where she hoped to be able to get her some business, and knew that at least, she could help her, if unsuc­cessful, and see that her children were brought up to useful employments. The woman herself was enchanted at the plan, and firmly persuaded the country air would restore her health. Cecilia told her only to wait till she was well enough to travel, and promised, in the mean time, to look out some little habitation for her. She then gave her money to pay her bills, and for her journey, and writing a full direction where she would hear of her at Bury, took leave of her till that time.

These magnificent donations and designs, being communicated to Albany, seemed a renovation to him of youth, spirit, and joy! while their effect upon Mr. Monckton resembled an annihilation of all three! to see money thus sported away, which he had long considered as his own, to behold those sums which he had destined for his plea­sures, thus lavishly bestowed upon beggars, excited a rage he could with difficulty con­ceal, and an uneasiness he could hardly endure; and he languished, he sickened for the time, when he might put a period to such romantic proceedings.

[Page 102] Such were the only occupations which interrupted the solitude of Cecilia, except those which were given to her by actual business; and the moment her affairs were in so much forwardness that they could be managed by letters, she prepared for re­turning into the country. She acquainted Lady Margaret and Mr. Monckton with her design, and gave orders to her servants to be ready to set off the next day.

Mr. Monckton made not any opposition, and refused himself the satisfaction of ac­companying her: and Lady Margaret, whose purpose was now answered, and who wished to be in the country herself, deter­mined to follow her.


THIS matter being settled at breakfast, Cecilia, having but one day more to spend in London, knew not how to let it pass without taking leave of Henrietta, though she chose not again to expose her­self to the forward insinuations of her mo­ther; she sent her, therefore, a short note, begging to see her at Lady Margaret's, and acquainting her that the next day she was going out of town.

Henrietta returned the following answer.



My mother is gone to market, and I must not go out without her leave; I have run to the door at every knock this whole week in hopes you were coming, and my heart has jumpt at every coach that has gone through the street. Dearest lady, why did you tell me you would come? I should not have thought of such a great honour if you had [Page 104] not put it in my head. And now I have got the use of a room where I can often be alone for two or three hours together. And so I shall this morning, if it was possible my dear Miss Beverley could come. But I don't mean to be teasing, and I would not be im­pertinent or encroaching for the world; but only the thing is I have a great deal to say to you, and if you was not so rich a lady, and so much above me, I am sure I should love you better than any body in the whole world, almost; and now I dare say I shan't see you at all; for it rains very hard, and my mother, I know, will be sadly angry if I ask to go in a coach. O dear! I don't know what I can do! for it will half break my heart, if my dear Miss Beverley should go out of town, and I not see her!

I am, Madam, with the greatest respectfulness, your most humble servant, HENRIETTA BELFIELD.

This artless remonstrance, joined to the intelligence that she could see her alone, made Cecilia instantly order a chair, and go herself to Portland-street: for she found by this letter there was much doubt if she could otherwise see her, and the earnestness of Henrietta made her now not endure to dis­appoint her. ‘"She has much, cried she, [Page 105] to say to me, and I will no longer refuse to hear her; she shall unbosom to me her gentle heart, for we have now nothing to fear from each other. She promises herself pleasure from the communication, and doubtless it must be some relief to her. Oh were there any friendly bosom, in which I might myself confide!—happier Henriet­ta! less fearful of thy pride, less tenacious of thy dignity! thy sorrows at least seek the consolation of sympathy,—mine, alas! fettered by prudence, must fly it!"’

She was shewn into the parlour, which she had the pleasure to find empty; and, in an instant, the warm-hearted Henrietta was in her arms. ‘"This is sweet of you indeed,"’ cried she, ‘"for I did not know how to ask it, though it rains so hard I could not have walked to you, and I don't know what I should have done, if you had gone away and quite forgot me."’

She then took her into the back parlour, which she said they had lately hired, and, as it was made but little use of, she had it al­most entirely to herself.

There had passed a sad scene, she told her, at the meeting with her brother, though now they were a little more comfortable; yet, her mother, she was sure, would never be at rest till he got into some higher way of life; ‘"And, indeed, I have some hopes,"’ [Page 106] she continued, ‘"that we shall be able by and bye to do something better for him; for he has got one friend in the world, yet, thank God, and such a noble friend!—in­deed I believe he can do whatever he pleases for him,—that is I mean I believe if he was to ask any thing for him, there's nobody would deny him. And this is what I want­ed to talk to you about."—’

Cecilia, who doubted not but she meant Delvile, scarce knew how to press the sub­ject, though she came with no other view: Henrietta, however, too eager to want soli­citation, went on.

‘"But the question is whether we shall be able to prevail upon my brother to accept any thing, for he grows more and more un­willing to be obliged, and the reason is, that being poor, he is afraid, I believe, people should think he wants to beg of them: though if they knew him as well as I do, they would not long think that, for I am sure he would a great deal rather be starved to death. But indeed, to say the truth, I am afraid he has been sadly to blame in this affair, and quarrelled when there was no need to be affronted; for I have seen a gentleman who knows a great deal better than my brother what people should do, and he says he took every thing [Page 107] wrong that was done, all the time he was at Lord Vannelt's."’

‘"And how does this gentleman know it?"’

‘"O because he went himself to enquire about it; for he knows Lord Vannelt very well, and it was by his means my brother came acquainted with him. And this gen­tleman would not have wished my brother to be used ill any more than I should my­self, so I am sure I may believe what he says. But my poor brother, not being a lord himself, thought every body meant to be rude to him, and because he knew he was poor, he suspected they all behaved disrespectfully to him. But this gentleman gave me his word that every body liked him and esteemed him, and if he would not have been so suspicious, they would all have done any thing for him in the world."’

‘"You know this gentleman very well, then?"’

‘O no, madam!’ "she answered hastily," ‘I don't know him at all! he only comes here to see my brother; it would be very impertinent for me to call him an acquain­tance of mine."’

‘"Was it before your brother, then, he held this conversation with you?"’

‘"O no, my brother would have been [Page 108] affronted with him, too, if he had! but he called here to enquire for him at the time when he was lost to us, and my mother quite went down upon her knees to him to beg him to go to Lord Vannelt's, and make excuses for him, if he had not behaved pro­perly: but if my brother was to know this, he would hardly speak to her again! so when this gentleman came next, I begged him not to mention it, for my mother hap­pened to be out, and so I saw him alone."’

‘"And did he stay with you long?"’

‘"No, ma'am, a very short time in­deed; but I asked him questions all the while, and kept him as long as I could, that I might hear all he had to say about my brother."’

‘"Have you never seen him since?"’

‘"No, ma'am, not once! I suppose he does not know my brother is come back to us. Perhaps when he does, he will call."’

‘"Do you wish him to call?"’

‘"Me?"’ cried she, blushing, ‘"a little;—sometimes I do;—for my brother's sake."’

‘"For your brother's sake! Ah my dear Henrietta!—but tell me,—or don't tell me if you had rather not,—did I not once see you kissing a letter? perhaps it was from this same noble friend?"’

‘"It was not a letter, madam,"’ said she, [Page 109] looking down, ‘"it was only the cover of one to my brother."’

‘"The cover of a letter only!—and that to your brother!—is it possible you could so much value it?"’

‘"Ah madam! You, who are always used to the good and the wise, who see no other sort of people but those in high life, you can have no notion how they strike those that they are new to!—but I who see them seldom, and who live with people so very unlike them—Oh you cannot guess how sweet to me is every thing that belongs to them! whatever has but once been touched by their hands, I should like to lock up, and keep for ever! though if I was used to them, as you are, perhaps I might think less of them."’

Alas! thought Cecilia, who by them knew she only meant him, little indeed would further intimacy protect you!

‘"We are all over-ready,"’ continued Henrietta, ‘"to blame others, and that is the way I have been doing all this time my­self; but I don't blame my poor brother now for living so with the great as I used to do, for now I have seen a little more of the world, I don't wonder any longer at his behaviour: for I know how it is, and I see that those who have had good educations, [Page 110] and kept great company, and mixed with the world,—O it is another thing!—they seem quite a different species!—they are so gentle, so soft-mannered! nothing comes from them but what is meant to oblige! they seem as if they only lived to give plea­sure to other people, and as if they never thought at all of themselves!"’

‘"Ah Henrietta!"’ said Cecilia, shaking her head, ‘"you have caught the enthusi­asm of your brother, though you so long condemned it! Oh have a care lest, like him also, you find it as pernicious as it is alluring!"’

‘"There is no danger for me, madam,"’ answered she, ‘"for the people I so much admire are quite out of my reach. I hardly ever even see them; and perhaps it may so happen I may see them no more!"’

‘"The people?"’ said Cecilia, smiling, ‘"are there, then, many you so much dis­tinguish?"’

‘"Oh no indeed!"’ cried she, eagerly, ‘"there is only one! there can be—I mean there are only a few—"’ she checked herself, and stopt.

‘"Whoever you admire,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"your admiration cannot but honour: yet indulge it not too far, lest it should wander from your heart to your peace, and make you wretched for life."’

[Page 111] ‘"Ah madam!—I see you know who is the particular person I was thinking of! but indeed you are quite mistaken if you suppose any thing bad of me!"’

‘"Bad of you!"’ cried Cecilia, embracing her, ‘"I scarce think so well of any one!"’

‘"But I mean, madam, if you think I forget he is so much above me. But in­deed I never do; for I only admire him for his goodness to my brother, and never think of him at all, but just by way of comparing him, sometimes, to the other people that I see, because he makes me hate them so, that I wish I was never to see them again."’

‘"His acquaintance, then,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"has done you but an ill office, and happy it would be for you could you forget you had ever made it."’

‘"O, I shall never do that! for the more I think of him, the more I am out of hu­mour with every body else! O Miss Be­verley! we have a sad acquaintance indeed! I'm sure I don't wonder my brother was so ahamed of them. They are all so rude, and so free, and put one so out of counte­nance,—O how different is this person you are thinking of! he would not distress any body, or make one ashamed for all the world! You only are like him! always gentle, always obliging!—sometimes I think you must be his sister—once, too, I heard—but that was contradicted."’

[Page 112] A deep sigh escaped Cecilia at this speech; she guessed too well what she might have heard, and she knew too well how it might be contradicted.

‘"Surely, you cannot be unhappy, Miss Beverley!"’ said Henrietta, with a look of mingled surprise and concern.

‘"I have much, I own,"’ cried Cecilia, assuming more chearfulness, ‘"to be thank­ful for, and I endeavour not to forget it."’

‘"O how often do I think,"’ cried Hen­rietta, ‘"that you, madam, are the happiest person in the world! with every thing at your own disposal,—with every body in love with you, with all the money that you can wish for, and so much sweetness that no­body can envy you it! with power to keep just what company you please, and every body proud to be one of the number!—Oh if I could chuse who I would be, I should sooner say Miss Beverley than any princess in the world!"’

Ah, thought Cecilia, if such is my situa­tion,—how cruel that by one dreadful blow all its happiness should be thrown away!

‘"Were I a rich lady, like you,"’ con­tinued Henrietta, ‘"and quite in my own power, then, indeed, I might soon think of nothing but those people that I admire! and that makes me often wonder that you, madam, who are just such another as himself [Page 113] —but then, indeed, you may see so many of the same sort, that just this one may not so much strike you: and for that reason I hope with all my heart that he will never be married as long as he lives, for as he must take some lady in just such high life as his own, I should always be afraid that she would never love him as she ought to do!"’

He need not now be single, thought Ce­cilia, were that all he had cause to appre­hend!

‘"I often think,"’ added Henrietta, ‘"that the rich would be as much happier for mar­rying the poor, as the poor for marrying the rich, for then they would take somebody that would try to deserve their kindness, and now they only take those that know they have a right to it. Often and often have I thought so about this very gentle­man! and sometimes when I have been in his company, and seen his civility and his sweetness, I have fancied I was rich and grand myself, and it has quite gone out of my head that I was nothing but poor Hen­rietta Belfield!"’

‘"Did he, then,"’ cried Cecilia a little alarmed, ‘"ever seek to ingratiate himself into your favour?"’

‘"No, never! but when treated with so much softness, 'tis hard always to remember [Page 114] ones meanness! You, madam, have no no­tion of that task: no more had I myself till lately, for I cared not who was high, nor who was low: but now, indeed, I must own I have sometimes wished myself richer! yet he assumes so little, that at other times, I have almost forgot all distance between us, and even thought—Oh foolish thought!—"’

‘"Tell it, sweet Henrietta, however!"’

‘"I will tell you, madam, every thing! for my heart has been bursting to open it­self, and nobody have I dared trust. I have thought, then, I have sometimes thought,—my true affection, my faithful fondness, my glad obedience,—might make him, if he did but know them, happier in me than in a greater lady!"’

‘"Indeed,"’ cried Cecilia, extremely af­fected by this plaintive tenderness, ‘"I be­lieve it!—and were I him, I could not, I think, hesitate a moment in my choice!"’

Henrietta now, hearing her mother com­ing in, made a sign to her to be silent; but Mrs. Belfield had not been an instant in the passage, before a thundering knocking at the street-door occasioned it to be instantly re-opened. A servant then enquired if Mrs. Belfield was at home, and being answered by herself in the affirmative, a chair was brought into the house.

[Page 115] But what was the astonishment of Cecilia, when, in another moment, she heard from the next parlour the voice of Mr. Delvile senior, saying, ‘"Your servant, ma'am; Mrs. Belfield, I presume?"’

There was no occasion, now, to make a sign to her of silence, for her own amaze­ment was sufficient to deprive her of speech.

‘"Yes, Sir,"’ answered Mrs. Belfield; ‘"but I suppose, Sir, you are some gentle­man to my son."’

‘"No, madam,"’ he returned, ‘"my busi­ness is with yourself."’

Cecilia now recovering from her surprise, determined to hasten unnoticed out of the house, well knowing that to be seen in it would be regarded as a confirmation of all that he had asserted. She whispered, there­fore, to Henrietta, that she must instantly run away, but, upon softly opening the door leading to the passage, she found Mr. Delvile's chairmen, and a footman there in waiting.

She closed it again, irresolute what to do; but after a little deliberation, she concluded to out-stay him, as she was known to all his servants, who would not fail to mention seeing her; and a retreat so private was worse than any other risk. A chair was also in wait­ing for herself, but it was a hackney one, and she could not be known by it; and her [Page 116] footman she had fortunately dismissed, as he had business to transact for her journey next day.

Mean-while the thinness of the partition between the two parlours made her hearing every word that was said unavoidable.

‘"I am sure, Sir, I shall be very willing to oblige you,"’ Mrs. Belfield answered; ‘"but pray, Sir, what's your name?"’

‘"My name, ma'am,"’ he replied, in a rather elevated voice, ‘"I am seldom oblig­ed to announce myself; nor is there any present necessity I should make it known. It is sufficient I assure you, you are speaking to no very common person, and probably to one you will have little chance to meet with again."’

‘"But how can I tell your business, Sir, if I don't so much as know your name?"’

‘"My business, madam, I mean to tell myself; your affair is only to hear it. I have some questions, indeed, to ask, which I must trouble you to answer, but they will sufficiently explain themselves to prevent any difficulty upon your part. There is no need, therefore, of any introductory cere­monial."’

‘"Well, Sir,"’ said Mrs. Belfield, wholly insensible of this ambiguous greatness, ‘"if you mean to make your name a secret."’

‘"Few names, I believe, ma'am,"’ cried [Page 117] he, haughtily, ‘"have less the advan­tage of secrecy than mine! on the contrary, this is but one among a very few houses in this town to which my person would not immediately announce it. That, however, is immaterial; and you will be so good as to rest satisfied with my assurances, that the person with whom you are now conversing, will prove no disgrace to your character."’

Mrs. Belfield, overpowered, though hard­ly knowing with what, only said he was very welcome, and begged him to sit down.

‘"Excuse me, ma'am,"’ he answered, ‘"My business is but of a moment, and my avocations are too many to suffer my in­fringing that time. You say you have a son; I have heard of him, also, somewhere before; pray will you give me leave to en­quire—I don't mean to go deep into the matter,—but particular family occurrences make it essential for me to know,—whether there is not a young person of rather a ca­pital fortune, to whom he is supposed to make proposals?"’

‘"Lack-a-day, no, Sir!"’ answered Mrs. Belfield, to the infinite relief of Cecilia, who instantly concluded this question referred to herself.

‘"I beg your pardon, then; good morn­ing to you, ma'am,"’ said Mr. Delvile, in a tone that spoke his disappointment; but [Page 118] added ‘"And there is no such young per­son, you say, who favours his pretensions?"’

‘"Dear Sir,"’ cried she, ‘"why there's nobody he'll so much as put the question to! there's a young lady at this very time, a great fortune, that has as much a mind to him, I tell him, as any man need desire to see; but there's no making him think it! though he has been brought up at the uni­versity, and knows more about all the things, or as much, as any body in the king's dominions."’

‘"O, then,"’ cried Mr. Delvile, in a voice of far more complacency, ‘"it is not on the side of the young woman that the difficulty seems to rest?"’

‘"Lord, no, Sir! he might have had her again and again only for asking! She came after him ever so often; but being brought up, as I said, at the university, he thought he knew better than me, and so my preach­ing was all as good as lost upon him."’

The consternation of Cecilia at these speeches could by nothing be equalled but the shame of Henrietta, who, though she knew not to whom her mother made them, felt all the disgrace and the shock of them herself.

‘"I suppose, Sir,"’ continued Mrs. Bel­field, ‘"you know my son?"’

‘"No, ma'am; my acquaintance is—not very universal."’

[Page 119] ‘"Then, Sir, you are no judge how well he might make his own terms. And as to this young lady, she found him out, Sir, when not one of his own natural friends could tell where in the world he was gone! She was the first, Sir, to come and tell me news of him, though I was his own mother! Love, Sir, is prodigious for quickness! it can see, I sometimes think, through bricks and mortar. Yet all this would not do, he was so obstinate not to take the hint!"’

Cecilia now felt so extremely provoked, she was upon the point of bursting in upon them to make her own vindication; but as her passions, though they tried her reason never conquered it, she restrained herself by considering that to issue forth from a room in that house, would do more towards strengthening what was thus boldly assert­ed, than all her protestations could have chance to destroy.

‘"And as to young ladies themselves,"’ continued Mrs. Belfield, ‘"they know no more how to make their minds known than a baby does: so I suppose he'll shilly shally till somebody else will cry snap, and take her. It is but a little while ago that it was all the report she was to have young Mr. Delvile, one of her guardians sons."’

‘"I am sorry report was so impertinent,"’ cried Mr. Delvile, with much displeasure; [Page 120] ‘"young Mr. Delvile is not to be disposed of with so little ceremony; he knows bet­ter what is due to his family."’

Cecilia here blushed from indignation, and Henrietta sighed from despondency.

‘"Lord, Sir,"’ answered Mrs. Belfield, ‘"what should his family do better? I ne­ver heard they were any so rich, and I dare say the old gentleman, being her guardian, took care to put his son enough in her way, however it came about that they did not make a match of it: for as to old Mr. Del­vile, all the world says—"’

‘"All the world takes a very great liber­ty,"’ angrily interrupted Mr. Delvile, ‘"in saying any thing about him: and you will excuse my informing you that a person of his rank and consideration, is not lightly to be mentioned upon every little occasion that occurs."’

‘"Lord, Sir,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, some­what surprised at this unexpected prohibi­tion, ‘"I don't care for my part if I never mention the old gentleman's name again! I never heard any good of him in my life, for they say he's as proud as Lucifer, and no­body knows what it's of, for they say—"’

‘"They say?"’ cried he, firing with rage, ‘"and who are they? be so good as inform me that?"’

‘"Lord, every body, Sir! it's his com­mon character."’

[Page 121] ‘"Then every body is extremely inde­cent,"’ speaking very loud, ‘"to pay no more respect to one of the first families in England. It is a licentiousness that ought by no means to be suffered with impunity."’

Here, the street-door being kept open by the servants in waiting, a new step was heard in the passage, which Henrietta immediately knowing, turned, with uplifted hands to Cecilia, and whispered, ‘"How unlucky! it's my brother! I though the would not have returned till night!"’

‘"Surely he will not come in here?"’ re­whispered Cecilia.

But, at the same moment, he opened the door, and entered the room. He was im­mediately beginning an apology, and start­ing back, but Henrietta catching him by the arm, told him in a low voice, that she had made use of his room because she had thought him engaged for the day, but [...]ged him to keep still and quiet, as the [...]st noise would discover them.

Belfield then stopt; but the embarrass­ [...] of Cecilia was extreme; to find her in his room after the speeches she had [...] from his mother, and to continue [...] him in it by connivance, when she [...] she had been represented as quite at [...]vice, distressed and provoked her im­ [...]urably; and she felt very angry with [Page 122] Henrietta for not sooner informing her whose apartment she had borrowed. Yet now to remove, and to be seen, was not to be thought of; she kept, therefore, fixed to her seat, though changing colour every mo­ment from the variety of her emotions.

During this painful interruption she lost Mrs. Belfield's next answer, and another speech or two from Mr. Delvile, to whose own passion and loudness was owing Bel­field's entering his room unheard: but the next voice that called their attention was that of Mr. Hobson, who just then walked into the parlour.

‘"Why what's to do here?"’ cried he, facetiously, ‘"nothing but chairs and livery servants! Why ma'am, what is this your rout day? Sir your most humble servant. I ask pardon, but I did not know you at first. But come, suppose we were all to sit down? Sitting's as cheap as standing, and what I say is this; when a man's tired, it's more agreeable."’

‘"Have you any thing further, ma'am,"’ said Mr. Delvile, with great solemnity, ‘"to communicate to me?"’

‘"No, Sir,"’ said Mrs. Belfield, rather angrily," ‘it's no business of mine to be communicating myself to a gentleman that I don't know the name of. Why, Mr. Hobson, how come you to know the gen­tleman?"’

[Page 123] ‘"To know me!"’ repeated Mr. Delvile, scornfully.

‘"Why I can't say much, ma'am,"’ an­swered Mr. Hobson, ‘"as to my knowing the gentleman, being I have been in his company but once; and what I say is, to know a person if one leaves but a quart in a hogshead, it's two pints too much. That's my notion. But, Sir, that was but an un­gain business at 'Squire Monckton's t'other morning. Every body was no-how, as one may say. But, Sir, if I may be so free, pray what is your private opinion of that old gen­tleman that talked so much out of the way?"’

‘"My private opinion, Sir?"’

‘"Yes, Sir; I mean if its no secret, for as to a secret, I hold it's what no man has a right to enquire into, being of its own na­ture it's a thing not to be told. Now as to what I think myself, my doctrine is this; I am quite of the old gentleman's mind about some things, and about others I hold him to be quite wide of the mark. But as to talking in such a whisky frisky manner that nobody can understand him, why it's tanta­mount to not talking at all, being he might as well hold his tongue. That's what I say. And then as to that other article, of abusing a person for not giving away all his lawful ga [...]s to every cripple in the streets, just [Page 124] because he happens to have but one leg, or one eye, or some such matter, why it's knowing nothing of business! it's what I call talking at random."’

‘"When you have finished, Sir,"’ said Mr. Delvile, ‘"you will be so good to let me know."’

‘"I don't mean to intrude, Sir; that's not my way, so if you are upon busi­ness—"’

‘"What else, Sir, could you suppose brought me hither? However, I by no means purpose any discussion. I have only a few words more to say to this gentlewo­man, and as my time is not wholly inconse­quential, I should not be sorry to have an early opportunity of being heard."’

‘"I shall leave you with the lady directly, Sir; for I know business better than to in­terrupt it: but seeing chairs in the entry, my notion was I should see ladies in the par­lour, not much thinking of gentlemen's go­ing about in that manner, being I never did it myself. But I have nothing to offer against that; let every man have his own way; that's what I say. Only just let me ask the lady before I go, what's the meaning of my seeing two chairs in the entry, and only a person for one in the parlour? The gentleman, I suppose, did not come in both; ha! ha! ha!"’

[Page 125] ‘"Why now you put me in mind,"’ said Mrs. Belfield, ‘"I saw a chair as soon as I come in; and I was just going to say who's here, when this gentleman's coming put it out of my head."’

‘"Why this is what I call Hocus Pocus work!"’ said Mr. Hobson; ‘"but I shall make free to ask the chairman who they are waiting for."’

Mrs. Belfield, however, anticipated him; for running into the passage, she ang­rily called out, ‘"What do you do here, Misters? do you only come to be out of the rain? I'll have no stand made of my entry, I can tell you!"’

‘"Why we are waiting for the lady,"’ cried one of them.

‘"Waiting for a fiddlestick!"’ said Mrs. Belfield; ‘"here's no lady here, nor no com­pany; so if you think I'll have my entry filled up by two hulking fellows for no­thing, I shall shew you the difference. One's dirt enough of one's own, without taking people out of the streets to help one. Who do you think's to clean after you?"’

‘"That's no business of ours; the lady bid us wait,"’ answered the man.

Cecilia at this dispute could with plea­sure have cast herself out of the window to avoid being discovered; but all plan of [...]ape was too late; Mrs. Belfield called a [...]d for her daughter, and then, returning [Page 126] to the front parlour, said, ‘"I'll soon know if there's company come to my house with­out my knowing it!"’ and opened a door leading to the next room!

Cecilia, who had hitherto sat fixed to her chair, now hastily arose, but in a confusion too cruel for speech: Belfield, wondering even at his own situation, and equally con­cerned and surprised at her evident distress, had himself the feeling of a culprit, though without the least knowledge of any cause: and Henrietta, terrified at the prospect of her mother's anger, retreated as much as pos­sible out of sight.

Such was the situation of the discovered, abashed, perplexed, and embarrassed! while that of the discoverers, far different, was bold, delighted, and triumphant!

‘"So!"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, ‘"why here's Miss Beverley!—in my son's back room!"’ winking at Mr. Delvile.

‘"Why here's a lady, sure enough!"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"and just where she should be, and that is with a gentleman. Ha! ha! that's the right way, according to my notion! that's the true maxim for living agreeable."’

‘"I came to see Miss Belfield,"’ cried Ce­cilia, endeavouring, but vainly, to speak with composure, ‘"and she brought me in­to this room."’

[Page 127] ‘"I am but this moment,"’ cried Belfield, with eagerness, ‘"returned home; and un­fortunately broke into the room, from total ignorance of the honour which Miss Bever­ley did my sister."’

These speeches, though both literally true, sounded, in the circumstances which brought them out, so much as mere ex­cuses, that while Mr. Delvile haughtily marked his incredulity by a motion of his chin, Mrs. Belfield continued winking at him most significantly, and Mr. Hobson, with still less ceremony, laughed aloud.

‘"I have nothing more, ma'am,"’ said Mr. Delvile to Mrs. Belfield, ‘"to enquire, for the few doubts with which I came to this house are now entirely satisfied. Good morning to you, ma'am."’

‘"Give me leave, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, ad­vancing with more spirit, ‘"to explain, in presence of those who can best testify my veracity, the real circumstances—"’

‘"I would by no means occasion you such unnecessary trouble, ma'am,"’ answered he, with an air at once exulting and pompous, ‘"the situation in which I see you abun­dantly satisfies my curiosity, and saves me from the apprehension I was under of being again convicted of a mistake!"’

He then made her a stiff bow, and went to his chair.

[Page 128] Cecilia, colouring deeply at this con­temptuous treatment, coldly took leave of Henrietta, and courtsying to Mrs. Belfield, hastened into the passage, to get into her own.

Henrietta was too much intimidated to speak, and Belfield was too delicate to fol­low her; Mr. Hobson only said ‘"The young lady seems quite dashed;"’ but Mrs. Belfield pursued her with entreaties she would stay.

She was too angry, however, to make any answer but by a distant bow of the head, and left the house with a resolution little short of a vow never again to enter it.

Her reflections upon this unfortunate visit were bitter beyond measure; the situa­tion in which she had been surprised,—clandestinely concealed with only Belfield and his sister,—joined to the positive asser­tions of her partiality for him made by his mother, could not, to Mr. Delvile, but ap­pear marks irrefragable that his charge in his former conversation was rather mild than overstrained, and that the connection he had mentioned, for whatever motives de­nied, was incontestably formed.

The apparent conviction of this part of the accusation, might also authorise, to one but too happy in believing ill of her, an im­plicity faith in that which regarded her having [Page 129] run out her fortune. His determina­tion not to hear her shewed the inflexibility of his character; and it was evident, not­withstanding his parading pretensions of wishing her welfare, that his inordinate pride was inflamed, at the very supposition he could be mistaken or deceived for a mo­ment.

Even Delvile himself, if gone abroad, might now hear this account with exag­gerations that would baffle all his confi­dence: his mother, too, greatly as she esteemed and loved her, might have the matter so represented as to stagger her good opinion;—these were thoughts the most afflicting she could harbour, though their probability was such that to banish them was impossible.

To apply again to Mr. Delvile to hear her vindication, was to subject herself to in­solence, and almost to court indignity. She disdained even to write to him, since his be­haviour called for resentment, not conces­sion; and such an eagerness to be heard, in opposition to all discouragement, would be practising a meanness that would almost merit repulsion.

Her first inclination was to write to Mrs. Delvile, but what now, to her, was either her defence or accusation? She had solemn­ly renounced all further intercourse with her, she had declared against writing again, [Page 130] and prohibited her letters: and, therefore, after much fluctuation of opinion, her deli­cacy concurred with her judgment, to con­clude it would be most proper, in a situa­tion so intricate, to leave the matter to chance, and commit her character to time.

In the evening, while she was at tea with Lady Margaret and Miss Bennet, she was suddenly called out to speak to a young woman; and found, to her great surprise, she was no other than Henrietta.

‘"Ah madam!"’ she cried, ‘"how ang­rily did you go away this morning! it has made me miserable ever since, and if you go out of town without forgiving me, I shall fret myself quite ill! my mother is gone out to tea, and I have run here all alone, and in the dark, and in the wet, to beg and pray you will forgive me, for else I don't know what I shall do!"’

‘"Sweet, gentle girl!’ cried Cecilia, af­fectionately embracing her, ‘"if you had excited all the anger I am capable of feeling, such softness as this would banish it, and make me love you more than ever!"’

Henrietta then said, in her excuse, that she had thought herself quite sure of her brother's absence, who almost always spent the whole day at the booksellers, as in writing [Page 131] himself he perpetually wanted to consult other authors, and had very few books at their lodgings: but she would not mention that the room was his, lest Cecilia should object to making use of it, and she knew she had no other chance of having the conversa­tion with her she had so very long wished for. She then again begged her pardon, and hoped the behaviour of her mother would not induce her to give her up, as she was shocked at it beyond measure, and as her brother, she assured her, was as inno­cent of it as herself.

Cecilia heard her with pleasure, and felt for her an encreasing regard. The open­ness of her confidence in the morning had merited all her affection, and she gave her the warmest protestations of a friendship which she was certain would be lasting as her life.

Henrietta then, with a countenance that spoke the lightness of her heart, hastily took her leave, saying she did not dare be out longer, lest her mother should discover her excursion. Cecilia insisted, however, upon her going in a chair, which she [...]ed her servant to attend, and take care himself to discharge.

This visit, joined to the tender and un­reserved conversation of the morning, gave Cecilia the strongest desire invite her to [Page 132] her house in the country; but the terror of Mrs. Belfield's insinuations, added to the cruel interpretations she had to expect from Mr. Delvile, forbid her indulging this wish, though it was the only one that just now she could form.


CECILIA took leave over night of the family, as she would not stay their rising in the morning: Mr. Monckton, though certain not to sleep when she was going, forbearing to mark his solicitude by quitting his apartment at any unu­sual hour. Lady Margaret parted from her with her accustomed ungraciousness, and Miss Bennet, because in her presence, in a manner scarce less displeasing.

The next morning, with only her servants, the moment it was light, she set out. Her journey was without incident or interrup­tion, and she went immediately to the house of Mrs. Bayley, where she had settled to board till her own was finished.

Mrs. Bayley was a mere good sort of wo­man, who lived decently well with her ser­vants, and tolerably well with her neigh­bours, upon a small annuity, which made her easy and comfortable, though by no means superior to such an addition to her little income as an occasional boarder might produce.

[Page 134] Here Cecilia continued a full month: which time had no other employment than what she voluntarily gave to herself by ac­tive deeds of benevolence.

At Christmas, to the no little joy of the neighbourhood, she took possession of her own house, which was situated about three miles from Bury.

The better sort of people were happy to see her thus settled amongst them, and the poorer, who by what they already had re­ceived, knew well what they still might ex­pect, regarded the day in which she fixed herself in her mansion, as a day to them­selves of prosperity and triumph.

As she was no longer, as hitherto, repair­ing to a temporary habitation, which at pleasure she might quit, and to which, at a certain period, she could have no possible claim, but to a house which was her own for ever, or, at least, could solely by her own choice be transferred, she determined, as much as was in her power, in quitting her desultory dwellings, to empty her mind of the transactions which had passed in them, and upon entering a house where she was permanently to reside, to make the expul­sion of her past sorrows, the basis upon which to establish her future serenity.

And this, though a work of pain and dif­ficulty, was not impracticable; her sensibility, [Page 135] indeed, was keen, and she had suffer­ed from it the utmost torture; but her feel­ings were not more powerful than her un­derstanding was strong, and her fortitude was equal to her trials. Her calamities had saddened, but not weakened her mind, and the words of Delvile in speaking of his mother occurred to her now with all the conviction of experience, that ‘"evils ine­vitable are always best supported, because known to be past amendment, and felt to give defiance to struggling."*

A plan by which so great a revolution was to be wrought in her mind, was not to be effected by any sudden effort of magna­nimity, but by a regular and even tenour of courage mingled with prudence. Nothing, therefore, appeared to her so indispensable as constant employment, by which a variety of new images might force their way in her mind to supplant the old ones, and by which no time might be allowed for brood­ing over melancholy retrospections.

Her first effort, in this work of mental reformation, was to part with Fidel, whom hitherto she had almost involuntarily guard­ed, but whom she only could see to revive the most dangerous recollections. She sent him, therefore, to the castle, but without [Page 136] any message; Mrs. Delvile, she was sure, would require none to make her rejoice in his restoration.

Her next step was writing to Albany, who had given her his direction, to acquaint him she was now ready to put in practice their long concerted scheme. Albany instantly hasten­ed to her, and joyfully accepted the office of becoming at once her Almoner and her Mo­nitor. He made it his business to seek ob­jects of distress, and always but too certain to find them, of conducting her himself to their habitations, and then leaving to her own liberality the assistance their several cases demanded: and, in the overflowing of his zeal upon these occasions, and the rapture of his heart in thus disposing, almost at his pleasure, of her noble fortune, he seemed, at times, to feel an extasy that, from its novelty and its excess, was almost too exquisite to be borne. He joined with the beggars in pouring blessings upon her head, he prayed for her with the poor, and he [...]ked her with the succoured.

The pew-opener and her children failed not to keep their appointment, and Cecilia presently contrived to settle them in her neighbourhood: where the poor woman, as she recovered her strength, soon got a little work, and all deficiencies in her power of maintaining herself were supplied by her [Page 137] generous patroness. The children, how­ever, she ordered to be coarsely brought up, having no intention to provide for them but by helping them to common employ­ments.

The promise, also, so long made to Mrs. Harrel of an apartment in her house, was now performed. That lady accepted it with the utmost alacrity, glad to make any change in her situation, which constant so­litude had rendered wholly insupportable. Mr. Arnott accompanied her to the house, and spent one day there; but receiving from Cecilia, though extremely civil and sweet to him, no hint of any invitation for repeating his visit, he left it in sadness, and returned to his own in deep dejection. Ce­cilia saw with concern how he nourished his hopeless passion, but knew that to suffer his visits would almost authorise his feeding it; and while she pitied unaffectedly the un­happiness she occasioned, she resolved to double her own efforts towards avoiding similar wretchedness.

This action, however, was a point of ho­nour, not of friendship, the time being long since past that the society of Mrs. Harrel could afford her any pleasure; but the promises she had so often made to Mr. Harrel in his distresses, though extorted from her merely by the terrors of the moment, [Page 138] still were promises, and, therefore, she held herself bound to fulfil them.

Yet far from finding comfort in this ad­dition to her family, Mrs. Harrel proved to her nothing more than a trouble and an in­cumbrance; with no inherent resources, she was continually in search of occasional supplies; she fatigued Cecilia with wonder at the privacy of her life, and tormented her with proposals of parties and entertain­ments. She was eternally in amazement that with powers so large, she had wishes so confined, and was evidently disappointed that upon coming to so ample an estate, she lived, with respect to herself and her family, with no more magnificence or shew than if Heiress to only 500l. a year.

But Cecilia was determined to think and to live for herself, without regard to un­meaning wonder or selfish remonstrances; she had neither ambition for splendour, nor spirits for dissipation; the recent sorrow of her heart had deadened it for the present to all personal taste of happiness, and her only chance for regaining it, seemed through the medium of bestowing it upon others. She had seen, too, by Mr. Harrel, how wretch­edly external brilliancy could cover inward woe, and she had learned at Delvile Castle to grow sick of parade and grandeur. Her equipage, therefore, was without glare, [Page 139] though not without elegance, her table was plain, though hospitably plentiful, her servants were for use, though too numerous to be for labour. The system of her oeco­nomy, like that of her liberality, was form­ed by rules of reason, and her own ideas of right, and not by compliance with example, nor by emulation with the gentry in her neighbourhood.

But though thus deviating in her actions from the usual customs of the young and rich, she was peculiarly careful not to of­fend them by singularity of manners. When she mixed with them, she was easy, unaffected, and well bred, and though she saw them but seldom, her good humour and desire of obliging kept them always her friends. The plan she had early formed at Mrs. Harrel's she now studied daily to put in practice; but that part by which the use­less or frivolous were to be excluded her house, she found could only be supported by driving from her half her acquaintance.

Another part, also, of that project she found still less easy of adoption, which was solacing herself with the society of the wise, good, and intelligent. Few answered this description, and those few were with diffi­culty attainable. Many might with joy have sought out her liberal dwelling, but no one had idly waited till the moment it was at her disposal. All who possessed at once [Page 140] both talents and wealth, were so generally courted they were rarely to be procured; and all who to talents alone owed their con­sequence, demanded, if worth acquiring, time and delicacy to be obtained. Fortune she knew, however, was so often at war with Nature, that she doubted not shortly meet­ing those who would gladly avail them­selves of her offered protection.

Yet, tired of the murmurs of Mrs. Har­rel, she longed for some relief from her so­ciety, and her desire daily grew stronger to owe that relief to Henrietta Belfield. The more she meditated upon this wish, the less unattainable it appeared to her, till by fre­quently combating its difficulties, she be­gan to consider them imaginary: Mrs. Bel­field, while her son was actually with herself, might see she took not Henrietta as his ap­pendage; and Mr. Delvile, should he make further enquiries, might hear that her real connection was with the sister, since she re­ceived her in the country, where the brother made no pretence to follow her. She con­sidered, too, how ill she should be rewarded in giving up Henrietta for Mr. Delvile, who was already determined to think ill of her, and whose prejudices no sacrifice would remove.

Having hesitated, therefore, some time be­tween the desire of present alleviation, and [Page 141] the fear of future mischief, the conscious­ness of her own innocence at length van­quished all dread of unjust censure, and she wrote an invitation to Henrietta enclosed in a letter to her mother.

The answer of Henrietta expressed her rapture at the proposal; and that of Mrs. Belfield made no objection but to the ex­pence.

Cecilia, therefore, sent her own maid to travel with her into Suffolk, with proper directions to pay for the journey.

The gratitude of the delighted Henrietta at the meeting was boundless; and her joy at so unexpected a mark of favour made her half wild. Cecilia suffered it not to lan­guish for want of kindness to support it; she took her to her bosom, became the soother of all her cares, and reposed in her, in return, every thought that led not to Delvile.

There, however, she was uniformly silent; solemnly and eternally parted from him, far from trusting the secret of her former con­nexion to Henrietta, the whole study of her life was to drive the remembrance of it from herself.

Henrietta now tasted a happiness to which as yet her whole life had been a stranger; she was suddenly removed from turbulent vulgarity to the enjoyment of [Page 142] calm elegance; and the gentleness of her disposition, instead of being tyrannically imposed upon, not only made her loved with affection, but treated with the most scrupulous delicacy. Cecilia had her share in all the comfort she bestowed; she had now a friend to oblige, and a companion to converse with. She communicated to her all her schemes, and made her the part­ner of her benevolent excursions; she found her disposition as amiable upon trial, as her looks and her manners had been engaging at first sight; and her constant presence and constant sweetness, imperceptibly revived her spirits, and gave a new interest to her existence.

Meantime Mr. Monckton, who returned in about a fortnight to the Grove, observed the encreasing influence of Albany with the most serious concern. The bounties of Cecilia, extensive, magnificent, unlimited, were the theme of every tongue, and though sometimes censured and sometimes admired, they were wondered at univer­sally. He suffered her for a while to go on without remonstrance, hoping her en­thusiasm would abate, as its novelty wore out: but finding that week following week was still distinguished by some fresh act of beneficence, he grew so alarmed and uneasy, he could restrain himself no longer. He spoke to her with warmth, he represented [Page 143] her conduct as highly dangerous in its consequence; he said she would but court impostors from every corner of the king­dom, called Albany a lunatic, whom she should rather avoid than obey; and insinu­ated that if a report was spread of her pro­ceedings, a charity so prodigal, would ex­cite such alarm, that no man would think even her large and splendid fortune, would ensure him from ruin in seeking her al­liance.

Cecilia heard this exhortation without either terror or impatience, and answered it with the utmost steadiness. His influence over her mind was no longer uncontrolled, for though her suspicions were not strength­ened, they had never been removed, and friendship has no foe so dangerous as dis­trust! She thanked him, however, for his zeal, but assured him his apprehensions were groundless, since though she acted from inclination, she acted not without thought. Her income was very large, and she was wholly without family or connec­tion; to spend it merely upon herself would be something still worse than extravagance, it must result from wilfulness the most in­excusable, as her disp [...]sition was naturally averse to luxury and expence. She might save indeed, but for whom? not a creature had such a claim upon her; and with regard [Page 144] to herself, she was so provided for it would be unnecessary. She would never, she de­clared, run in debt even for a week, but while her estate was wholly clear, she would spend it without restriction.

To his hint of any future alliance, she only said that those who disapproved her conduct, would probably be those she should disapprove in her turn; should such an event however take place, the retrench­ing from that time all her present peculiar expences, would surely, in a clear 3000l. a­year, leave her rich enough for any man, without making it incumbent upon her at present, to deny herself the only pleasure she could taste, in bestowing that money which to her was superfluous, upon those who re­ceived it as the prolongation of their exis­tence.

A firmness so deliberate in a system he so much dreaded, greatly shocked Mr. Monck­ton, though it intmidated him from oppos­ing it; he saw she was too earnest, and too well satisfied she was right, to venture giving her disg [...] by controverting her ar­guments: the conversation, therefore, end­ed with new discontent to himself, and with an impression upon the mind of Cecilia, that though he was zealous and friendly, he was somewhat too worldly and suspicious.

She went on, therefore, as before, distributing [Page 145] with a lavish hand all she could spare from her own houshold; careful of no­thing but of guarding against imposition, which, though she sometimes unavoidably endured, her discernment, and the activity of her investigating diligence, saved her from suffering frequently. And the steadi­ness with which she repulsed those whom she detected in deceit, was a check upon tricks and fraud, though it could not whol­ly put a stop to them.

Money, to her, had long appeared worth­less and valueless; it had failed to procure her the establishment for which she once flattered herself it seemed purposely de­signed; it had been disdained by the Del­viles, for the sake of whose connection she had alone ever truly rejoiced in possessing it; and after such a conviction of its inef­ficacy to secure her happiness, she regard­ed it as of little importance to herself, and therefore thought it almost the due of those whose distresses gave it a consequence to which with her it was a stranger.

In this manner with Cecilia passed the first winter of her majority. She had sedu­lously filled it with occupations, and her occupations had proved fertile in keeping her mind from idleness, and in restoring it to chearfulness. Calls upon her attention [Page 146] so soothing, and avocations so various for her time, had answered the great purpose for which originally she had planned them, in almost forcing from her thoughts those sorrows which, if indulged, would have rest­ed in them incessantly.


THE spring was now advancing, and the weather was remarkably fine; when one morning, while Cecilia was walking with Mrs. Harrel and Henrietta on the lawn before her house, to which the last dinner bell was just summoning them, to return, Mrs. Harrel looked round and stopt at sight of a gentleman galloping towards them, who in less than a minute ap­proached, and dismounting and leaving his horse to his servant, struck them all at the same instant to be no other than young Delvile!

A sight so unexpected, so unaccountable, so wonderful, after an absence so long, and to which they were mutually bound, almost wholly over-powered Cecilia from surprise and a thousand other feelings, and she caught Mrs. Harrel by the arm, not knowing what she did, as if for succour; while Henrietta with scarce less, though much more glad emotion, suddenly exclaimed, ‘"'tis Mr. Delvile!"’ and sprang forward to meet him.

[Page 148] He had reached them, and in a voice that spoke hurry and perturbation, respect­fully made his compliments to them all, before Cecilia recovered even the use of her feet: but no sooner were they restored to her, than she employed them with the quickest motion in her power, still leaning upon Mrs. Harrel, to hasten into the house. Her solemn promise to Mrs. Delvile became uppermost in her thoughts, and her surprise was soon succeeded by displeasure, that thus, without any preparation, he forced her to break it by an interview she had no means to prevent.

Just as they reached the entrance into the house, the Butler came to tell Cecilia that dinner was upon the table. Delvile then went up to her, and said, ‘"May I wait upon you for one instant before—or after you dine?"’

‘"I am engaged, Sir,"’ answered she, though hardly able to speak, ‘"for the whole day."’

‘"You will not, I hope, refuse to hear me,"’ cried he, eagerly, ‘"I cannot write what I have to say,—"’

‘"There is no occasion that you should, Sir,"’ interrupted she, ‘"since I should scarcely find time to read it."’

She then courtsied, though without look­ing at him, and went into the house; Delvile [Page 149] remaining in utter dismay, not daring, however wishing, to follow her. But when Mrs. Harrel, much surprised at behaviour so unusual from Cecilia, approached him with some civil speeches, he started, and wishing her good day, bowed, and remount­ed his horse: pursued by the soft eyes of Henrietta till wholly out of sight.

They then both followed Cecilia to the dining-parlour.

Had not Mrs. Harrel been of this small party, the dinner would have been served in vain; Cecilia, still trembling with emo­tion, bewildered with conjecture, angry with Delvile for thus surprising her, angry with herself for so severely receiving him, amazed what had tempted him to such a violation of their joint agreement, and ir­resolute as much what to wish as what to think, was little disposed for eating, and with difficulty compelled herself to do the honours of her table.

Henrietta, whom the sight of Delvile had at once delighted and disturbed, whom the behaviour of Cecilia had filled with wonder and consternation, and whom the evident inquietude and disappointment which that behaviour had given to Delvile, had struck with grief and terror, could not swallow even a morsel, but having cut her [Page 150] meat about her plate, gave it, untouched, to a servant.

Mrs. Harrel, however, though she had had her share in the surprise, had wholly escaped all other emotion; and only con­cluded in her own mind, that Cecilia could sometimes be out of humout and ill bred, as well as the rest of the world.

While the desert was serving, a note was brought to Henrietta, which a servant was waiting in great haste to have answered.

Henrietta, stranger to all forms of polite­ness, though by nature soft, obliging and de­licate, opened it immediately; she started as she cast her eye over it, but blushed, spark­led, and looked enchanted, and hastily rising, without even a thought of any apo­logy, ran out of the room to answer it.

Cecilia, whose quick eye, by a glance unavoidable, had seen the hand of Delvile, was filled with new amazement at the sight. As soon as the servants were gone, she begged Mrs. Harrel to excuse her, and went to her own apartment.

Here, in a few minutes, she was followed by Henrietta, whose countenance beamed with pleasure, and whose voice spoke tu­multuous delight. ‘"My dear, dear Miss Beverley!"’ she cried, ‘"I have such a thing to tell you!—you would never guess it,—I don't know how to believe it myself,—but [Page 151] Mr. Delvile has written to me!—he has indeed! that note was from him.—I have been locking it up, for fear of accidents, but I'll run and fetch it, that you may see it yourself."’

She then ran away; leaving Cecilia much perplexed, much uneasy for herself, and both grieved and alarmed for the too ten­der, too susceptible Henrietta, who was thus easily the sport of every airy and credulous hope.

‘"If I did not shew it you,"’ cried Hen­rietta, running back in a moment, ‘"you would never think it possible, for it is to make such a request—that it has frightened me almost out of my wits!"’

Cecilia then read the note.


Mr. Delvile presents his compliments to Miss Belfield, and begs to be permitted to wait upon her for a few minutes, at any time in the afternoon she will be so good as to appoint.

‘"Only think,"’ cried the rapturous Hen­rietta, ‘"it was me, poor simple me, of all people, that he wanted so to speak with!—I am sure I thought a different thought when he went away! but do, dearest Miss [Page 152] Beverley, tell me this one thing, what do you think he can have to say to me?"’

‘"Indeed,"’ replied Cecilia, extremely embarrassed, ‘"it is impossible for me to conjecture."’

‘"If you can't, I am sure, then, it is no wonder I can't! and I have been thinking of a million of things in a minute. It can't be about any business, because I know nothing in the world of any business; and it can't be about my brother, because he would go to our house in town about him, and there he would see him himself; and it can't be about my dear Miss Bever­ley, because then he would have written the note to her: and it can't be about any body else, because I know nobody else of his acquaintance."’

Thus went on the sanguine Henrietta, settling whom and what it could not be about, till she left but the one thing to which her wishes pointed that it could be about. Cecilia heard her with true com­passion, certain that she was deceiving her­self with imaginations the most pernicious; yet unable to know how to quell them, while in such doubt and darkness herself.

This conversation was soon interrupted, by a message that a gentleman in the par­lour begged to speak with Miss Belfield.

‘"O dearest, dearest Miss Beverley!"’ [Page 153] cried Henrietta, with encreasing agitation, ‘"what in the world shall I say to him, advise me, pray advise me, for I can't think of a single word!"’

‘"Impossible, my dear Henrietta, unless I knew what he would say to you!"’

‘"O but I can guess, I can guess!"’—cried she, her cheeks glowing, while her whole frame shook, ‘"and I sha'n't know what in the whole world to answer him! I know I shall behave like a fool,—I know I shall disgrace myself sadly!"’

Cecilia, truly sorry Delvile should see her in such emotion, endeavoured earnestly to compose her, though never less tranquil herself. But she could not succeed, and she went down stairs with expectations of happiness almost too potent for her reason.

Not such were those of Cecilia; a dread of some new conflict took possession of her mind, that mind so long tortured with struggles, so lately restored to serenity!

Henrietta soon returned, but not the same Henrietta she went;—the glow, the hope, the flutter were all over; she looked pale and wan, but attempting, as she en­tered the room, to call up a smile, she failed, and burst into tears.

Cecilia threw her arms round her neck, and tried to console her; but, happy to hide her face in her bosom, she only gave [Page 154] the freer indulgence to her grief, and rather melted than comforted by her tenderness, sobbed aloud.

Cecilia too easily conjectured the disap­pointment she had met, to pain her by asking it; she forbore even to gratify her own curiosity by questions that could not but lead to her mortification, and suffering her therefore to take her own time for what she had to cummunicate, she hung over her in silence with the most patient pity.

Henrietta was very sensible of this kind­ness, though she knew not half its merit: but it was a long time before she could ar­ticulate, for sobbing, that all Mr. Delvile wanted, at last, was only to beg she would acquaint Miss Beverley, that he had done himself the honour of waiting upon her with a message from Mrs. Delvile.

‘"From Mrs. Delvile?"’ exclaimed Ceci­lia, all emotion in her turn, ‘"good heaven! how much, then, have I been to blame? where is he now?—where can I send to him?—tell me, my sweet Henrietta, this instant!"’

‘Oh madam!"’ cried Henrietta, bursting into a fresh flood of tears, ‘"how foolish have I been to open my silly heart to you!—he is come to pay his addresses to you!—I am sure he is!—"’

‘"No, no, no!"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"indeed [Page 155] he is not!—but I must, I ought to see him,—where, my love, is he?"’

‘"In the parlour,—waiting for an an­swer.—"’

Cecilia, who at any other time would have been provoked at such a delay in the delivery of a message so important, felt now nothing but concern for Henrietta, whom she hastily kissed, but instantly, however, quitted, and hurried to Delvile, with expectations almost equally sanguine as those her poor friend but the moment before had crushed.

‘"Oh now, thought she, if at last Mrs. Delvile herself has relented, with what joy will I give up all reserve, all disguise, and frankly avow the faithful affection of my heart!"’

Delvile received her not with the eager­ness with which he had first addressed her; he looked extremely disturbed, and, even after her entrance, undetermined how to begin.

She waited, however, his explanation in silence; and, after an irresolute pause, he said, with a gravity not wholly free from resentment, ‘"I presumed, madam, to wait upon you from the permission of my mother; but I believe I have obtained it so late, that the influence I hoped from it is past!"’

[Page 156] ‘"I had no means, Sir,"’ answered she, chearfully, ‘"to know that you came from her: I should else have received her com­mands without any hesitation."’

‘"I would thank you for the honour you do her, were it less pointedly exclusive. I have, however, no right of reproach! yet suffer me to ask, could you, madam, after such a parting, after a renunciation so ab­solute of all future claim upon you, which though extorted from me by duty, I was bound, having promised, to fulfil by prin­ciple,—could you imagine me so unsteady, so dishonourable, as to obtrude myself into your presence while that promise was still in force?"’

‘"I find,’ cried Cecilia, in whom a secret hope every moment grew stronger, ‘"I have been too hasty; I did indeed believe Mrs. Delvile would never authorise such a visit; but as you have so much surprised me, I have a right to your pardon for a little doubt."’

‘"There spoke Miss Beverley!"’ cried Delvile, re-animating at this little apology, ‘"the same, the unaltered Miss Beverley I hoped to find!—yet is she unaltered? am I not too precipitate? and is the tale I have heard about Belfield a dream? an error? a falsehood?"’

‘But that so quick a succession of quarrels,"’ [Page 157] said Cecilia, half smiling, ‘"would be endless perplexity, I, now, would be affronted that you can ask me such a question."’

‘"Had I, indeed, thought it a question,"’ cried he, ‘"I would not have asked it: but never for a moment did I credit it, till the rigour of your repulse alarmed me. You have condescended, now, to account for that, and I am therefore encouraged to make known to you the purpose of my venturing this visit. Yet not with confi­dence shall I speak if, scarce even with hope!—it is a purpose that is the offspring of despair,—"’

‘One thing, Sir,"’ cried Cecilia, who now became frightened again, ‘"let me say before you proceed; if your purpose has not the sanction of Mrs. Delvile, as well as your visit, I would gladly be excused hear­ing it, since I shall most certainly refuse it."’

‘I would mention nothing,"’ answered he, ‘"without her concurrence; she has given it me: and my father himself has permit­ted my present application."’

‘"Good Heaven!"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"is it possible!"’ clasping her hands together in the eagerness of her surprise and delight.

‘"Is it possible!"’ repeated Delvile, with a look of rapture; ‘"ah Miss Beverley! [Page 158] —once my own Cecilia!—do you, can you wish it possible?"’

‘No, no!"’ cried she, while pleasure and expectation sparkled in her eyes, ‘"I wish nothing about it.—Yet tell me how it has happened,—I am curious,"’ added she, smil­ing, ‘"though not interested in it."’

‘"What hope would this sweetness give me,"’ cried he, ‘"were my scheme almost any other than it is!—but you cannot,—no, it would be unreasonable,—it would be madness to expect your compliance!—it is next to madness even in me to wish it,—but how shall a man who is desperate be prudent and circumspect?"’

‘"Spare, spare yourself,"’ cried the inge­nuous Cecilia, ‘"this unnecessary pain!—you will find from me no unnecessary scru­ples."’

‘"You know not what you say!—all no­ble as you are, the sacrifice I have to propose—"’

‘"Speak it,"’ cried she, ‘"with confi­dence! speak it even with certainty of suc­cess! I will be wholly undisguised, and openly, honestly own to you, that no pro­posal, no sacrifice can be mentioned, to which I will not instantly agree, if first it has had the approbation of Mrs. Delvile."’

Delvile's gratitude and thanks for a concession never before so voluntarily made [Page 15] to him, interrupted for a while, even his power of explaining himself. And now, for the first time, Cecilia's sincerity was chearful, since now, for the first time, it seemed opposed by no duty.

When still, therefore, he hesitated, she her­self held out her hand to him, saying, ‘"what must I do more? must I offer this pledge to you?"’

‘"For my life would I not resign it!"’ cried he, delightedly receiving it; ‘"but oh, how soon will you withdraw it, when the only terms upon which I can hold it, are those of making it sign from itself its natu­ral right and inheritance?"’

Cecilia, not comprehending him, only looked amazed, and he proceeded.

‘"Can you, for my sake, make such a sa­crifice as this? can you for a man who for yours is not permitted to give up his name, give up yourself the fortune of your late uncle? consent to such settlements as I can make upon you from my own? part with so splendid an income wholly and for-ever?—and with only your paternal 10,000l. con­descend to become mine, as if your uncle had never existed, and you had been Heir­ess to no other wealth?"’

This, indeed, was a stroke to Cecilia un­equalled by any she had met, and more cruel than any she could have in reserve. [Page 160] At the proposal of parting with her uncle's fortune, which, desirable as it was, had as yet been only productive to her of misery, her heart, disinterested, and wholly careless of money, was prompt to accede to the con­dition; but at the mention of her paternal fortune, that fortune, of which, now, not the smallest vestige remained, horror seized all her faculties! she turned pale, she trembled, she involuntarily drew back her hand, and betrayed, by speechless agi­tation, the sudden agonies of her soul!

Delvile, struck by this evident dismay, instantly concluded his plan had disgusted her. He waited some minutes in anxious expectation of an answer, but finding her silence continue while her emotion encreas­ed, the deepest crimson dyed his face, and unable to check his chagrin, though not daring to confess his disappointment, he suddenly quitted her, and walked, in much disorder, about the room. But soon reco­vering some composure, from the assistance of pride, ‘"Pardon, madam,"’ he said, ‘"a trial such as no man can be vindicated in making. I have indulged a romantic whim, which your better judgment disapproves, and I receive but the mortification my pre­sumption deserved."’

‘"You know not then,"’ said Cecilia, [Page 161] in a faint voice, ‘"my inability to com­ply?"’

‘"Your ability, or inability, I presume are elective?"’

‘"Oh no!—my power is lost!—my for­tune itself is gone!"’

‘"Impossible! utterly impossible!"’ cried he with vehemence.

‘"Oh that it were!—your father knows it but too well."’

‘"My father!"’

‘"Did he, then, never hint it to you?"’

‘"Oh distraction!"’ cried Delvile, ‘"what horrible confirmation is coming!"’ and again he walked away, as if wanting cou­rage to hear her.

Cecilia was too much shocked to force upon him her explanation; but presently returning to her, he said ‘"you, only, could have made this credible!"’

‘"Had you, then, actually heard it?"’

‘"Oh I had heard it as the most infamous of falshoods! my heart swelled with indig­nation at so villainous a calumny, and had it not come from my father, my resentment at it had been inveterate!"’

‘"Alas!"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"the fact is un­deniable! yet the circumstances you may have heard with it, are I doubt not exag­gerated."’

‘"Exaggerated indeed!"’ he answered; [Page 162] ‘"I was told you had been surprised conceal­ed with Belfield in a back room, I was told that your parental fortune was totally ex­hausted, and that during your minority you had been a dealer with Jews! I was told all this by my father;—you may believe I had else not easily been made hear it!"’

‘"Yet thus far,"’ said she, ‘"he told you but what is true; though—"’

‘"True!"’ interrupted Delvile, with a start almost frantic. ‘"Oh never, then, was truth so scandalously wronged!—I denied the whole charge!—I disbelieved every syl­lable!—I pledged my own honour to prove every assertion false!"’

‘Generous Delvile!"’ cried Cecilia, melt­ing into tears, ‘"this is what I expected from you! and, believe me, in your inte­grity my reliance had been similar!"’

‘"Why does Miss Beverley weep?"’ cried he, softened, and approaching her, ‘"and why has she given me this alarm? these things must at least have been misre­presented, deign, then, to clear up a mys­tery in which suspense is torture!"’

Cecilia, then, with what precision and clearness her agitation allowed her, related the whole history of her taking up the mo­ney of the Jew for Mr. Harrel, and told, without reserve, the reason of her trying to abscond from his father at Mrs. Belfield's. [Page 163] Delvile listened to her account with almost an agony of attention, now admiring her conduct; now resenting her ill usage; now compassionating her losses; but though variously moved by different parts, receiv­ing from the whole the delight he most coveted in the establishment of her in­nocence.

Thanks and applause the warmest, both accompanied and followed her narration; and then, at her request, he related in re­turn the several incidents and circumstan­ces to which he had owed the permission of this visit.

He had meant immediately to have gone abroad; but the indisposition of his mo­ther made him unwilling to leave the king­dom till her health seemed in a situation less precarious. That time, however, came not; the Winter advanced, and she grew evidently worse. He gave over, therefore, his design till the next Spring, when, if she were able, it was her desire to try the South of France for her recovery, whither he meant to conduct her.

But, during his attendance upon her, the plan he had just mentioned occurred to him, and he considered how much greater would be his chance of happiness in mar­rying Cecilia with scarce any fortune at all, than in marrying another with the largest. [Page 164] He was convinced she was far other than expensive, or a lover of shew, and soon flattered himself she might be prevailed upon to concur with him, that in living together, though comparatively upon little, they should mutually be happier than in living asunder upon much.

When he started this scheme to his mo­ther, she heard it with mingled admiration of his disinterestedness, and regret at its occasion: yet the loftiness of her own mind, her high personal value for Cecilia, her anxiety to see her son finally settled while she lived, lest his disappointment should keep him single from a lasting disgust, joined to a dejection of spirits from an appre­hension that her interference had been cruel, all favoured his scheme, and forbid her re­sistance. She had often protested, in their former conflicts, that had Cecilia been por­tionless, her objections had been less than to an estate so conditioned; and that to give to her son a woman so exalted in herself, she would have conquered the mere oppo­sition of interest, though that of family honour she held invincible. Delvile now called upon her to remember those words, and ever strict in fidelity, she still promised to abide by them.

Ah! thought Cecilia, is virtue, then, as inconsistent as vice? and can the same character [Page 165] be thus high-souled, thus nobly disin­terested with regard to riches, whose pride is so narrow and so insurmountable, with respect to family prejudice!

Yet such a sacrifice from Cecilia herself, whose income intitled her to settlements the most splendid, Mrs. Delvile thought scarce­ly to be solicited; but as her son was con­scious he gave up in expectation no less than she would give up in possession, he resolved upon making the experiment, and felt an internal assurance of success.

This matter being finally settled with his mother, the harder task remained of van­quishing the father, by whom, and before whom the name of Cecilia was never men­tioned, not even after his return from town, though loaded with imaginary charges a­gainst her. Mr. Delvile held it a diminu­tion of his own in the honour of his son, to suppose he wanted still fresh motives for resigning her. He kept, therefore, to himself the ill opinion he brought down, as a resource in case of danger, but a re­source he disdained to make use of, unless driven to it by absolute necessity.

But, at the new proposal of his son, the accusation held in reserve broke out; he called Cecilia a dabler with Jews, and said she had been so from the time of her uncle's death; he charged her with the grossest [Page 166] general extravagance, to which he added a most insiduous attack upon her character, drawn from her visits at Belfield's of long standing, as well as the particular time when he had himself surprised her conceal­ed with the young man in a back parlour: and he asserted, that most of the large sums she was continually taking up from her for­tune, were lavished without scruple upon this dangerous and improper favourite.

Delvile had heard this accusation with a rage scarce restrained from violence; con­fident in her innocence, he boldly pronoun­ced the whole a forgery, and demanded the author of such cruel defamation. Mr. Delvile, much offended, refused to name any authority, but consented, with an air of triumph, to abide by the effect of his own proposal, and gave him a super­cilious promise no longer to oppose the marriage, if the terms he meant to offer to Miss Beverley, of renouncing her uncle's estate, and producing her father's fortune, were accepted.

‘"Oh little did I credit,"’ said Delvile in conclusion, ‘"that he knew indeed so well this last condition was impracticable! his assertions were without proof; I thought them prejudiced surmises; and I came in the full hope I should convict him of his error. My mother, too, who warmly and [Page 167] even angrily defended you, was as firm­ly satisfied as myself that the whole was a mistake, and that enquiry would prove your fortune as undiminished as your puri­ty. How will she be shocked at the tale I have now to unfold! how irritated at your injuries from Harrel! how grieved that your own too great benevolence should be productive of such black aspersions upon your character!"’

‘"I have been,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"too facile and too unguarded; yet always, at the mo­ment, I seemed but guided by common humanity. I have ever thought myself secure of more wealth than I could require, and regarded the want of money as an evil from which I was unavoidably exempted. My own fortune, therefore, appeared to me of small consequence, while the reve­nue of my uncle ensured me perpetual prosperity.—Oh had I foreseen this mo­ment!—"’

‘"Would you, then, have listened to my romantic proposal?"’

‘"Would I have listened?—do you not see too plainly I could not have hesi­tated!"’

‘"Oh yet, then, most generous of hu­man beings, yet then be mine! By our own oeconomy we will pay off our mort­gages; by living a while abroad, we will [Page 168] clear all our estates; I will still keep the name to which my family is bigotted, and my gratitude for your compliance shall make you forget what you lose by it!"’

‘"Speak not to me such words!"’ cried Cecilia, hastily rising; ‘"your friends will not listen to them, neither, therefore, must I."’

‘"My friends,"’ cried he with energy, ‘"are henceforth out of the question: my father's concurrence with a proposal he knew you had not power to grant, was in fact a mere permission to insult you; for if, instead of dark charges, he had given any authority for your losses, I had myself spared you the shock you have so undeser­vedly received from hearing it.—But to consent to a plan which could not be accept­ed!—to make me a tool to offer indignity to Miss Beverley!—He has released me from his power by so erroneous an exertion of it, and my own honour has a claim to which his commands must give place. That honour binds me to Miss Beverley as forcibly as my admiration, and no voice but her own shall determine my future destiny."’

‘"That voice, then,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"a­gain refers you to your mother. Mr. Del­vile, indeed, has not treated me kindly; and this last mock concession was unnecessary [Page 169] cruelty; but Mrs. Delvile merits my utmost respect, and I will listen to nothing which has not her previous sanction."’

‘"But will her sanction be sufficient? and may I hope, in obtaining it, the secu­rity of yours?"’

‘"When I have said I will hear nothing without it, may you not almost infer—I will refuse nothing with it!"’

The acknowledgements he would now have poured forth, Cecilia would not hear, telling him, with some gaiety, they were yet unauthorized by Mrs. Delvile. She insist­ed upon his leaving her immediately, and never again returning, without his mother's express approbation. With regard to his father, she left him totally to his own in­clination; she had received from him nothing but pride and incivility, and determined to shew publicly her superior respect for Mrs. Delvile, by whose discretion and decision she was content to abide.

‘"Will you not, then, from time to time,"’ cried Delvile, ‘"suffer me to consult with you?"’

‘"No, no,"’ answered she, ‘"do not ask it! I have never been insincere with you, never but from motives not to be overcome, re­served even for a moment; I have told you I will put every thing into the power of Mrs. Delvile, but I will not a second [Page 170] time risk my peace by any action unknown to her."’

Delvile gratefully acknowledged her goodness, and promised to require nothing more. He then obeyed her by taking leave, eager himself to put an end to this new un­certainty, and supplicating only that her good wishes might follow his enterprise.

And thus, again, was wholly broken the tranquility of Cecilia; new hopes, however faint, awakened all her affections, and strong fears, but too reasonable, interrupted her repose. Her destiny, once more, was as unde­cided as ever, and the expectations she had crushed, retook possession of her heart.

The suspicions she had conceived of Mr. Monckton again occurred to her; though unable to ascertain and unwilling to believe them, she tried to drive them from her thoughts. She lamented, however, with bit­terness, her unfortunate connexion with Mr. Harrel, whose unworthy impositions upon her kindness of temper and generosity, now proved to her an evil far more serious and extensive, than in the midst of her repug­nance to them she had ever apprehended.


DELVILE had been gone but a short time, before Henrietta, her eyes still red, though no longer streaming, open­ed the parlour door, and asked if she might come in?

Cecilia wished to be alone, yet could not refuse her.

‘"Well, madam,"’ cried she, with a forced smile, and constrained air of bra­very, ‘"did not I guess right?"’

‘"In what?"’ said Cecilia, unwilling to understand her.

‘"In what I said would happen?—I am sure you know what I mean."’

Cecilia, extremely embarrassed, made no answer; she much regretted the circumstances which had prevented an earlier communi­cation, and was uncertain whether, now, it would prove most kind or most cruel to acquaint her with what was in agitation, which, should it terminate in nothing, was unnecessarily wounding her delicacy for the openness of her confidence, and which, [Page 172] however serviceable it might prove to her in the end, was in the means so rough and piercing she felt the utmost repugnance to the experiment.

‘"You think me, madam, too free,"’ said Henrietta, ‘"in asking such a question; and indeed your kindness has been so great, it may well make me forget myself: but if it does, I am sure I deserve you should send me home directly, and then there is not much fear I shall soon be brought to my senses!"’

‘"No, my dear Henrietta, I can never think you too free; I have told you al­ready every thing I thought you would have pleasure in hearing; whatever I have concealed, I have been fearful would only pain you."’

‘"I have deserved, madam,"’ said she, with spirit, ‘"to be pained, for I have behaved with the folly of a baby. I am very angry with myself indeed! I was old enough to have known better,—and I ought to have been wise enough."’

‘"You must then be angry with yourself, next,"’ said Cecilia, anxious to re-encourage her, ‘"for all the love that I bear you; since to your openness and frankness it was entirely owing."’

‘"But there are some things that people should not be frank in; however, I am only [Page 173] come now to beg you will tell me, madam, when it is to be;—and don't think I ask out of nothing but curiosity, for I have a very great reason for it indeed."’

‘"What be, my dear Henrietta?—you are very rapid in your ideas!"’

‘"I will tell you, madam, what my rea­son is; I shall go away to my own home,—and so I would if it were ten times a worse home than it is!—just exactly the day before. Because afterwards I shall never like to look that gentleman in the face,—never, never!—for married ladies I know are not to be trusted!"’

‘"Be not apprehensive; you have no oc­casion. Whatever may be my fate, I will never be so treacherous as to betray my be­loved Henrietta to any body."’

‘"May I ask you, madam, one question?"’


‘"Why did all this never happen be­fore?"’

‘"Indeed,"’ cried Cecilia, much distress­ed, ‘"I know not that it will happen now."’

‘"Why what, dear madam, can hinder it?"’

‘"A thousand, thousand things! nothing can be less secure."’

‘"And then I am still as much puzzled as ever. I heard, a good while ago, and we all heard that it was to be; and I thought [Page 174] that it was no wonder, I am sure, for I used often to think it was just what was most likely; but afterwards we heard it was no such thing, and from that moment I always believed there had been nothing at all in it."’

‘"I must speak to you, I find, with sin­cerity; my affairs have long been in strange perplexity: I have not known myself what to expect; one day has perpetually revers­ed the prospect of another, and my mind has been in a state of uncertainty and disor­der, that has kept it—that still keeps it from comfort and from rest!"’

‘"This surprises me indeed, madam! I thought you were all happiness! but I was sure you deserved it, and I thought you had it for that reward. And this has been the thing that has made me behave so wrong; for I took it into my head I might tell you every thing, because I concluded it could be nothing to you; for if great people loved one another, I always supposed they married directly; poor people, indeed, must stay till they are able to settle; but what in the whole world, thought I, if they like one another, should hinder such a rich lady as Miss Beverley from marrying such a rich gentleman at once?"’

Cecilia now, finding there was no longer any chance for concealment, thought it bet­ter to give the poor Henrietta at least the [Page 175] gratification of unreserved confidence, which might somewhat sooth her uneasiness by proving her reliance in her faith. She frankly, therefore, confessed to her the whole of her situation. Henrietta wept at the recital with bitterness, thought Mr. Delvile a monster, and Mrs. Delvile herself scarce human; pitied Cecilia with unaffect­ed tenderness, and wondered that the person could exist who had the heart to give grief to young Delvile! She thanked her most gratefully for reposing such trust in her; and Cecilia made use of this opportunity, to enforce the necessity of her struggling more seriously to recover her indifferency.

She promised she would not fail; and for­bore steadily from that time to name Del­vile any more: but the depression of her spirits shewed she had suffered a disap­pointment such as astonished even Cecilia. Thought modest and humble, she had con­ceived hopes the most romantic, and though she denied, even to herself, any expectations from Delvile, she involuntarily nourished them with the most sanguine simplicity. To compose and to strengthen her became the whole business of Cecilia; who, during her present suspense, could find no other em­ployment in which she could take any in­terest.

[Page 176] Mr. Monckton, to whom nothing was unknown that related to Cecilia, was soon informed of Delvile's visit, and hastened in the utmost alarm, to learn its event. She had now lost all the pleasure she had for­merly derived from confiding in him, but though averse and confused, could not withstand his enquiries.

Unlike the tender Henrietta's was his disappointment at this relation, and his rage at such repeated trials was almost more than he could curb. He spared neither the Del­viles for their insolence of mutability in re­jecting or seeking her at their pleasure, nor herself for her easiness of submission in be­ing thus the dupe of their caprices. The subject was difficult for Cecilia to dilate up [...] she wished to clear, as he deserved, Delvile himself from any share in the cen­sure, and she felt hurt and offended at the charge of her own improper readiness; yet shame and pride united in preventing much vindication of either, and she heard almost in silence what with pain she bore to hear at all.

He now saw, with inexpressible disturb­ance, that whatever was his power to make her uneasy, he had none to make her re­tract, and that the conditional promise she had given Delvile to be wholly governed by [Page 177] his mother, she was firm in regarding to be as sacred as one made at the altar.

Perceiving this, he dared trust his tem­per with no further debate; he assumed a momentary calmness for the purpose of taking leave of her, and with pretended good wishes for her happiness, whatever might be her determination, he stifled the reproaches with which his whole heart was swelling, and precipitately left her.

Cecilia, affected by his earnestness, yet perplexed in all her opinions, was glad to be relieved from useless exhortations, and not sorry, in her present uncertainty, that his visit was not repeated.

She neither saw nor heard from Delvile for a week, and augured nothing but evil from such delay. The following letter then came by the post.


I MUST write without comments, for I dare not trust myself with making any; I must write without any beginning address, for I know not how you will permit me to address you.

I have lived a life of tumult since last compelled to leave you, and when it may subside, I am still in utter ignorance.

[Page 178] The affecting account of the losses you have suffered thro' your beneficence to the Harrels, and the explanatory one of the ca­lumnies you have sustained from your kind­ness to the Belfields, I related with the plainness which alone I thought necessary to make them felt. I then told the high ho­nour I had received, in meeting with no other repulse to my proposal, than was ow­ing to an inability to accede to it; and in­formed my mother of the condescending powers with which you had invested her. In conclusion I mentioned my new scheme, and firmly, before I would listen to any opposition, I declared that though wholly to their decision I left the relinquishing my own name or your fortune, I was not only by your generosity more internally yours than ever, but that since again I had ven­tured, and with permission to apply to you, I should hold myself hence forward unal­terably engaged to you.

And so I do, and so I shall! nor, after a renewal so public, will any prohibition but yours have force to keep me from throw­ing myself at your feet.

My father's answer I will not mention; I would I could forget it! his prejudices are irremediable, his resolutions are inflex­ible. Who or what has worked him into him into an animosity so irreclaimable, I cannot conjecture, [Page 179] nor will he tell; but something darkly mysterious has part in his wrath and his injustice.

My mother was much affected by your reference to herself. Words of the sweet­est praise broke repeatedly from her; no other such woman, she said, existed; no other such instance could be found of fide­lity so exalted! her son must have no heart but for low and mercenary selfishness, if, after a proof of regard so unexampled, he could bear to live without her! Oh how did such a sentence from lips so highly re­verenced, animate, delight, confirm, and oblige me at once!

The displeasure of my father at this de­claration was dreadful; his charges, always as improbable as injurious, now became too horrible for my ears; he disbelieved you had taken up the money for Harrel, he dis­credited that you visited the Belfields for Henrietta: passion not merely banished his justice, but clouded his reason, and I soon left the room, that at least I might not hear the aspersions he forbid me to answer.

I left not, however, your fame to a weak champion: my mother defended it with all the spirit of truth, and all the confidence of similar virtue! yet they parted without con­viction, and so mutually irritated with each other, that they agreed to meet no more.

[Page 180] This was too terrible! and I instantly consolidated my resentment to my father, and my gratitude to my mother, into con­cessions and supplications to both; I could not, however, succeed; my mother was deeply offended, my father was sternly inex­orable: nor here rests the evil of their dis­sention, for the violence of the conflict has occasioned a return more alarming than ever of the illness of my mother.

All her faith in her recovery is now built upon going abroad; she is earnest to set off immediately; but Dr. Lyster has advised her to make London in her way, and have a consultation of physicians before she de­parts.

To this she has agreed; and we are now upon the road thither.

Such is, at present, the melancholy state of my affairs. My mother advised me to write; forgive me, therefore, that I waited [...] something more decisive to say. I could prevail upon neither party to meet before the journey; nor could I draw from my father the base fabricator of the calum­nies by which he has been thus abused.

Unhappily, I have nothing more to add: and whether intelligence, such as this, or total suspense, would be least irksome, I know not. If my mother bears her journey tolerably well, I have yet one more effort [Page 181] to make; and of that the success or the failure will be instantly communicated to Miss Beverley, by her eternally devoted, but half distracted


Scarcely could Cecilia herself decide whether this comfortless letter or none at all were preferable. The implacability of Mr. Delvile was shocking, but his slander­ing her character was still more intolerable; yet the praises of the mother, and her gene­rous vindication, joined to the invariable reliance of Delvile upon her innocence, conferred upon her an honour that offered some alleviation.

The mention of a fabricator again brought Mr. Monckton to her mind, and not all her unwillingness to think him capable of such treachery, could now root out her sus­picions. Delvile's temper, however, she knew was too impetuous to be trusted with this conjecture, and her fear of committing injustice being thus seconded by prudence, she determined to keep to herself doubts that could not without danger be divulged.

She communicated briefly to Henrietta, who looked her earnest curiosity, the con­tinuance of her suspense; and to her own fate Henrietta became somewhat more re­conciled, when she saw that no station in life rendered happiness certain or permanent.


ANOTHER week past still without any further intelligence. Cecilia was then summoned to the parlour, and to Del­vile himself.

He looked hurried and anxious; yet the glow of his face, and the animation of his eyes, immediately declared he at least came not to take leave of her.

‘"Can you forgive,"’ cried he, ‘"the dis­mal and unsatisfactory letter I wrote you? I would not disobey you twice in the same manner, and I could not till now have written in any other."’

‘"The consultation with the physicians, then,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"is over?"’

‘"Alas, yes; and the result is most alarming; they all agree my mother is in a dangerous way, and they rather forbear to oppose, than advise her going abroad: but upon that she is earnestly bent, and in­tends to set out without delay. I shall re­turn to her, therefore, with all speed, and mean not to take any rest till I have seen her."’

[Page 183] Cecilia expressed with tenderness her sor­row for Mrs. Delvile: nor were her looks illiberal in including her son in her con­cern.

‘"I must hasten,"’ he cried, ‘"to the cre­dentials by which I am authorised for com­ing, and I must hasten to prove if Miss Beverley has not flattered my mother in her appeal."’

He then informed her that Mrs. Delvile, apprehensive for herself, and softened for him by the confession of her danger, which she had extorted from her physicians, had tenderly resolved upon making one final effort for his happiness, and ill and impa­tient as she was, upon deferring her journey to wait its effect.

Generously, therefore, giving up her own resentment, she wrote to Mr. Delvile in terms of peace and kindness, lamenting their late dissention, and ardently expres­sing her desire to be reconciled to him be­fore she left England. She told him the uncertainty of her recovery which had been acknowledged by her physicians, who had declared a calmer mind was more essential to her than a purer air. She then added, that such serenity was only to be given her, by the removal of her anxiety at the comfortless state of her son. She begged him, therefore, to make known the author [Page 184] of Miss Beverley's defamation, assuring him, that upon enquiry, he would find her cha­racter and her fame as unsullied as his own; and strongly representing, that after the sa­crifice to which she had consented, their son would be utterly dishonourable in thinking of any other connexion. She then to this reasoning joined the most earnest supplication, protesting, in her present dis­ordered state of health, her life might pay the forfeiture of her continual uneasiness.

‘"I held out,"’ she concluded, ‘"while his personal dignity, and the honour of his name and family were endangered; but where interest alone is concerned, and that interest is combatted by the peace of his mind, and the delicacy of his word, my opposition is at an end. And though our exttensive and well founded views for a splendid alliance are abolished, you will agree with me hereafter, upon a closer in­spection, that the object for whom he re­linquishes them, offers in herself the noblest reparation."’

Cecilia felt gratified, humbled, animated and depressed at once by this letter, of which Delvile brought her a copy. ‘"And what,"’ cried she, ‘"was the answer?"’

‘"I cannot in decency,"’ he replied, ‘"speak my opinion of it: read it yourself,—and let me hear yours."’

To the Honourable Mrs. DELVILE.

YOUR extraordinary letter, madam, has extremely surprised me. I had been wil­ling to hope the affair over from the time my disapprobation of it was formally an­nounced. I am sorry you are so much in­disposed, but I cannot conclude your health would be restored by my acceding to a plan so derogatory to my house. I disap­prove it upon every account, not only of the name and the fortune, but the lady her­self. I have reasons more important than those I assign, but they are such as I am bound in honour not to mention. After such a declaration, nobody, I presume, will affront me by asking them. Her defence you have only from herself, her accusation I have received from authority less partial. I command, therefore, that my son, upon pain of my eternal displeasure, may never speak to me on the subject again, and I hope, madam, from you the same complai­sance to my request. I cannot explain my­self further, nor is it necessary; it is no news, I flatter myself, to Mortimer Delvile or his mother, that I do nothing without reason, and I believe nothing upon slight grounds.

[Page 186] A few cold compliments concerning her journey, and the re-establishment of her health, concluded the letter.

Cecilia, having read, hastily returned it, and indignantly said, ‘"My opinion, Sir, upon this letter, must surely be yours; that we had done wiser, long since, to have spared your mother and ourselves, those vain and fruitless conflicts which we ought better to have foreseen were liable to such a conclusion. Now, at least, let them be ended, and let us not pursue disgrace wil­fully, after suffering from it with so much rigour involuntarily."’

‘"O no,"’ cried Delvile, ‘"rather let us now spurn it for ever! those conflicts must indeed be ended, but not by a separation still more bitter than all of them."’

He then told her, that his mother, highly offended to observe by the extreme coldness of this letter, the rancour he still nourish­ed for the contest preceding her leaving him, no longer now refused even her sepa­rate consent, for a measure which she thought her son absolutely engaged to take.

‘"Good heaven!"’ cried Cecilia, much amazed, ‘"this from Mrs. Delvile!—a se­parate consent!—"’

‘"She has always maintained,"’ he an­swered, ‘"an independent mind, always judged for herself, and refused all other [Page 187] arbitration: when so impetuously she part­ed us, my father's will happened to be her's, and thence their concurrence: my father, of a temper immoveable and stern, retains stubbornly the prejudices which once have taken possession of him; my mother, gene­rous as fiery, and noble as proud, is open to conviction, and no sooner convinced, than ingenuous in acknowledging it: and thence their dissention. From my father I may hope forgiveness, but must never expect concession; from my mother I may hope all she ought to grant, for pardon but her vehemence,—and she has every great qua­lity that can dignify human nature!"’

Cecilia, whose affection and reverence for Mrs. Delvile were unfeigned, and who loved in her son this filial enthusiasm, readily con­curred with him in praising her, and sin­cerely esteemed her the first among women.

‘"Now, then,"’ cried he, with earnest­ness," ‘now is the time when your generous admiration of her is put to the test; see what she writes to you;—she has left to me all explanation: but I insisted upon some credential, lest you should believe I only owed her concurrence to a happy dream."’

Cecilia in much trepidation took the let­ter, and hastily run it over.


MISERY, my sweet young friend, has long been busy with us all; much have we owed to the clash of different interests, much to that rapacity which to enjoy any thing, demands every thing, and much to that general perverseness which labours to place happiness in what is with-held. Thus do we struggle on till we can struggle no longer; the felicity with which we trifle, at best is but temporary; and before reason and reflection shew its value, sickness and sorrow are commonly become stationary.

Be it yours, my love, and my son's, to profit by the experience, while you pity the errors, of the many who illustrate this truth. Your mutual partiality has been mutually unfortunate, and must always continue so for the interests of both: but how blind is it to wait, in our own peculiar lots, for that perfection of enjoyment we can all see wanting in the lot of others! My expectations for my son had ‘"out­steped the modesty of"’ probability. I looked for rank and high birth, with the fortune of Cecilia, and Cecilia's rare cha­racter. Alas! a new constellation in the [Page 189] heavens might as rationally have been look­ed for!

My extravagance, however, has been all for his felicity, dearer to me than life,—dearer to me than all things but his own ho­nour! Let us but save that, and then let wealth, ambition, interest, grandeur and pride, since they cannot constitute his hap­piness, be removed from destroying it. I will no longer play the tyrant that, weigh­ing good and evil by my own feelings and opinions, insists upon his acting by the no­tions I have formed, whatever misery they may bring him by opposing all his own.

I leave the kingdom with little reason to expect I shall return to it; I leave it—Oh blindness of vanity and passion!—from the effect of that violence with which so lately I opposed what now I am content to advance! But the extraordinary resignation to which you have agreed, shews your heart so wholly my son's, and so even more than worthy the whole possession of his, that it reflects upon him an honour more bright and more alluring, than any the most illus­trious other alliance could now confer.

I would fain see you ere I go, lest I should see you no more; fain ratify by word of mouth the consent that by word of mouth I so absolutely refused! I know not how to come to Suffolk,—is it not possible you can [Page 190] come to London? I am told you leave to me the arbitration of your fate,—in giving you to my son, I best shew my sense of such an honour.

Hasten then, my love, to town, that I may see you once more! wait no longer a concurrence thus unjustly with-held, but hasten, that I may bless the daughter I have so often wished to own! that I may en­treat her forgiveness for all the pain I have occasioned her, and committing to her charge the future happiness of my son, fold to my maternal heart the two objects most dear to it!


Cecilia wept over this letter with tender­ness, grief and alarm; but declared, had it even summoned her to follow her abroad, she could not, after reading it, have hesitat­ed in complying.

‘"O now, then,"’ cried Delvile, ‘"let our long suspenses end! hear me with the can­dour; my mother has already listened to me—be mine, my Cecilia, at once,—and force me not, by eternal scruples, to risk another separation."’

‘"Good heaven, Sir!"’ cried Cecilia, starting, ‘"in such a state as Mrs. Delvile thinks herself, would you have her journey delayed?"’

[Page 191] ‘"No, not a moment! I would but en­sure you mine, and go with her all over the world!"’

‘"Wild and impossible!—and what is to be done with Mr. Delvile?"’

‘"It is on his account wholly I am thus earnestly precipitate. If I do not by an immediate marriage prevent his further in­terference, all I have already suffered may again be repeated, and some fresh contest with my mother may occasion another re­lapse."’

Cecilia, who now understood him, ar­dently protested she would not listen for a moment to any clandestine expedient.

He besought her to be patient; and then anxiously represented to her their peculiar situations. All application to his father he was peremptorily forbid making, all efforts to remove his prejudices their impenetrable mystery prevented; a public marriage, therefore, with such obstacles, would almost irritate him to phrenzy, by its daring defi­ance of his prohibition and authority.

‘"Alas!"’ exclaimed Cecilia, ‘"we can never do right but in parting!"’

‘"Say it not,"’ cried he, ‘"I conjure you! we shall yet live, I hope, to prove the con­trary."’

‘"And can you, then,"’ cried she, re­proachfully, ‘"Oh Mr. Delvile! can you [Page 192] again urge me to enter your family in se­cret?"’

‘"I grieve, indeed,"’ he answered, ‘"that your goodness should so severely be tried; yet did you not condescend to commit the arbitration to my mother?"’

‘"True; and I thought her approbation would secure my peace of mind; but how could I have expected Mrs. Delvile's con­sent to such a scheme!"’

‘"She has merely accorded it from a cer­tainty there is no other resource. Believe me, therefore, my whole hope rests upon your present compliance. My father, I am certain, by his letter, will now hear neither petition nor defence; on the contrary, he will only enrage at the temerity of offering to confute him. But when he knows you are his daughter, his honour will then be concerned in yours, and it will be as much his desire to have it cleared, as it is now to have it censured."’

‘"Wait at least your return, and let us try what can be done with him."’

‘"Oh why,"’ cried Delvile, with much earnestness, ‘"must I linger out month after month in this wretched uncertainty!" If I wait I am undone! my father, by the orders I must unavoidably leave, will discover the preparations making without his consent, and he will work upon you in my absence, and compel you to give me up!"’

[Page 193] ‘"Are you sure,"’ said she, half smiling, ‘"he would have so much power?"’

‘"I am but too sure, that the least inti­mation, in his present irritable state of mind, reaching him of my intentions, would make him not scruple, in his fury, pronouncing some malediction upon my disobedience that neither of us, I must own, could tran­quilly disregard."’

This was an argument that came home to Cecilia, whose deliberation upon it, though silent, was evidently not unfavourable.

He then told her that with respect to set­tlements, he would instantly have a bond drawn up, similar to that prepared for their former intended union, which should be properly signed and sealed, and by which he would engage himself to make, upon coming to his estate, the same settlement upon her that was made upon his mother.

‘"And as, instead of keeping up three houses,"’ he continued, ‘"in the manner my father does at present, I mean to put my whole estate out to nurse, while we reside for a while abroad, or in the country, I doubt not but in a very few years we shall be as rich and as easy as we shall desire."’

He told her, also, of his well-founded expectations from the Relations already mentioned; which the concurrence of his [Page 194] mother with his marriage would thence for­ward secure to him.

He then, with more coherence, stated his plan at large. He purposed, without losing a moment, to return to London; he con­jured her, in the name of his mother, to set out herself early the next day, that the following evening might be dedicated whol­ly to Mrs. Delvile: through her interces­sion he might then hope Cecilia's compli­ance, and every thing on the morning after should be prepared for their union. The long-desired ceremony over, he would in­stantly ride post to his father, and pay him, at least, the respect of being the first to com­municate it. He would then attend his mother to the Continent, and leave the ar­rangement of every thing to his return. ‘"Still, therefore, as a single man,"’ he continued, ‘"I mean to make the journey, and I shall take care, by the time I return, to have all things in readiness for claiming my sweet Bride. Tell me, then, now, if you can reasonably oppose this plan?"’

‘"Indeed,"’ said Cecilia, after some hesi­tation, ‘"I cannot see the necessity of such violent precipitancy."’

‘"Do you not try me too much,"’ cried Delvile, impatiently, ‘"to talk now of pre­cipitancy! after such painful waiting, such [Page 195] wearisome expectation! I ask you not to involve your own affairs in confusion by accompanying me abroad; sweet to me as would be such an indulgence, I would not make a run-away of you in the opinion of the world. All I wish is the secret certainty I cannot be robbed of you, that no cruel machinations may again work our separa­tion, that you are mine, unalterably mine, beyond the power of caprice or ill fortune."’

Cecilia made no answer; tortured with irresolution, she knew not upon what to de­termine.

‘"We might then, according to the favour or displeasure of my father, settle wholly abroad for the present, or occasionally visit him in England; my mother would be al­ways and openly our friend.—Oh be firm, then, I conjure you, to the promise you have given her, and deign to be mine on the conditions she prescribes. She will be bound to you for ever by so generous a concession, and even her health may be restored by the cessation of her anxieties. With such a wife, such a mother, what will be wanting for me! Could I lament not being richer, I must be rapacious indeed!—Speak, then, my Cecilia! relieve me from the agony of this eternal uncertainty, and tell me your word is invariable as your honour, and tell me my mother gives not her sanction in vain!"’

[Page 196] Cecilia sighed deeply, but, after some he­sitation, said, ‘"I little knew what I pro­mised, nor know I now what to perform!—there must ever, I find, be some check to human happiness! yet, since upon these terms, Mrs. Delvile herself is content to wish me of her family—"’

She stopt; but, urged earnestly by Del­vile, added ‘"I must not, I think, with­draw the powers with which I entrusted her."’

Delvile, grateful and enchanted, now forgot his haste and his business, and lost every wish but to re-animate her spirits: she compelled him, however, to leave her, that his visit might less be wondered at, and sent by him a message to Mrs. Delvile, that, wholly relying upon her wisdom, she impli­citly submitted to her decree.


CECILIA now had no time for after­thoughts or anxious repentance, since notwithstanding the hurry of her spirits, and the confusion of her mind, she had too much real business, to yield to pensive indulgence.

Averse to all falsehood, she invented none upon this occasion; she merely told her guests she was summoned to London upon an affair of importance; and though she saw their curiosity, not being at liberty to satis­fy it with the truth, she attempted not to appease it by fiction, but quietly left it to its common fare, conjecture. She would gladly have made Henrietta the companion of her journey, but Henrietta was the last to whom that journey could give pleasure. She only, therefore, took her maid in the chaise, and, attended by one servant on horseback, at six o'clock the next morning, she quitted her mansion, to enter into an engagement by which soon she was to re­sign it for ever.

[Page 198] Disinterested as she was, she considered her situation as peculiarly perverse, that from the time of her coming to a fortune which most others regarded as enviable, she had been a stranger to peace, a fruitless seeker of happiness, a dupe to the fraudu­lent, and a prey to the needy! the little comfort she had received, had been merely from dispensing it, and now only had she any chance of being happy herself, when upon the point of relinquishing what all others built their happiness upon ob­taining!

These reflections only gave way to others still more disagreeable; she was now a se­cond time engaged in a transaction she could not approve, and suffering the whole peace of her future life to hang upon an action dark, private and imprudent: an action by which the liberal kindness of her late uncle would be annulled, by which the father of her intended husband would be disobeyed, and which already, in a similar instance, had brought her to affliction and disgrace. These melancholy thoughts haunted her during the whole journey, and though the assurance of Mrs. Delvile's ap­probation was some relief to her uneasiness, she involuntarily prepared herself for meet­ing new mortifications, and was tormented [Page 199] with an apprehension that this second at­tempt made her merit them.

She drove immediately, by the previous direction of Delvile, to a lodging-house in Albemarle-Street, which he had taken care to have prepared for her reception. She then sent for a chair, and went to Mrs. Delvile's. Her being seen by the servants of that house was not very important, as their master was soon to be acquainted with the real motive of her journey.

She was shewn into a parlour, while Mrs. Delvile was informed of her arrival, and there flown to by Delvile with the most grateful eagerness. Yet she saw in his countenance that all was not well, and heard upon enquiry that his mother was con­siderably worse.

Extremely shocked by this intelligence, she already began to lament her unfortu­nate enterprise. Delvile struggled, by ex­erting his own spirits, to restore her's, but forced gaiety is never exhilarating; and, full of care and anxiety, he was ill able to appear sprightly and easy.

They were soon summoned up stairs into the apartment of Mrs. Delvile, who was lying upon a couch, pale, weak, and much altered. Delvile led the way, saying, ‘"Here, madam, comes one whose sight will bring peace and pleasure to you!"’

[Page 200] ‘"This, indeed,"’ cried Mrs. Delvile, half rising and embracing her, ‘"is the form in which they are most welcome to me! virtuous, noble Cecilia! what honour you do my son! with what joy, should I ever recover, shall I assist him in paying the gratitude he owes you!"’

Cecilia, grieved at her situation, and af­fected by her kindness, could only answer with her tears; which, however, were not shed alone; for Devile's eyes were full, as he passionately exclaimed, ‘"This, this is the sight my heart has thus long desired! the wife of my choice taken to the bosom of the parent I revere! be yet but well, my beloved mother, and I will be thankful for every calamity that has led to so sweet a conclusion!"’

‘"Content yourself, however, my son, with one of us,"’ cried Mrs. Delvile, smiling; ‘"and content yourself, if you can, though your hard lot should make that one this crea­ture of full bloom, health, and youth! Ah, my love,"’ added she, more seriously, and ad­dressing the still weeping Cecilia, ‘"should now Mortimer, in losing me, lose those cares by which alone, for some months past, my life has been rendered tolerable, how peaceably shall I resign him to one so able to recompense his filial patience and services!"’

[Page 201] This was not a speech to stop the tears of Cecilia, though such warmth of appro­bation quieted her conscientious scruples. Delvile now earnestly interfered; he told her that his mother had been ordered not to talk or exert herself, and entreated her to be composed, and his mother to be silent.

‘"Be it your business, then,"’ said Mrs. Delvile, more gaily, ‘"to find us enter­tainment. We will promise to be very still if you will take that trouble upon yourself."’

‘"I will not,"’ answered he, ‘"be rallied from my purpose; if I cannot entertain, it will be something to weary you, for that may incline you to take rest, which will be answering a better purpose."’

‘"Mortimer,"’ returned she, ‘"is this the ingenuity of duty or of love? and which are you just now thinking of, my health, or a conversation uninterrupted with Miss Beverley?"’

‘"Perhaps a little of both!"’ said he, chearfully, though colouring.

‘"But you rather meant it should pass,"’ said Mrs. Delvile, ‘"you were thinking only of me? I have always observed, that where one scheme answers two purposes, the ostensive is never the purpose most at heart."’

‘"Why it is but common prudence,"’ answered Delvile, ‘"to feel our way a little [Page 202] before we mention what we most wish, and so cast the hazard of the refusal upon some­thing rather less important."’

‘"Admirably settled!"’ cried Mrs. Del­vile: ‘"so my rest is but to prove Miss Beverley's disturbance!—Well, it is only anticipating our future way of life, when her disturbance, in taking the management of you to herself, will of course prove my rest."’

She then quietly reposed herself, and Delvile discoursed with Cecilia upon their future plans, hopes and actions.

He meant to set off from the church­door to Delvile Castle, to acquaint his fa­ther with his marriage, and then to return instantly to London: there he entreated Cecilia to stay with his mother, that, find­ing them both together, he might not ex­haust her patience, by making his parting visit occasion another journey to Suffolk.

But here Cecilia resolutely opposed him; saying, her only chance to escape discovery, was going instantly to her own house; and representing so earnestly her desire that their marriage should be unknown till his return to England, upon a thousand motives of delicacy, propriety, and fearfulness, that the obligation he owed already to a com­pliance which he saw grew more and more re­luctant, restrained him both in gratitude and [Page 203] pity from persecuting her further. Neither would she consent to seeing him in Suffolk; which could but delay his mother's journey, and expose her to unnecessary suspicions; she promised, however, to write to him often, and as, from his mother's weakness, he must travel very slowly, she took a plan of his route, and engaged that he should find a letter from her at every great town.

The bond which he had already had al­tered, he insisted upon leaving in her own custody, averse to applying to Mr. Monck­ton, whose behaviour to him had before given him disgust, and in whom Cecilia herself no longer wished to confide. He had again applied to the same lawyer, Mr. Singleton, to give her away; for though to his secrecy he had no tie, he had still less to any entire stranger. Mrs. Delvile was too ill to attend them to church, nor would Delvile have desired from her such absolute defiance of his father.

Cecilia now gave another sigh to her de­parted friend Mrs. Charlton, whose pre­sence upon this awful occasion would else again have soothed and supported her. She had no female friend in whom she could rely; but feeling a repugnance in­vincible to being accompanied only by men, she accepted the attendance of Mrs. Delvile's own woman, who had lived many [Page 204] years in the family, and was high in the favour and confidence of her lady.

The arrangement of these and other ar­ticles, with occasional interruptions from Mrs. Delvile, fully employed the evening. Delvile would not trust again to meeting her at the church; but begged her to send out her servants between seven and eight o'clock in the morning, at which time he would himself call for her with a chair.

She went away early, that Mrs. Delvile might go to rest, and it was mutually agreed they should risk no meeting the next day. Delvile conjured them to part with firmness and chearfulness, and Cecilia, fearing her own emotion, would have re­tired without bidding her adieu. But Mrs. Delvile, calling after her, said, ‘"Take with you my blessing!"’ and tenderly em­bracing her, added, ‘"My son, as my chief nurse, claims a prescriptive right to govern me, but I will break from his control to tell my sweet Cecilia what ease and what delight she has already given to my mind! my best hope of recovery is founded on the pleasure I anticipate in witnessing your mutual happiness: but should my illness prove fatal, and that felicity be denied me, my greatest earthly care is already removed by the security I feel of Mortimer's future peace. Take with you, then, my blessing, [Page 205] for you are become one to me! long daughter of my affection, now wife of my darling son! love her, Mortimer, as she merits, and cherish her with tenderest gra­titude!—banish, sweetest Cecilia, every ap­prehension that oppresses you, and receive in Mortimer Delvile a husband that will re­vere your virtues, and dignify your choice!"’

She then embraced her again, and seeing that her heart was too full for speech, suf­fered her to go without making any answer. Delvile attended her to her chair, scarce less moved than herself, and found only opportunity to entreat her punctuality the next morning.

She had, indeed, no inclination to fail in her appointment, or risk the repetition of scenes so affecting, or situations so alarm­ing. Mrs. Delvile's full approbation some­what restored to her her own, but nothing could remove the fearful anxiety, which still privately tormented her with expecta­tions of another disappointment.

The next morning she arose with the light, and calling all her courage to her aid, determined to consider this day as de­cisive of her destiny with regard to Delvile, and, rejoicing that at least all suspense would be over, to support herself with fortitude, be that destiny what it might.

At the appointed time she sent her maid [Page 206] to visit Mrs. Hill, and gave some errands to her man that carried him to a distant part of the town: but she charged them both to return to the lodgings by nine o'clock, at which hour she ordered a chaise for returning into the country.

Delvile, who was impatiently watching for their quitting the house, only waited till they were out of sight, to present himself at the door. He was shewn into a parlour, where she instantly attended him; and being told that the clergyman, Mr. Single­ton, and Mrs. Delvile's woman, were al­ready in the church, she gave him her hand in silence, and he led her to the chair.

The calmness of stifled hope had now taken place in Cecilia of quick sensations and alarm. Occupied with a firm belief she should never be the wife of Delvile, she only waited, with a desperate sort of patience, to see when and by whom she was next to be parted from him.

When they arrived near the church, Del­vile stopt the chair. He handed Cecilia out of it, and discharging the chairmen, conducted her into the church. He was surprised himself at her composure, but earnestly wishing it to last, took care not to say to her a word that should make any answer from her necessary.

He gave her, as before, to Mr. Singleton, [Page 207] secretly praying that not, as before, she might be given him in vain: Mrs. Delvile's woman attended her; the clergy­man was ready, and they all proceeded to the altar.

The ceremony was begun; Cecilia, ra­ther mechanically than with consciousness, appearing to listen to it: but at the words, If any man can shew any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, Delvile himself shook with terror, lest some con­cealed person should again answer it, and Cecilia, with a sort of steady dismay in her countenance, cast her eyes round the church, with no other view than that of seeing from what corner the prohibiter would start.

She looked, however, to no purpose; no prohibiter appeared, the ceremony was performed without any interruption, and she received the thanks of Delvile, and the congratulations of the little set, before the idea which had so strongly pre-occupied her imagination, was sufficiently removed from it to satisfy her she was really married.

They then went to the vestry, where their business was not long; and Delvile again put Cecilia into a chair, which again he accompanied on foot.

Her sensibility now soon returned, though still attended with strangeness and a sensation [Page 208] of incredulity. But the sight of Del­vile at her lodgings, contrary to their agreement, wholly recovered her senses from the stupor which had dulled them. He came, however, but to acknowledge how highly she had obliged him, to see her himself restored to the animation natural to her character, and to give her a million of charges, resulting from anxiety and ten­derness. And then, fearing the return of her servants, he quitted her, and set out for Delvile Castle.

The amazement of Cecilia was still un­conquerable; to be actually united with Delvile! to be his with the full consent of his mother,—to have him her's, beyond the power of his father,—she could not reconcile it with possibility; she fancied it a dream,—but a dream from which she wished not to awake.



CECILIA's journey back to the coun­try was as safe and free from interrup­tion as her journey had been to town, and all that distinguished them was what passed in her own mind: the doubts, apprehen­sions, and desponding suspense which had accompanied her setting out, were now all removed, and certainty, ease, the expectation of happiness, and the cessation of all per­plexity, had taken their place. She had nothing left to dread but the inflexibi­lity of Mr. Delvile, and hardly any thing even to hope but the recovery of his lady.

Her friends at her return expressed their wonder at her expedition, but their wonder at what occasioned it, though still greater, met no satisfaction. Henrietta rejoiced in her sight, though her absence had been so [Page 210] short; and Cecilia, whose affection with her pity increased, intimated to her the event for which she wished her to prepare her­self, and frankly acknowledged she had reason to expect it would soon take place.

Henrietta endeavoured with composure to receive this intelligence, and to return such a mark of confidence with chearful congratulations: but her fortitude was un­equal to an effort so heroic, and her cha­racter was too simple to assume a greatness she felt not: she sighed and changed co­lour; and hastily quitted the room that she might sob aloud in another.

Warm-hearted, tender, and susceptible, her affections were all undisguised: struck with the elegance of Delvile, and enchanted by his services to her brother, she had lost to him her heart at first without missing it, and, when missed, without seeking to re­claim it. The hopelessness of such a pas­sion she never considered, nor asked herself its end, or scarce suspected its aim; it was pleasant to her at the time, and she looked not to the future, but fed it with visionary schemes, and soothed it with voluntary fancies. Now she knew all was over, she felt the folly she had committed, but though sensibly and candidly angry at her own er­ror, its conviction offered nothing but sorrow to succeed it.

[Page 211] The felicity of Cecilia, whom she loved, admired and revered, she wished with the genuine ardour of zealous sincerity; but that Delvile, the very cause and sole subject of her own personal unhappiness, should himself constitute that felicity, was too much for her spirits, and seemed to her mortified mind too cruel in her destiny.

Cecilia, who in the very vehemence of her sorrow saw its innocence, was too just and too noble to be offended by it, or im­pute to the bad passions of envy or jealousy, the artless regret of an untutored mind. To be penetrated too deeply with the merit of Delvile, with her wanted no excuse, and she grieved for her situation with but little mixture of blame, and none of surprise. She redoubled her kindness and caresses with the hope of consoling her, but ventured to trust her no further, till reflection, and her natu­ral good sense, should better enable her to bear an explanation.

Nor was this friendly exertion any longer a hardship to her; the sudden removal, in her own feelings and affairs, of distress and expectation, had now so much lightened her heart, that she could spare without repin­ing, some portion of its spirit to her dejec­ted young friend.

But an incident happened two mornings after which called back, and most unpleasantly, [Page 212] her attention to herself. She was told that Mrs. Matt, the poor woman she had settled in Bury, begged an audience, and upon sending for her up stairs, and desiring to know what she could do for her, ‘"Nothing, madam, just now,"’ she answered, ‘"for I don't come upon my own business, but to tell some news to you, ma­dam. You bid me never take notice of the wedding, that was to be, and I'm sure I never opened my mouth about it from that time to this; but I have found out who it was put a stop to it, and so I come to tell you."’

Cecilia, extremely amazed, eagerly de­sired her to go on.

‘"Why, madam, I don't know the gen­tlewoman's name quite right yet, but I can tell you where she lives, for I knew her as soon as I set eyes on her, when I see her at church last Sunday, and I would have fol­lowed her home, but she went into a coach, and I could not walk fast enough; but I asked one of the footmen where she lived, and he said at the great house at the Grove: and perhaps, madam, you may know where that is: and then he told me her name, but that I can't just now think of."’

‘"Good heaven!"’ cried Cecilia,—‘"it could not be Bennet?"’

‘"Yes, ma'am, that's the very name; I know it again now I hear it."’

[Page 213] Cecilia then hastily dismissed her, first desiring her not to mention the circum­stance to any body.

Shocked and dismayed, she now saw, but saw with horror, the removal of all her doubts, and the explanation of all her diffi­culties, in the full and irrefragable disco­very of the perfidy of her oldest friend and confident.

Miss Bennet herself she regarded in the affair as a mere tool, which, though in effect it did the work, was innocent of its mis­chief, because powerless but in the hand of its employer.

‘"That employer,"’ cried she, ‘"must be Mr. Monckton! Mr. Monckton whom so long I have known, who so willingly has been my counsellor, so ably my instructor! in whose integrity I have confided, upon whose friendship I have relied! my succour in all emergencies, my guide in all per­plexities!—Mr. Monckton thus disho­nourably, thus barbarously to betray me! to turn against me the very confidence I had reposed in his regard for me! and make use of my own trust to furnish the means to injure me!"—’

She was now wholly confirmed that he had wronged her with Mr. Delvile; she could not have two enemies so malignant without provocation, and he who so unfeel­ingly could dissolve a union at the very [Page 214] altar, could alone have the baseness to ca­lumniate her so cruelly.

Evil thoughts thus awakened, stopt not merely upon facts; conjecture carried her further, and conjecture built upon probabi­lity. The officiousness of Morrice in pur­suing her to London, his visiting her when there, and his following and watching Del­vile, she now reasonably concluded were actions directed by Mr. Monckton, whose house he had but just left, and whose orders, whatever they might be, she was almost certain he would obey. Availing himself, therefore, of the forwardness and supple­ness which met in this young man, she doubted not but his intelligence had con­tributed to acquaint him with her proceed­ings.

The motivof such deep concerted and accummulated treachery was next to be sought: nor was the search long; one only could have tempted him to schemes so ha­zardous and costly; and, unsuspicious as she was, she now saw into his whole design.

Long accustomed to regard him as a safe and disinterested old friend, the respect with which, as a child, she had looked up to him, she had insensibly preserved when a woman. That respect had taught her to consider his notice as a favour, and far from suspiciously shunning, she had innocently courted it: [Page 215] and his readiness in advising and tutoring her, his frank and easy friendliness of beha­viour, had kept his influence unimpaired, by preventing its secret purpose from being detected.

But now the whole mystery was revealed; his aversion to the Delviles, to which hi­therto she had attributed all she disapprov­ed in his behaviour, she was convinced must be inadequate to stimulate him to such lengths. That aversion itself was by this late surmise accounted for, and no sooner did it occur to her, than a thousand cir­cumstances confirmed it.

The first among these was the evident ill will of Lady Margaret, which though she had constantly imputed to the general irasci­bility for which her character was notori­ous, she had often wondered to find impe­netrable to all endeavours to please or sof­ten her. His care of her fortune, his ex­hortations against her expences, his wish to make her live with Mr. Briggs, all contri­buted to point out the selfishness of his at­tentions, which in one instance rendered visible, became obvious in every other.

Yet various as were the incidents that now poured upon her memory to his dis­grace, not one among them took its rise from his behaviour to herself, which always had been scrupulously circumspect, or if for [Page 216] a moment unguarded, only at a season when her own distress or confusion had prevented her from perceiving it. This recollection almost staggered her suspicions; yet so ab­solute seemed the confirmation they receiv­ed from every other, that her doubt was overpowered, and soon wholly extinguished.

She was yet ruminating upon this sub­ject, when word was brought her that Mr. Monckton was in the parlour.

Mingled disgust and indignation made her shudder at his name, and without paus­ing a moment, she sent him word she was engaged, and could not possibly leave her room.

Astonished by such a dismission, he left the house in the utmost confusion. But Cecilia could not endure to see him, after a discovery of such hypocrisy and villainy.

She considered, however, that the matter could not rest here: he would demand an explanation, and perhaps, by his unparal­leled address, again contrive to seem inno­cent, notwithstanding appearances were at present so much against him. Expecting, therefore, some artifice, and determined not to be duped by it, she sent again for the Pew-opener, to examine her more strictly.

The woman was out at work in a private family, and could not come till the even­ing: but, when further questioned, the description [Page 217] she gave of Miss Bennet was too exact to be disputed.

She then desired her to call again the next morning: and sent a servant to the Grove, with her compliments to Miss Bennet, and a request that she might send her carriage for her the next day, at any time she pleased, as she wished much to speak with her.

This message, she was aware, might create some suspicion, and put her upon her guard; but she thought, nevertheless, a sudden meeting with the Pew-opener, whom she meant abruptly to confront with her, would baffle the security of any previously settled scheme.

To a conviction such as this even Mr. Monckton must submit, and since he was lost to her as a friend, she might at least save herself the pain of keeping up his ac­quaintance.


THE servant did not return till it was dark; and then, with a look of much dismay, said he had been able to meet with nobody who could either give or take a message; that the Grove was all in confu­sion, and the whole country in an uproar, for Mr. Monckton, just as he arrived, had been brought home dead!

Cecilia screamed with involuntary hor­ror; a pang like remorse seized her mind, with the apprehension she had some share in this catastrophe, and innocent as she was either of his fall or his crimes, she no sooner heard he was no more, than she for­got he had offended her, and reproached herself with severity for the shame to which she meant to expose him the next morning.

Dreadfully disturbed by this horrible in­cident, she entreated Mrs. Harrel and Hen­rietta to sup by themselves, and going into her own room, determined to write the whole affair to Delvile, in a letter she should direct to be left at the post-office for him at Margate.

[Page 219] And here strongly she felt the happiness of being actually his wife; she could now without reserve make him acquainted with all her affairs, and tell to the master of her heart every emotion that entered it.

While engaged in this office, the very ac­tion of which quieted her, a letter was brought her from Delvile himself. She re­ceived it with gratitude and opened it with joy; he had promised to write soon, but so soon she had thought impossible.

The reading took not much time; the letter contained but the following words:



Be alone, I conjure you; dismiss every body, and admit me this moment!

Great was her astonishment at this note! no name to it, no conclusion, the cha­racters indistinct, the writing crooked, the words so few, and those few scarce legible!

He desired to see her, and to see her alone; she could not hesitate in her com­pliance,—but whom could she dismiss?—her servants, if ordered away, would but be curiously upon the watch,—she could think [Page 220] of no expedient, she was all hurry and amazement.

She asked if any one waited for an an­swer? The footman said no; that the note was given in by somebody who did not speak, and who ran out of sight the mo­ment he had delivered it.

She could not doubt this was Delvile himself,—Delvile who should now be just returned from the castle to his mother, and whom she had thought not even a letter would reach if directed any where nearer than Margate!

All she could devise in obedience to him, was to go and wait for him alone in her dressing-room, giving orders that if any one called they might be immediately brought up to her, as she expected somebody upon business, with whom she must not be in­terrupted.

This was extremely disagreeable to her; yet, contrary as it was to their agreement, she felt no inclination to reproach Delvile; the abruptness of his note, the evident hand-shaking with which it had been writ­ten, the strangeness of the request in a situ­ation such as theirs,—all concurred to as­sure her he came not to her idly, and all led her to apprehend he came to her with evil tidings.

What they might be, she had no time to [Page 221] conjecture; a servant, in a few minutes, opened the dressing-room door, and said, ‘"Ma'am, a gentleman;"’ and Delvile, abruptly entering, shut it himself, in his eagerness to get rid of him.

At his sight, her prognostication of ill became stronger! she went forward to meet him, and he advanced to her smiling and in haste; but that smile did not well do its office; it concealed not a pallid counte­nance, in which every feature spoke horror; it disguised not an aching heart, which al­most visibly throbbed with intolerable emo­tion! Yet he addressed her in terms of ten­derness and peace; but his tremulous voice counteracted his words, and spoke that all within was tumult and war!

Cecilia, amazed, affrighted, had no pow­er to hasten an explanation, which, on his own part, he seemed unable, or fearful to begin. He talked to her of his happiness in again seeing her before he left the king­dom, entreated her to write to him conti­nually, said the same thing two and three times in a breath, began with one subject, and seemed unconscious he wandered pre­sently into another, and asked her questions innumerable about her health, journey, affairs, and ease of mind, without hearing from her any answer, or seeming to miss that she made none.

[Page 222] Cecilia grew dreadfully terrified; some­thing strange and most alarming she was sure must have happened, but what, she had no means to know, nor courage, nor even words to enquire.

Delvile, at length, the first hurry of his spirits abating, became more coherent and considerate: and looking anxiously at her, said, ‘"Why this silence, my Cecilia?"’

‘"I know not!"’ said she, endeavouring to recover herself, ‘"but your coming was unexpected: I was just writing to you at Margate."’

‘"Write still, then; but direct to Os­tend; I shall be quicker than the post; and I would not lose a letter—a line—a word from you, for all the world can offer me!"’

‘"Quicker than the post?"’ cried Ceci­lia; ‘"but how can Mrs. Delvile—"’ she stopt; not knowing what she might ven­ture to ask.

‘"She is now on the road to Margate; I hope to be there to receive her. I mean but to bid you adieu, and be gone."’

Cecilia made no answer; she was more and more astonished, more and more con­founded.

‘"You are thoughtful?"’ said he, with tenderness; ‘"are you unhappy?—sweetest Cecilia! most excellent of human creatures! if I have made you unhappy—and I must!—it is inevitable!—"’

[Page 223] ‘"Oh Delvile!"’ cried she, now assuming more courage, ‘"why will you not speak to me openly?—something, I see, is wrong; may I not hear it? may I not tell you, at least, my concern that any thing has dis­tressed you?"’

‘"You are too good!"’ cried he; ‘"to deserve you is not possible,—but to afflict you is inhuman!"’

‘"Why so?"’ cried she, more chearful­ly; ‘"must I not share the common lot? or expect the whole world to be new mo­delled, lest I should meet in it any thing but happiness?"’

‘"There is not, indeed, much danger! Have you pen and ink here?"’

She brought them to him immediately, with paper.

‘"You have been writing to me, you say?—I will begin a letter myself."’

‘"To me?"’ cried she.

He made no answer, but took up the pen, and wrote a few words, and then, flinging it down, said ‘"Fool!—I could have done this without coming!"’

‘"May I look at it?"’ said she; and, finding he made no opposition, advanced and read.

I fear to alarm you by rash precipitation,—I fear to alarm you by lingering suspense,—but all is not well—

[Page 224] ‘"Fear nothing!"’ cried she, turning to him with the kindest earnestness; ‘"tell me, whatever it may be!—Am I not your wife? bound by every tie divine and human to share in all your sorrows, if, unhappily, I cannot mitigate them!"’

‘"Since you allow me,"’ cried he, grate­fully, ‘"so sweet a claim, a claim to which all others yield, and which if you repent not giving me, will make all others nearly im­material to me,—I will own to you that all, indeed, is not well! I have been hasty,—you will blame me; I deserve, indeed, to be blamed!—entrusted with your peace and happiness, to suffer rage, resentment, vio­lence, to make me forego what I owed to such a deposite!—If your blame, however, stops short of repentance—but it cannot!"’

‘"What, then,"’ cried she with warmth, ‘"must you have done? for there is not an action of which I believe you capable, there is not an event which I believe to be pos­sible, that can ever make me repent be­longing to you wholly!"’

‘"Generous, condescending Cecilia!"’ cried he; ‘"Words such as these, hung there not upon me an evil the most depres­sing, would be almost more than I could bear—would make me too blest for mor­tality!"’

‘"But words such as these,"’ said she [Page 225] more gaily, ‘"I might long have coquetted­ere I had spoken, had you not drawn them from me by this alarm. Take, therefore, the good with the ill, and remember, if all does not go right, you have now a trusty friend, as willing to be the partner of your serious as your happiest hours."’

‘"Shew but as much firmness as you have shewn sweetness,"’ cried he, ‘"and I will fear to tell you nothing."’

She reiterated her assurances; they then both sat down, and he began his account.

‘"Immediately from your lodgings I went where I had ordered a chaise, and stopt only to change horses till I reached Delvile Castle. My father saw me with surprise, and received me with coldness. I was compelled by my situation to be abrupt, and told him I came, before I accompanied my mother abroad, to make him acquaint­ed with an affair which I thought myself bound in duty and respect to suffer no one to communicate to him but myself. He then sternly interrupted me, and declared in high terms, that if this affair concerned you, he would not listen to it. I attempted to remonstrate upon this injustice, when he passionately broke forth into new and hor­rible charges against you, affirming that he had them from authority as indisputable as [Page 226] ocular demonstration. I was then certain of some foul play."—’

‘"Foul play indeed!"’ cried Cecilia, who now knew but too well by whom she had been injured. ‘"Good heaven, how have I been deceived, where most I have trusted!"’

‘"I told him,"’ continued Delvile, ‘"some gross imposition had been practiced upon him, and earnestly conjured him no longer to conceal from me by whom. This, un­fortunately, encreased his rage; imposi­tion, he said, was not so easily played upon him, he left that for me who so readily was duped; while for himself, he had only given credit to a man of much consideration in Suffolk, who had known you from a child, who had solemnly assured him he had re­peatedly endeavoured to reclaim you, who had rescued you from the hands of Jews at his own hazard and loss, and who actually shewed him bonds acknowledging immense debts, which were signed with your own hand."’

‘"Horrible!"’ exclaimed Cecilia, ‘"I be­lieved not such guilt and perfidy possible!"’

‘"I was scarce myself,"’ resumed Delvile, ‘"while I heard him: I demanded even with fierceness his author, whom I scrupled not to execrate as he deserved; he coldly answered he was bound by an oath never to reveal him, nor should he repay his honourable [Page 227] attention to his family by a breach of his own word, were it even less formally engaged. I then lost all patience; to men­tion honour, I cried, was a farce, where such infamous calumnies were listened to;—but let me not shock you unnecessarily, you may readily conjecture what passed."’

‘"Ah me!"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"you have then quarrelled with your father!"’

‘"I have!"’ said he; ‘"nor does he yet know I am married: in so much wrath there was no room for narration; I only pledged myself by all I held sacred, never to rest till I had cleared your fame, by the detection of this villainy, and then left him without further explanation."’

‘"Oh return, then, to him directly!"’ cried Cecilia; ‘"he is your father, you are bound to bear with his displeasure;—alas! had you never known me, you had never incurred it!"’

‘"Believe me,"’ he answered, ‘"I am ill at ease under it: if you wish it, when you have heard me, I will go to him immedi­ately; if not, I will write, and you shall yourself dictate what."’

Cecilia thanked him, and begged he would continue his account.

‘"My first step, when I left the Castle, was to send a letter to my mother, in which I entreated her to set out as soon as possible [Page 228] for Margate, as I was detained from her unavoidably, and was unwilling my delay should either retard our journey, or oblige her to travel faster. At Margate I hoped to be as soon as herself, if not before her."’

‘"And why,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"did you not go to town as you had promised, and accompany her?"’

‘"I had business another way. I came hither."’


‘"No;—but soon."’

‘"Where did you go first?"’

‘"My Cecilia, it is now you must sum­mon your fortitude: I left my father with­out an explanation on my part;—but not till, in his rage of asserting his authority, he had unwarily named his informant."’


‘"That informant—the most deceitful of men!—was your long pretended friend, Mr. Monckton!"’

‘"So I feared!"’ said Cecilia, whose blood now ran cold through her veins with sudden and new apprehensions.

‘"I rode to the Grove, on hack-horses, and on a full gallop the whole way. I got to him early in the evening. I was shewn into his library. I told him my errand.—You look pale, my love? You are not well?—"’

[Page 229] Cecilia, too sick for speech, leant he head upon a table. Delvile was going to call for help; but she put her hand upon his arm to stop him, and, perceiving she was only mentally affected, he rested, and endeavoured by every possible means to re­vive her.

After a while, she again raised her head, faintly saying, ‘"I am sorry I interrupted you; but the conclusion I already know,—Mr. Monckton is dead!"’

‘"Not dead,"’ cried he;" ‘"dangerously, indeed, wounded, but thank heaven, not actually dead!"’

‘"Not dead?"’ cried Cecilia, with re­cruited strength and spirits, ‘"Oh then all yet may be well!—if he is not dead, he may recover!"’

‘"He may; I hope he will!"’

‘"Now, then,"’ she cried, ‘"tell me all: I can bear any intelligence but of death by human means."’

‘"I meant not to have gone such lengths; far from it; I hold duels in abhorrence, as unjustifiable acts of violence, and savage devices of revenge. I have offended against my own conviction,—but, transported with passion at his infamous charges, I was not master of my reason; I accused him of his perfidy; he denied it; I told him I had it from my father,—he changed the subject to [Page 230] pour abuse upon him; I insisted on a re­cantation to clear you; he asked by what right? I fiercely answered, by a husband's! His countenance, then, explained at least the motives of his treachery,—he loves you himself! he had probably schemed to keep you free till his wife died, and then con­cluded his machinations would secure you his own. For this purpose, finding he was in danger of losing you, he was content even to blast your character, rather than suffer you to escape him! But the moment I ac­knowledged my marriage he grew more fu­rious than myself; and, in short—for why relate the frenzies of rage? we walked out together; my travelling pistols were already charged; I gave him his choice of them, and, the challenge being mine, for insolence joined with guilt had robbed me of all for­bearance, he fired first, but missed me: I then demanded whether he would clear your fame? he called out ‘"Fire! I will make no terms,"’—I did fire,—and unfor­tunately aimed better! We had neither of us any second, all was the result of imme­diate passion; but I soon got people to him, and assisted in conveying him home. He was at first believed to be dead, and I was seized by his servants; but he afterwards shewed signs of life, and by sending for my friend Biddulph, I was released. Such is [Page 231] the melancholy transaction I came to relate to you, flattering myself it would some­thing less shock you from me than from another: yet my own real concern for the affair, the repentance with which from the moment the wretch fell, I was struck in being his destroyer, and the sorrow, the remorse, rather, which I felt, in coming to wound you with such black, such fearful intelli­gence,—you to whom all I owe is peace and comfort!—these thoughts gave me so much disturbance, that, in fact, I knew less than any other how to prepare you for such a tale."’

He stopt; but Cecilia could say nothing: to censure him now would both be cruel and vain; yet to pretend she was satisfied with his conduct, would be doing violence to her judgment and veracity. She saw, too, that his error had sprung wholly from a generous ardor in her defence, and that his connfidence in her character, had resisted, without wavering, every attack that mena­ced it. For this she felt truly grateful; yet his quarrel with his father,—the danger of his mother.—his necessary absence,—her own clandestine situation,—and more than all, the threatened death of Mr. Monckton by his hands, were circumstan­ces so full of dread and sadness, she knew [Page 232] not upon which to speak,—how to offer him comfort,—how to assume a counte­nance that looked able to receive any, or by what means to repress the emotions which so many ways assailed her. Del­vile, having vainly waited some reply, then in a tone the most melancholy, said, ‘"If it is yet possible you can be sufficiently in­terested in my fate to care what becomes of me, aid me now with your counsel, or rather with your instructions; I am scarce able to think for myself, and to be thought for by you, would yet be a consolation that would give me spirit for any thing."’

Cecilia, starting from her reverie, repeat­ed, ‘"To care what becomes of you? Oh Delvile!—make not my heart bleed by words of such unkindness!"’

‘"Forgive me,"’ cried he, ‘I meant not a reproach; I meant but to state my own consciousness how little I deserve from you. You talked to me of going to my father? do you still wish it?"’

‘"I think so!"’ cried she; too much dis­turbed to know what she said, yet fearing again to hurt him by making him wait her answer.

‘"I will go then,"’ said he, ‘"without doubt: too happy to be guided by you, which-ever way I steer. I have now, indeed, [Page 233] much to tell him; but whatever may be his wrath, there is little fear, at this time, that my own temper cannot bear it! what next shall I do?"’

‘"What next?"’ repeated she; ‘"indeed I know not!"’

‘"Shall I go immediately to Margate? or shall I first ride hither?"’

‘"If you please,"’ said she much per­turbed, and deeply sighing.

‘"I please nothing but by your direction, to follow that is my only chance of plea­sure. Which, then, shall I do?—you will not, now, refuse to direct me?"’

‘"No, certainly, not for the world!"’

‘"Speak to me, then, my love, and tell me;—why are you thus silent?—is it pain­ful to you to counsel me?"’

‘"No, indeed!"’ said she, putting her hand to her head, ‘"I will speak to you in a few minutes."’

‘"Oh my Cecilia!"’ cried he, looking at her with much alarm, ‘"call back your recollection! you know not what you say, you take no interest in what you answer."’

‘"Indeed I do!"’ said she, sighing deeply, and oppressed beyond the power of think­ing, beyond any power but an internal con­sciousness of wretchedness.

[Page 234] ‘"Sigh not so bitterly,"’ cried he, ‘"if you have any compassion! sigh not so bit­terly,—I cannot bear to hear you!"’

‘"I am very sorry indeed!"’ said she, fighing again, and not seeming sensible she spoke.

‘"Good Heaven!"’ cried he, rising, ‘"distract me not with this horror!—speak not to me in such broken sentences!—Do you hear me, Cecilia?—why will you not answer me?"’

She started and trembled, looked pale and affrighted, and putting both her hands upon her heart, said, ‘"Oh yes!—but I have an oppression here,—a tightness, a fulness,—I have not room for breath!"’

‘"Oh beloved of my heart!"’ cried he, wildly casting himself at her feet, ‘"kill me not with this terror!—call back your fa­culties,—awake from this dreadful insensi­bility! tell me at least you know me!—tell me I have not tortured you quite to mad­ness!—sole darling of my affections! my own, my wedded Cecilia!—rescue me from this agony! it is more than I can support!—"’

This energy of distress brought back her scattered senses, scarce more stun­ned by the shock of all this misery, than by the restraint of her feelings in [Page 235] struggling to conceal it. But these passion­ate exclamations restoring her sensibility, she burst into tears, which happily reliev­ed her mind from the conflict with which it was labouring, and which, not thus effected, might have ended more fatally.

Never had Delvile more rejoiced in her smiles than now in these seasonable tears, which he regarded and blest as the preser­vers of her reason. They flowed long without any intermission, his soothing and tenderness but melting her to more sorrow: after a while, however, the return of her faculties, which at first seemed all consign­ed over to grief, was manifested by the return­ing strength of her mind: she blamed her­self severely for the little fortitude she had shewn, but having now given vent to emo­tions too forcible to be wholly stifled, she assured him he might depend upon her better courage for the future, and entreated him to consider and settle his affairs.

Not speedily, however, could Delvile himself recover. The torture he had suf­fered in believing, though only for a few moments, that the terror he had given to Cecilia had affected her intellects, made even a deeper impression upon his imagination, than the scene of fury and death, which had occasioned that terror: and Cecilia, who [Page 236] now strained every nerve to repair by her firmness, the pain which by her weakness she had given him, was sooner in a condi­tion for reasoning and deliberation than himself.

‘"Ah Delvile!"’ she cried, comprehend­ing what passed within him, ‘"do you allow nothing for surprize? and nothing for the hard conflict of endeavouring to suppress it? do you think me still as unfit to advise with, and as worthless, as feeble a counsel­lor, as during the first confusion of my mind?"’

‘"Hurry not your tender spirits, I beseech you,"’ cried he, ‘"we have time enough; we will talk about business by and by."’

‘"What time?"’ cried she, ‘"what is it now o'clock?"’

‘"Good Heaven!"’ cried he, looking at his watch, ‘"already past ten! you must turn me out, my Cecilia, or calumny will still be busy, even though poor Monckton is quiet."’

‘"I will turn you out,"’ cried she, ‘"I am indeed most earnest to have you gone. But tell me your plan, and which way you mean to go?"’

‘"That,"’ he answered, ‘"you shall decide for me yourself: whether to Delvile Castle, to finish one tale, and wholly communicate [Page 237] another, or to Margate, to hasten my mo­ther abroad, before the news of this calami­ty reaches her."’

‘"Go to Margate,"’ cried she, eagerly, ‘"set off this very moment! you can write to your father from Ostend. But continue, I conjure you, on the continent, till we see if this unhappy man lives, and enquire, of those who can judge, what must follow if he should not!"’

‘"A trial,"’ said he, ‘"must follow, and it will go, I fear, but hardly with me! the chal­lenge was mine; his servants can all witness I went to him, not he to me,—Oh my Ce­cilia! the rashness of which I have been guilty, is so opposite to my principles, and, all generous as is your silence, I know it so opposite to yours, that never, should his blood be on my hands, wretch as he was, never will my heart be quiet more!"’

‘"He will live, he will live!"’ cried Ce­cilia, repressing her horror, ‘"fear nothing, for he will live;—and as to his wound and his sufferings, his perfidy has deserved them. Go, then, to Margate; think only of Mrs. Devile, and save her, if possible, from hearing what has happened."’

‘"I will go,—stay,—do which and what­ever you bid me: but, should what I fear come to pass, should my mother continue [Page 238] ill, my father inflexible, should this wretch­ed man die, and should England no longer be a country I shall love to dwell in,—could you, then, bear to own,—would you, then, consent to follow me?—"’

‘"Could I?—am I not yours? may you not command me? tell me, then,—you have only to say,—shall I accompany you at once?"’

Delvile, affected by her generosity, could scarce utter his thanks; yet he did not he­sitate in denying to avail himself of it; ‘"No, my Cecilia,"’ he cried, ‘"I am not so selfish. If we have not happier days, we will at least wait for more desperate necessity. With the uncertainty if I have not this man's life to answer for at the hazard of my own, to take my wife—my bride,—from the kingdom I must fly!—to make her a fugitive and an exile in the first publishing that she is mine! No, if I am not a destined alien for life I can never permit it. Nothing less, believe me, shall ever urge my consent to wound the chaste propriety of your character, by making you an eloper with a duelist."’

They then again consulted upon their future plans; and concluded that in the present disordered state of their affairs, it would be best not to acknowledge even to [Page 239] Mr. Delvile their mariage, to whom the news of the duel, and Mr. Monckton's dan­ger, would be a blow so severe, that, to add to it any other might half distract him.

To the few people already acquainted with it, Delvile therefore determined to write from Ostend, re-urging his entreaties for their discretion and secresy. Cecilia promised every post to acquaint him how Mr. Monckton went on, and she then be­sought him to go instantly, that he might out-travel the ill news to his mother.

He complied, and took leave of her in the tenderest manner, conjuring her to sup­port her spirits, and be careful of her health. ‘"Happiness,"’ said he, ‘"is much in arrears with us, and though my violence may have frightened it away, your sweet­ness and gentleness will yet attract it back: all that for me is in store must be received at your hands,—what is offered in any o­ther way, I shall only mistake for evil! droop not, therefore, my generous Cecilia, but in yourself preserve me!"’

‘"I will not droop;"’ said she; ‘"you will find, I hope, you have not intrust­ed yourself in ill hands."’

‘"Peace then be with you, my love!—my comforting, my soul-reviving Cecilia! Peace, such as angels give, and such as may [Page 240] drive from your mind the remembrance of this bitter hour!"’

He then tore himself away.

Cecilia, who to his blessings could almost, like the tender Belvidera, have exclaimed ‘O do not leave me!—stay with me and curse me!’ listened to his steps till she could hear them no longer, as if the remaining moments of her life were to be measured by them: but then, remembering the danger both to her­self and him of his stay, she endeavoured to rejoice that he was gone, and, but that her mind was in no state for joy, was too rational not to have succeeded.

Grief and horror for what was past, ap­prehension and suspense for what was to come, so disordered her whole frame, so confused even her intellects, that when not all the assistance of fancy could persuade her she still heard the footsteps of Delvile, she went to the chair upon which he had been seated, and taking possession of it, sat with her arms crossed, silent, quiet, and erect, almost vacant of all thought, yet with a secret idea she was doing something right.

Here she continued till Henrietta came to wish her good night; whose surprise [Page 241] and concern at the strangeness of her look and attitude, once more recovered her. But terrified herself at this threatened wan­dering of her reason, and certain she must all night be a stranger to rest, she accepted the affectionate offer of the kind-hearted girl to stay with her, who was too much grie­ved for her grief to sleep any more than herself.

She told her not what had passed; that, she knew, would be fruitless affliction to her: but she was soothed by her gentleness, and her conversation was some security from the dangerous rambling of her ideas.

Henrietta herself found no little consola­tion in her own private sorrows, that she was able to give comfort to her beloved Miss Beverley, from whom she had receiv­ed favours and kind offices innumerable. she quitted her not night nor day, and in the honest pride of a little power to shew the gratefulness of her heart, she felt a pleasure and self-consequence she had never before experienced.


CECILIA's earliest care, almost at break of day, was to send to the Grove; from thence she heard nothing but evil; Mr. Monckton was still alive, but with little or no hope of recovery, con­stantly delirious, and talking of Miss Be­verley, and of her being married to young Delvile.

Cecilia, who knew well this, at least, was no delirium, though shocked that he talk­ed of it, hoped his danger less than was apprehended.

The next day, however, more fatal news was brought her, though not from the quarter she expected it: Mr. Monckton, in one of his raving fits, had sent for Lady Margaret to his bed side, and used her al­most inhumanly: he had railed at her age and infirmities with incredible fury, called her the cause of all his sufferings, and ac­cused her as the immediate agent of Luci­fer in his present wound and danger. Lady [Page 243] Margaret, whom neither jealousy nor ma­lignity had cured of loving him, was dis­mayed and affrighted; and in hurrying out of the room upon his attempting, in his frenzy, to strike her, she dropt down dead in an apoplectic fit.

‘"Good Heaven! thought Cecilia, what an exemplary punishment has this man! he looses his hated wife at the very moment when her death could no longer answer his purposes! Poor Lady Margaret! her life has been as bitter as her temper! married from a view of interest, ill used as a bar to happiness, and destroyed from the fruitless ravings of despair!"’

She wrote all this intelligence to Ostend, whence she received a letter from Delvile, acquainting her he was detained from pro­ceeding further by the weakness and illness of his mother, whose sufferings from sea­sickness had almost put an end to her ex­istence.

Thus passed a miserable week; Monck­ton still merely alive, Delvile detained at Ostend, and Cecilia tortured alike by what was recently passed, actually present, and fear­fully expected; when one morning she was told a gentleman upon business desired im­mediately to speak with her.

She hastily obeyed the summons; the [Page 244] constant image of her own mind, Delvile, being already present to her, and a thousand wild conjectures upon what had brought him back, rapidly occurring to her.

Her expectations, however, were ill an­swered, for she found an entire stranger; an elderly man, of no pleasant aspect or manners.

She desired to know his business.

‘"I presume, madam, you are the lady of this house?"’

She bowed an assent.

‘"May I take the liberty, madam, to ask your name?"’

‘"My name, sir?"’

‘"You will do me a favour, madam, by telling it me."’

‘"Is it possible you are come hither with­out already knowing it?"’

‘"I know it only by common report, madam."’

‘"Common report, sir, I believe is seldom wrong in a matter where to be right is so easy."’

‘"Have you any objection, madam, to telling me your name?"’

‘"No, sir; but your business can hardly be very important, if you are yet to learn whom you are to address. It will be time enough, therefore, for us to meet when you are elsewhere satisfied in this point."’

[Page 245] She would then have left the room.

‘"I beg, madam,"’ cried the stranger, ‘"you will have patience; it is necessary, before I can open my business, that I should hear your name from yourself."’

‘"Well, sir,"’ cried she with some hesita­tion, ‘"you can scarce have come to this house, without knowing that its owner is Cecilia Beverley."’

‘"That, madam, is your maiden name."’

‘"My maiden name?"’ cried she, start­ing.

‘"Are you not married, madam?"’

‘"Married, sir?"’ she repeated, while her cheeks were the colour of scarlet.

‘"It is, properly, therefore, madam, the name of your husband that I mean to ask."’

‘"And by what authority, sir,"’ cried she, equally astonished and offended, ‘"do you make these extraordinary enquiries?"’

‘"I am deputed, madam, to wait upon you by Mr. Eggleston, the next heir to this estate, by your uncle's will, if you die without children, or change your name when you marry. His authority of enqui­ry, madam, I presume you will allow, and he has vested it in me by a letter of attorney."’

[Page 246] Cecilia's distress and confusion were now unspeakable; she knew not what to own or deny, she could not conjecture how she had been betrayed, and she had never made the smallest preparation against such an attack.

‘"Mr. Eggleston,"’ madam, he con­tinued, ‘"has been pretty credibly informed that you are actually married: he is very desirous, therefore, to know what are your intentions, for your continuing to be called Miss Beverley, as if still single, leaves him quite in the dark: but, as he is so deeply concerned in the affair, he expects, as a lady of honour, you will deal with him without prevarication."’

‘"This demand, sir,"’ said Cecilia, stam­mering, ‘"is so extremely—so—so little expected—"’

‘"The way, madam, in these cases, is to keep pretty closely to the point; are you married or are you not?"’

Cecilia, quite confounded, made no an­swer: to disavow her marriage, when thus formally called upon, was every way unjus­tifiable; to acknowledge it in her present situation, would involve her in difficulties innumerable,

‘"This is not, madam, a slight thing; Mr. Eggleston has a large family and a small [Page 247] fortune, and that, into the bargain, very much encumbered; it cannot, therefore, be expected that he will knowingly connive at cheating himself, by submitting to your being actually married, and still enjoying your estate though your husband does not take your name."’

Cecilia, now, summoning more presence of mind, answered, ‘"Mr. Eggleston, sir, has, at least, nothing to fear from imposi­tion: those with whom he has, or may have any transactions in this affair, are not ac­customed to practice it."’

‘"I am far from meaning any offence, madam; my commission from Mr. Eggleston is simply this, to beg you will satisfy him upon what grounds you now evade the will of your late uncle, which, till cleared up, appears a point manifestly to his preju­dice."’

‘"Tell him, then, sir, that whatever he wishes to know shall be explained to him in about a week. At present I can give no other answer."’

‘"Very well, madam; he will wait that time, I am sure, for he does not wish to put you to any inconvenience. But when he heard the gentleman was gone abroad without owning his marriage, he thought it high time to take some notice of the matter."’

[Page 248] Cecilia, who by this speech found she was every way discovered, was again in the utmost confusion, and with much trepida­tion, said, ‘"since you seem so well, sir, acquainted with this affair, I should be glad you would inform me by what means you came to the knowledge of it?"’

‘"I heard it, madam, from Mr. Eggle­ston himself, who has long known it."’

‘"Long, sir?—impossible! when it is not yet a forrnight—not ten days, or no more, that—"’

She stopt, recollecting she was making a confession better deferred.

‘"That, madam,"’ he answered, ‘"may perhaps bear a little contention: for when this business comes to be settled, it will be very essential to be exact as to the time, even to the very hour; for a large income per annum, divides into a small one per diem; and if your husband keeps his own name, you must not only give up your uncle's inheritance from the time of relinquishing yours, but refund from the very day of your marriage."’

‘"There is not the least doubt of it,"’ answered she; ‘"nor will the smallest diffi­culty be made."’

‘"You will please, then, to recollect, madam, that this sum is every hour encreasing; [Page 249] and has been since last September, which made half a year accountable for last March. Since then there is now ad­ded—"’

‘"Good Heaven, sir,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"what calculation are you making out? do you call last week last September?"’

‘"No, madam; but I call last September the month in which you were married."’

‘"You will find yourself, then, sir, ex­tremely mistaken; and Mr. Eggleston is preparing himself for much disapointment, if he supposes me so long in arrears with him."’

‘"Mr. Eggleston, madam, happens to be well informed of this transaction, as, if there is any dispute in it, you will find. He was your immediate successor in the house to which you went last September in in Pall-Mall; the woman who kept it ac­quainted his servants that the last lady who hired it stayed with her but a day, and only came to town, she found, to be married: and hearing, upon enquiry, this lady was Miss Beverley, the servants, well knowing that their master was her conditional heir, old him the circumstance."’

‘"You will find all this, sir, end in nothing."’

‘"That, madam, as I said before, remains [Page 250] to be proved. If a young lady at eight o'clock in the morning, is seen,—and she was seen, going into a church with a young gentleman, and one female friend; and is afterwards observed to come out of it, followed by a clergyman and another person, supposed to have officiated as fa­ther, and is seen get into a coach with same young gentleman, and same female friend, why the circumstancs are pretty strong!—"’

‘"They may seem so, sir; but all con­clusions drawn from them will be errone­ous. I was not married then, upon my honour!"’

‘"We have little, madam, to do with professions; the circumstances are strong enough to bear a trial, and—"’

‘"A trial!—"’

‘"We have traced, madam, many wit­nesses able to stand to divers particulars; and eight months share of such an estate as this, is well worth a little trouble."’

‘"I am amazed, sir! surely Mr. Eggle­ston never desired you to make use of this language to me?"’

‘"Mr. Eggleston, madam, has behaved very honourably; though he knew the whole affair so long ago, he was persuaded Mr. Delvile had private reasons for a short concealment; [Page 251] and expecting every day when they would be cleared up by his taking your name, he never interfered: but being now informed he set out last week for the continent, he has been advised by his friends to claim his rights."’

‘"That claim, sir, he need not fear will be satisfied; and without any occasion for threats of enquiries or law suits."’

‘"The truth, madam, is this; Mr. Eg­gleston is at present in a little difficulty about some money matters, which makes it a point with him of some consequence to have the affair settled speedily: unless you could conveniently compromise the matter, by advancing a particular sum, till it suits you to refund the whole that is due to him, and quit the premises."’

‘"Nothing, sir, is due to him! at least, nothing worth mentioning. I shall enter into no terms, for I have no compro­mise to make. As to the premises, I will quit them with all the expedition in my power."’

‘"You will do well, madam; for the truth is, it will not be convenient to him to wait much longer."’

He then went away.

‘"When, next,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"shall I again be weak, vain, blind enough to [Page 252] form any plan with a hope of secresy? or enter, with any hope, into a clandestine scheme! betrayed by those I have trust­ed, discovered by those I have not thought of, exposed to the cruellest alarms, and defenceless from the most shocking at­tacks!—Such has been the life I have led since the moment I first consented to a private engagement!—Ah Delvile! your mother, in her tenderness, forgot her dignity, or she would not have concurred in an action which to such disgrace made me liable!"’


IT was necessary, however, not to moral­ize, but to act; Cecilia had undertaken to give her answer in a week, and the art­ful attorney had drawn from her an acknow­ledgement of her situation, by which he might claim it yet sooner.

The law-suit with which she was threa­tened for the arrears of eight months, alar­med her not, though it shocked her, as she was certain she could prove her marriage so much later.

It was easy to perceive that this man had been sent with a view of working from her a confession, and terrifying from her some money; the confession, indeed, in conscience and honesty she could not whol­ly elude, but she had suffered too often by a facility in parting with money to be there easily duped.

Nothing, however, was more true, than that she now lived upon an estate of which she no longer was the owner, and that all she either spent or received was to be accounted [Page 254] for and returned, since by the will of her uncle, unless her husband took her name, her estate on the very day of her marriage was to be forfeited, and entered upon by the Egglestons. Delvile's plan and hope of secresy had made them little weigh this matter, though this premature disco­very so unexpectedly exposed her to their power.

The first thought that occurred to her, was to send an express to Delvile, and desire his instructions how to proceed; but she dread­ed his impetuosity of temper, and was al­most certain that the instant he should hear she was in any uneasiness or perplexity, he would return to her at all hazards, even though Mr. Monckton were dead, and his mother herself dying. This step, there­fore, she did not dare risk, preferring any personal hardship, to endangering the al­ready precarious life of Mrs. Delvile, or to hastening her son home while Mr. Monck­ton was in so desperate a situation.

But though what to avoid was easy to settle, what to seek was difficult to devise. She had now no Mrs. Charlton to receive her, nor a creature in whom she could con­fide. To continue her present way of liv­ing was deeply involving Delvile in debt, a circumstance she had never considered, in the confusion and hurry attending all [Page 255] their plans and conversations, and a cir­cumstance which, though to him it might have occurred, he could not in common delicacy mention.

Yet to have quitted her house, and re­trenched her expences, would have raised suspicions that must have anticipated the discovery she so much wished to have de­layed. That wish, by the present danger of its failure, was but more ardent; to have her affairs and situation become pub­licly known at the present period, she felt would half distract her.—Privately mar­ried, parted from her husband at the very moment of their union, a husband by whose hand the apparent friend of her earliest youth was all but killed, whose father had execrated the match, whose mother was now falling a sacrifice to the vehemence with which she had opposed it, and who him­self, little short of an exile, knew not yet if, with personal safety, he might return to his native land!

To circumstances so dreadful, she had now the additional shock of being uncer­tain whether her own house might not be seized, before any other could be prepar­ed for her reception!

Yet still whither to go, what to do, or what to resolve, she was wholly unable to [Page 256] determine; and after meditating almost to madness in the search of some plan or ex­pedient, she was obliged to give over the attempt, and be satisfied with remaining quietly where she was, till she had better news from Delvile of his mother, or better news to send him of Mr. Monckton; care­fully, mean time, in all her letters avoiding to alarm him by any hint of her distress.

Yet was she not idle, either from despair or helplessness: she found her difficulties encreased, and she called forth more resolu­tion to combat them: she animated herself by the promise she had made Delvile, and recovering from the sadness to which she had at first given way, she now exerted herself with vigour to perform it as she ought.

She began by making an immediate in­spection into her affairs, and endeavouring, where expence seemed unnecessary, to lessen it. She gave Henrietta to understand she feared they must soon part; and so afflic­ted was the unhappy girl at the news, that she found it the most cruel office she had to execute. The same intimation she gave to Mrs. Harrel, who repined at it more openly, but with a selfishness so evi­dent that it blunted the edge of pity. She then announced to Albany her inability to pursue, at present, their extensive schemes [Page 257] of benevolence; and though he instantly left her, to carry on his laborious plan else­where, the reverence she had now excited in him of her character, made him leave her with no sensation but of regret, and readily promise to return when her affairs were settled, or her mind more composed.

These little preparations, which were all she could make, with enquiries after Mr. Monckon, and writing to Delvile, suffi­ciently filled up her time, though her thoughts were by no means confined to them. Day after day passed, and Mr. Monckton continued to linger rather than live; the letters of Delvile, still only dated from Ostend, contained the most melan­choly complaints of the illness of his mo­ther; and the time advanced when her an­swer would be claimed by the attorney.

The thought of such another visit was almost intolerable; and within two days of the time that she expected it, she resolved to endeavour herself to prevail with Mr. Eggleston to wait longer.

Mr. Eggleston was a gentleman whom she knew little more than by sight; he was no relation to her family, nor had any connection with the Dean, but by being a cousin to a lady he had married, and who had left him no children. The dean had no particular regard for him, and had rather [Page 258] mentioned him in his will as the suc­cessor of Cecilia, in case she died unmar­ried or changed her name, as a mark that he approved of her doing neither, than as a matter he thought probable, if even possi­ble, to turn out in his favour.

He was a man of a large family, the sons of which, who were extravagant and dissipated, had much impaired his fortune by prevailing with him to pay their debts, and much distressed him in his affairs by successfully teasing him for money.

Cecilia, acquainted with these circum­stances, knew but too well with what avi­dity her estate would be seized by them, and how little the sons would endure de­lay, even if the father consented to it. Yet since the sacrifice to which she had agreed must soon make it indisputably their own, she determined to deal with them openly; and acknowledged, therefore, in her letter, her marriage without disguise, but begged their patience and secresy, and promised, in a short time, the most honourable retri­bution and satisfaction.

She sent this letter by a man and horse, Mr. Eggleston's habitation being within fifteen miles of her own.

The answer was from his eldest son, who acquainted her that his father was very ill, and had put all his affairs into the hands of [Page 259] Mr. Carn, his attorney, who was a man of great credit, and would see justice done on all sides.

If this answer, which she broke open the instant she took it into her hand, was in itself a cruel disappointment to her, how was that disappointment embittered by shame and terror, when, upon again fold­ing it up, she saw it was directed to Mrs. Mortimer Delvile!

This was a decisive stroke; what they wrote to her, she was sure they would men­tion to all others; she saw they were too impatient for her estate to be moved by any representations to a delay, and that their eagerness to publish their right, took from them all consideration of what they might make her suffer. Mr. Eggleston, she found, permitted himself to be wholly governed by his son; his son was a needy and profligate spendthrift, and by throw­ing the management of the affair into the hands of an attorney, craftily meant to shield himself from the future resentment of Delvile, to whom, hereafter, he might af­fect, at his convenience, to disapprove Mr. Carn's behaviour, while Mr. Carn was al­ways secure, by averring he only exerted himself for the interest of his client.

The discerning Cecilia, though but little experienced in business, and wholly un­suspicious [Page 260] by nature, yet saw into this ma­nagement, and doubted not these excuses were already arranged. She had only, therefore, to save herself an actual eject­ment, by quitting a house in which she was exposed to such a disgrace.

But still whither to go she knew not! One only attempt seemed in her power for an honourable asylum, and that was more irk­somely painful to her than seeking shelter in the meanest retreat: it was applying to Mr. Delvile senior.

The action of leaving her house, whether quietly or forcibly, could not but instantly authenticate the reports spread by the Eggle­stons of her marriage: to hope therefore for secresy any longer would be folly, and Mr. Delvile's rage at such intelligence might be still greater to hear it by chance than from herself. She now lamented that Del­vile had not at once told the tale, lit­tle foreseeing such a discovery as the pre­sent, they had mutually concluded to defer the communication till his return.

Her own anger at the contemptuous ill treatment she had repeatedly met from him, she was now content not merely to suppress but to dismiss, since, as the wife of his son without his consent, she considered herself no longer as wholly innocent of incurring it. Yet, such was her dread of his austerity [Page 261] and the arrogance of his reproaches, that, by choice, she would have preferred an habitation with her own pensioner, the pew-opener, to the grandest apartment in Delvile Castle while he continued its lord.

In her present situation, however, her choice was little to be consulted: the ho­nour of Delvile was concerned in her escap­ing even temporary disgrace, and nothing, she knew, would so much gratify him, as any attention from her to his father. She wrote to him, therefore, the following let­ter, which she sent by an express.



I should not, even by letter, presume thus to force myself upon your remem­brance, did I not think it a duty I now owe your son, both to risk and to bear the dis­pleasure it may unhappily occasion. After such an acknowledgment, all other con­fession would be superfluous; and uncer­tain as I am if you will ever deign to own me, more words than are necessary would be merely impertinent.

It was the intention of your son, Sir, when he left the kingdom, to submit wholly [Page 262] to your arbitration, at his return, which should be resigned, his own name or my fortune: but his request for your decision, and his supplication for your forgiveness, are both, most unfortunately, prevented, by a premature and unforeseen discovery of our situation, which renders an immediate determination absolutely unavoidable.

At this distance from him, I cannot, in time, receive his directions upon the mea­sures I have to take; pardon me then, Sir, if well knowing my reference to him will not be more implicit than his own to you, I venture, in the present important crisis of my affairs, to entreat those commands instantly, by which I am certain of being guided ultimately.

I would commend myself to your favour but that I dread exciting your resentment. I will detain you, therefore, only to add, that the father of Mr. Mortimer Devile, will ever meet the most profound respect from her who, without his permission, dares sign no name to the honour she now has in declaring herself

his most humble, and most obedient servant.

Her mind was somewhat easier when this letter was written, because she thought it a duty, yet felt reluctance in performing it. [Page 263] She wished to have represented to him strongly the danger of Delvile's hearing her distress, but she knew so well his inordinate self-sufficiency, she feared a hint of that sort might be construed into an insult, and con­cluded her only chance that he would do any thing, was by leaving wholly to his own suggestions the weighing and settling what.

But though nothing was more uncertain than whether she should be received at Del­vile Castle, nothing was more fixed than that she must quit her own house, since the pride of Mr. Delvile left not even a chance that his interest would conquer it. She de­ferred not, therefore, any longer making preparations for her removal, though wholly unsettled whither.

Her first, which was also her most pain­ful task, was to acquaint Henrietta with her situation: she sent, therefore, to desire to speak with her, but the countenance of Henrietta shewed her communication would not surprise her.

‘"What is the matter with my dear Hen­rietta?"’ cried Cecilia; ‘"who is it has al­ready afflicted that kind heart which I am now compelled to afflict for myself?"’

Henrietta, in whom anger appeared to be struggling with sorrow, answered, ‘"No, [Page 264] madam, not afflicted for you! it would be strange if I were, thinking as I think!"’

‘"I am glad,"’ said Cecilia, calmly, ‘"if you are not, "for I would give to you, were it possible, nothing but pleasure and joy."’

‘"Ah madam!"’ cried Henrietta, burst­ing into tears, ‘"why will you say so when you don't care what becomes of me! when you are going to cast me off!—and when you will soon be too happy ever to think of me more!"’

‘"If I am never happy till then,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"sad, indeed, will be my life! no, my gentlest friend, you will always have your share in my heart; and always, to me, would have been the welcomest guest in my house, but for those unhappy circum­stances which make our separating inevi­table."’

‘"Yet you suffered me, madam, to hear from any body that you was married and going away; and all the common servants in the house knew it before me."’

‘"I am amazed!"’ said Cecilia; ‘"how and which way can they have heard it?"’

‘"The man that went to Mr. Eggleston brought the first news of it, for he said all the servants there talked of nothing else, and that their master was to come and take possession here next Thursday."’

[Page 265] Cecilia started at this most unwelcome intelligence; ‘"Yet you envy me,"’ she cried, ‘"Henrietta, though I am forced from my house! though in quitting it, I am unprovided with any other, and though him for whom I relinquish it, is far off, without means of protecting, or power of returning to me!"’

‘"But you are married to him, madam!"’ cried she, expressively.

‘"True, my love; but, also, I am parted from him!"’

‘"Oh how differently,"’ exclaimed Hen­rietta, ‘"do the great think from the little! were I married,—and so married, I should want neither house, nor fine cloaths, nor riches, nor any thing;—I should not care where I lived,—every place would be para­dise! I would walk to him barefoot if he were a thousand miles off, and I should mind nobody else in the world while I had him to take care of me!"’

Ah Delvile! thought Cecilia, what powers of fascination are yours! should I be tempted to repine at what I have to bear, I will think of this heroick girl, and blush!

Mrs. Harrel now broke in upon them, eager to be informed of the truth or false­hood of the reports which were buzzed [Page 266] throughout the house. Cecilia briefly re­lated to them both the state of her affairs, earnestly expressing her concern at the abrupt separation which must take place, and for which she had been unable to pre­pare them, as the circumstances which led to it had been wholly unforeseen by her­self.

Mrs. Harrel listened to the account with much curiosity and surprize; but Henrietta wept incessantly in hearing it: the object of a passion ardent as it was romantic, lost to her past recovery; torn herself, probably for ever, from the best friend she had in the world; and obliged to return thus suddenly to an home she detested,—Henrietta pos­sessed not the fortitude to hear evils such as these, which, to her inexperienced heart, appeared the severest that could be inflict­ed.

This conversation over, Cecilia sent for her Steward, and desired him, with the ut­most expedition, to call in all her bills, and instantly to go round to her tenants within twenty miles, and gather in, from those who were able to pay, the arrears now due to her; charging him, however, upon no ac­count, to be urgent with such as seemed distressed.

The bills she had to pay were collected [Page 267] without difficulty; she never owed much, and creditors are seldom hard of access; but the money she hoped to receive fell very short of her expectations, for the indul­gence she had shewn to her tenants had ill prepared them for so sudden a demand.


THIS business effectually occupied the present and following day; the third, Cecilia expected her answer from Delvile Castle, and the visit she so much dreaded from the attorney.

The answer arrived first.



As my son has never apprized me of the extraordinary step which your letter in­timates, I am too unwilling to believe him capable of so far forgetting what he owes his family, to ratify any such intimation by interfering with my counsel or opinion.

I am, Madam, &c. COMPTON DELVILE.

Cecilia had little right to be surprised by this letter, and she had not a moment to [Page 269] comment upon it, before the attorney ar­rived.

‘"Well, madam,"’ said the man, as he entered the parlour, ‘"Mr. Eggleston has stayed your own time very patiently: he commissions me now to enquire if it is convenient to you to quit the premises."’

‘"No, Sir, it is by no means convenient to me; and if Mr. Eggleston will wait some time longer, I shall be greatly obliged to him."’

‘"No doubt, madam, but he will, upon proper considerations."’

‘"What, Sir, do you call proper?"’

‘"Upon your advancing to him, as I hinted before, an immediate particular sum from what must, by and bye, be legally restituted."’

‘"If this is the condition of his courte­sy, I will quit the house without giving him further trouble."’

‘"Just as it suits you, madam. He will be glad to take possession to-morrow or next day."’

‘"You did well, Sir, to commend his patience! I shall, however, merely dis­charge my servants, and settle my accounts, and be ready to make way for him."’

‘"You will not take it amiss, madam, if I remind you that the account with Mr. Eggleston must be the first that is settled."’

[Page 270] ‘"If you mean the arrears of this last fortnight or three weeks, I believe I must desire him to wait Mr. Delvile's return, as I may otherwise myself be distressed for ready money."’

‘"That, madam, is not likely, as it is well known you have a fortune that was independent of your late uncle; and as to distress for ready money, it is a plea Mr. Eggleston can urge much more strongly."’

‘"This is being strangely hasty, Sir!—so short a time as it is since Mr. Eggleston could expect any part of this estate!"’

‘"That, madam, is nothing to the pur­pose; from the moment it is his, he has as many wants for it as any other gentle­man. He desired me, however, to acquaint you, that if you still chose an apartment in this house, till Mr. Delvile returns, you shall have one at your service."’

‘"To be a guest in this house, Sir,"’ said Cecilia, drily, ‘"might perhaps seem strange to me; I will not, therefore, be so much in his way."’

Mr. Cran then informed her she might put her seal upon whatever she meant here­after to claim or dispute, and took his leave.

Cecilia now shut herself up in her own room, to meditate without interruption, before she would proceed to any action. [Page 271] She felt much inclination to send instantly for some lawyer; but when she considered her peculiar situation, the absence of her husband, the renunciation of his father, the loss of her fortune, and her ignorance upon the subject, she thought it better to rest quiet till Delvile's own fate, and own opinion could be known, than to involve herself in a lawsuit she was so little able to superintend.

In this cruel perplexity of her mind and her affairs, her first thought was to board again with Mrs. Bayley; but that was soon given up, for she felt a repugnance uncon­querable to continuing in her native coun­ty, when deprived of her fortune, and cast out of her dwelling. Her situation, in­deed, was singularly unhappy, since, by this unforeseen vicissitude of fortune, she was suddenly, from being an object of envy and admiration, sunk into distress, and threatened with disgrace; from being every where caressed, and by every voice praised, she blushed to be seen, and ex­pected to be censured; and, from being generally regarded as an example of hap­piness, and a model of virtue, she was now in one moment to appear to the world, an outcast from her own house, yet received into no other! a bride, unclaimed by a [Page 272] husband! an HEIRESS, dispossessed of all wealth!

To be first acknowledged as Mrs. Delvile in a state so degrading, she could not en­dure; and to escape from it, one way alone remained, which was going instantly abroad.

Upon this, therefore, she finally de­termined: her former objections to such a step being now wholly, though unpleasantly removed, since she had neither estate nor affairs to demand her stay, and since all hopes of concealment were totally at an end. Her marriage, therefore, and its disgraceful consequences being published to the world, she resolved without delay to seek the only asylum which was proper for her, in the protection of the husband for whom she had given up every other.

She purposed, therefore, to go imme­diately and privately to London, whence she could best settle her route for the con­tinent: where she hoped to arrive before the news of her distress reached Delvile, whom nothing, she was certain, but her own presence, could keep there for a mo­ment after hearing it.

Thus decided, at length, in her plan, she proceeded to put it in execution with calmness and intrepidity; comforting her­self that the conveniencies and indulgencies [Page 273] with which she was now parting, would soon be restored to her, and though not with equal power, with far more satisfac­tion. She told her steward her design of going the next morning to London, bid him pay instantly all her debts, and dis­charge all her servants, determining to keep no account open but that with Mr. Eggleston, which he had made so intricate by double and undue demands, that she thought it most prudent and safe to leave him wholly to Delvile.

She then packed up all her papers and letters, and ordered her maid to pack up her clothes.

She next put her own seal upon her cabi­nets, draws, and many other things, and employed almost all her servants at once, in making complete inventories of what every room contained.

She advised Mrs. Harrel to send without delay for Mr. Arnott, and return to his house. She had first purposed to carry Henrietta home to her mother herself; but another scheme for her now occurred, from which she hoped much future advantage to the amiable and dejected girl.

She knew well, that deep as was at pre­sent her despondency, the removal of all possibility of hope, by her knowledge of Delvile's marriage, must awaken her before [Page 274] long from the delusive visions of her romantic fancy; Mr. Arnott himself was in a situation exactly similar, and the know­ledge of the same event would probably be productive of the same effect. When Mrs. Harrel, therefore, began to repine at the solitude to which she was returning, Ceci­lia proposed to her the society of Henrietta, which, glad to catch at any thing that would break into her loneliness, she listened to with pleasure, and seconded by an invi­tation.

Henrietta, to whom all houses appeared preferable to her own home, joyfully ac­cepted the offer, committing to Cecilia the communication of the change of her abode to Mrs. Belfield.

Cecilia, who in the known and tried ho­nour of Mr. Arnott would unreluctantly have trusted a sister, was much pleased by this little arrangement, from which should no good ensue, no evil, at least, was pro­bable. But she hoped, through the mutual pity their mutual melancholy might inspire, that their minds, already not dissimilar, would be softened in favour of each other, and that, in conclusion, each might be hap­py in receiving the consolation each could give, and a union would take place, in which their reciprocal disappointment might, in time, be nearly forgotten.

[Page 275] There was not, indeed, much promise of such an event in the countenance of Mr. Arnott, when, late at night, he came for his sister, nor in the unbounded sorrow of Henrietta, when the moment of leave-tak­ing arrived. Mr. Arnott looked half dead with the shock his sister's intelligence had given him, and Henrietta's heart, torn asunder between friendship and love, was scarce able to bear a parting, which from Cecilia, she regarded as eternal, added to the consciousness it was occasioned by her going to join Delvile for life!

Cecilia, who both read and pitied these conflicting emotions, was herself extremely hurt by this necessary separation. She tenderly loved Henrietta, she loved her even the more for the sympathy of their affections, which called forth the most for­cible commiseration,—that which springs from fellow feeling!

‘"Farewell,"’ she cried, ‘"my Henrietta, be but happy as you are innocent, and be both as I love you, and nothing will your friends have to wish for you, or yourself to regret."’

‘"I must always regret,"’ cried the sob­bing Henrietta, ‘"that I cannot live with you for ever! I should regret it if I were queen of all the world, how much more then, when I am nothing and nobody! I [Page 276] do not wish you happy, madam, for I think happiness was made on purpose for you, and nobody else ever had it before; I only wish you health and long life, for the sake of those who will be made as happy as you,—for you will spoil them,—as you have spoilt me,—from being ever happy without you!"’

Cecilia re-iterated her assurances of a most faithful regard, embraced Mrs. Har­rel, spoke words of kindness to the droop­ing Mr. Arnott, and then parted with them all.

Having still many small matters to settle, and neither company nor appetite, she would eat no supper; but, in passing thro' the hall, in her way to her own room, she was much surprised to see all her domestics assembled in a body. She stopt to enquire their intention, when they eagerly pressed forward, humbly and earnestly entreating to know why they were discharged?

‘"For no reason in the world,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"but because it is at present out of my power to keep you any longer."’

‘"Dont part with me, madam, for that,"’ cried one of them, ‘"for I will serve you for nothing!"’

‘"So will I!"’ cried another, ‘"And I!"’ ‘"And I!"’ was echoed by them all; while ‘"no other such mistress is to be found?"’ [Page 277] ‘"We can never bear any other place!"’ and ‘"keep me, madam, at least!"’ was even cla­morously urged by each of them.

Cecilia, distressed and slattered at once by their unwillingness to quit her, received this testimony of gratitude for the kind and liberal treatment they had received, with the warmest thanks both for their services and fidelity, and assured them that when again she was settled, all those who should be yet unprovided with places, should be preferred in her house before any other claimants.

Having, with difficulty, broken from them, she sent for her own man, Ralph, who had lived with her many years before the death of the Dean, and told him she meant still to continue him in her service. The man heard it with great delight, and promised to re-double his deligence to de­serve her favour. She then communicated the same news to her maid, who had also resided with her some years, and by whom with the same, or more pleasure it was heard.

These and other regulations employed her almost all night; yet late and fatigued as she went to bed, she could not close her eyes: fearful something was left undone, she robbed herself of the short time she had allowed to rest, by incessant meditation [Page 278] upon what yet remained to be executed. She could recollect, however, one only thing that had escaped her vigilance, which was acquainting the pew-opener, and two or three other poor women who had week­ly pensions from her, that they must, at least for the present, depend no longer upon her assistance.

Nothing indeed could be more painful to her than giving them such information, yet not to be speedy with it would double the barbarity of their disappointment. She even felt for these poor women, whose loss in her she knew would be irreparable, a compassion that drove from her mind al­most every other subject, and determined her, in order to soften to them this mis­fortune, to communicate it herself, that she might prevent their from sinking under it, by reviving them with hopes of her future assistance.

She had ordered at seven o'clock in the morning an hired chaise at the door, and she did not suffer it long to wait for her. She quitted her house with a heart full of care and anxiety, grieving at the necessity of making such a sacrifice, uncertain how it would turn out, and labouring under a thousand perplexities with respect to the measures she ought immediately to take. She passed, when she reached the hall, [Page 279] through a row of weeping domestics, not one of whom with dry eyes could see the house bereft of such a mistress. She spoke to them all with kindness, and as much as was in her power with chearfulness: but the tone of her voice gave them little reason to think the concern at this journey was all their own.

She ordered her chaise to drive round to the pew-opener's, and thence to the rest of her immediate dependents. She soon, however, regretted that she had given her­self this task; the affliction of these poor pensioners was clamorous, was almost heart-breaking; they could live, they said, no longer, they were ruined for ever; they should soon be without bread to eat, and they might cry for help in vain, when their generous, their only benefactress was far away!

Cecilia made the kindest efforts to com­fort and encourage them, assuring them the very moment her own affairs were arranged, she would remember them all, visit them herself, and contribute to their relief, with all the power she should have left. No­thing, however, could console them; they clung about her, almost took the horses from the chaise, and conjured her not to desert those who were solely cherished by her bounty!

[Page 280] Nor was this all she had to suffer; the news of her intention to quit the county was now reported throughout the neigh­bourhood, and had spread the utmost con­sternation among the poor in general, and the lower class of her own tenants in parti­cular, and the road was soon lined with women and children, wringing their hands and crying. They followed her carriage with supplications that she would return to them, mixing blessings with their lamen­tations, and prayers for her happiness with the bitterest repinings at their own loss!

Cecilia was extremely affected; her li­beral and ever-ready hand was every other instant involuntarily seeking her purse, which her many immediate expences, made her prudence as often check: and now first she felt the capital error she had committed, in living constantly to the utmost extent of her income, without ever preparing, though so able to have done it, against any unfor­tunate contingency.

When she escaped, at last, from receiv­ing any longer this painful tribute to her benevolence, she gave orders to her man to ride forward, and stop at the Grove, that a precise and minute account of Mr. Monck­ton, might be the last, as it was now be­come the most important, news she should hear in Suffolk. This he did, when to her [Page 281] equal surprise and delight, she heard that he was suddenly so much better, there were hopes of his recovery.

Intelligence so joyful made her amends for almost every thing; yet she hesitated not in her plan of going abroad, as she knew not where to be in England, and could not endure to hurry Delvile from his sick mother, by acquainting him with her helpless and distressed situation. But so revived were her spirits by these unexpected tidings, that a gleam of brightest hope once more danced before her eyes, and she felt herself invigorated with fresh courage and new strength, sufficient to support her through all hardships and fatigues.

Spirits and courage were indeed much wanted for the enterprize she had formed; but little used to travelling, and having never been out of England, she knew nothing of the route but by a general knowledge of geography, which, though it could guide her east or west, could teach her nothing of foreign customs, the preparations necessary for the journey, the impositions she should guard against, nor the various dangers to which she might be exposed, from total ig­norance of the country through which she had to pass.

Conscious of these deficiencies for such an undertaking, she deliberated without intermission [Page 282] how to obviate them. Yet some­times, when to these hazards, those arising from her youth and sex were added, she was upon the point of relinquishing her scheme, as too perilous for execution, and resolving to continue privately in London till some change happened in her affairs.

But though to every thing she could suggest, doubts and difficulties arose, she had no friend to consult, nor could devise any means by which they might be termi­nated. Her maid was her only compa­nion, and Ralph, who had spent almost his whole life in Suffolk, her only guard and attendant. To hire immediately some French servant, used to travelling in his own country, seemed the first step she had to take, and so essential, that no other ap­peared feasible till it was done. But where to hear of such a man she could not tell, and to take one not well recommended, would be exposing herself to frauds and dangers innumerable.

Yet so slow as Delvile travelled, from whom her last letter was still dated Ostend, she thought herself almost certain, could she once reach the continent, of overtaking him in his route within a day or two of her landing.

The earnest inclination with which this scheme was seconded, made her every moment [Page 283] less willing to forego it. It seemed the only harbour for her after the storm she had weathered, and the only refuge she could properly seek while thus houseless and helpless. Even were Delvile in Eng­land, he had no place at present to offer her, nor could any thing be proposed so unexceptionable as her living with Mrs. Delvile at Nice, till he knew his father's pleasure, and, in a separate journey home, had arranged his affairs either for her re­turn, or her continuance abroad.

With what regret did she now look back to the time when, in a distress such as this, she should have applied for, and received the advice of Mr. Monckton as oracular! The loss of a counsellor so long, so impli­citly relied upon, lost to her also, only by his own interested worthlessness, she felt al­most daily, for almost daily some intricacy or embarrassment made her miss his assist­ance: and though glad, since she found him so undeserving, that she had escaped the snares he had spread for her, she griev­ed much that she knew no man of honest character and equal abilities, that would care for her sufficiently to supply his place in her confidence.

As she was situated at present, she could think only of Mr. Belfield to whom she could apply for any advice. Nor even to [Page 284] him was the application unexceptionable, the calumnies of Mr. Delvile senior making it disagreeable to her even to see him. But he was at once a man of the world and a man of honour; he was the friend of Morti­mer, whose confidence in him was great, and his own behaviour had uniformly shewn a respect far removed from impertinence or vanity, and a mind superior to being led to them by the influence of his gross mother. She had, indeed, when she last quitted his house, determined never to re-enter it; but determinations hasty or violent, are rarely observed, because rarely practicable; she had promised Henrietta to inform Mrs. Belfield whither she was gone, and recon­cile her to the absence she still hoped to make from home. She concluded, there­fore, to go to Portland-Street without de­lay, and enquire openly and at once whether, and when, she might speak with Mr. Bel­field; resolving, if tormented again by any forward insinuations, to rectify all mistakes by acknowledging her marriage.

She gave directions accordingly to the post-boy and Ralph.

With respect to her own lodgings while in town, as money was no longer unimport­ant to her, she meant from the Befields to go to the Hills, by whom she might be re­commended to some reputable and cheap [Page 285] place. To the Belfields, however, though very late when she arrived in town, she went first, unwilling to lose a moment in promoting her scheme of going abroad.

She left her maid in the chaise, and sent Ralph on to Mrs. Hill, with directions to endeavour immediately to procure her a lodging.


CECILIA was shewn into a parlour, where Mrs. Belfield was very earnestly discoursing with Mr. Hobson and Mr. Sim­kins; and Belfield himself, to her great sa­tisfaction, was already there, and reading.

‘"Lack-a-day!"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, ‘"if one does not always see the people one's talk­ing of! Why it was but this morning, ma­dam, I was saying to Mr. Hobson, I wonder, says I, a young lady of such fortunes as Miss Beverley should mope herself up so in the country! Don't you remember it, Mr. Hobson?"’

‘"Yes, madam,"’ answered Mr. Hobson, ‘"but I think, for my part, the young lady's quite in the right to do as she's a mind; for that's what I call living agree­able: and if I was a young lady to-mor­row, with such fine fortunes, and that, it's just what I should do myself: for what I say is this: where's the joy of having a little money, and being a little matter above the world, if one has not one's own will?"’

‘"Ma'am,"’ said Mr. Simkins, who had scarce yet raised his head from the profound­ness of his bow upon Cecilia's entrance into [Page 287] the room, ‘"if I may be so free, may I make bold just for to offer you this chair?"’

‘"I called, madam,"’ said Cecilia, seizing the first moment in her power to speak, ‘"in order to acquaint you that your daughter, who is perfectly well, has made a little change in her situation, which she was anxious you should hear from myself."’

‘"Ha! ha! stolen a match upon you, I warrant!"’ cried the facetious Mr. Hobson; ‘"a good example for you, young lady; and if you take my advice, you won't be long before you follow it; for as to a lady, let her be worth never so much, she's a mere nobody, as one may say, till she can get herself a husband, being she knows no­thing of business, and is made to pay for every thing through the nose."’

‘"Fie, Mr. Hobson, fie!"’ said Mr. Simkins, ‘"to talk so slighting of the ladies before their faces! what one says in a cor­ner, is quite of another nature; but for to talk so rude in their company,—I thought you would scorn to do such a thing."’

‘"Sir, I don't want to be rude no more than yourself,"’ said Mr. Hobson; ‘"for what I say is, rudeness is a thing that makes nobody agreeable; but I don't see because of that, why a man is not to speak his mind to a lady as well as to a gentleman, provid­ed he does it in a complaisant fashion."’

[Page 288] ‘"Mr. Hobson,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, very impatiently, ‘"you might as well let me speak, when the matter is all about my own daughter."’

‘"I ask pardon, ma'am,"’ said he, ‘"I did not mean to stop you; for as to not letting a lady speak, one might as well tell a man in business not to look at the Daily Advertiser; why, its morally impossible!"’

‘"But sure, madam,"’ cried Mrs. Bel­field, ‘"it's no such thing? You can't have got her off already?"’

I would I had! thought Cecilia; who then explained her meaning; but in talk­ing of Mrs. Harrel, avoided all mention of Mr. Arnott, well foreseeing that to hear such a man existed, and was in the same house with her daughter, would be sufficient au­thority to her sanguine expectations, for de­pending upon a union between them, and reporting it among her friends.

This circumstance being made clear, Ce­cilia added, ‘"I could by no means have consented voluntarily to parting so soon with Miss Belfield, but that my own affairs call me at present out of the kingdom."’ And then, addressing herself to Belfield, she enquired if he could recommend to her a trusty foreign servant, who would be hired only for the time she was to spend abroad?

While Belfield was endeavouring to recollect [Page 289] some such person, Mr. Hobson eager­ly called out ‘"As to going abroad, madam, to be sure you're to do as you like, for that, as I say, is the soul of every thing; but else I can't say it's a thing I much approve; for my notion is this; here's a fine fortune, got as a man may say, out of the bowels of one's mother country, and this fine fortune, in default of male issue, is obliged to come to a female, the law making no proviso to the contrary. Well, this female, going into a strange country, naturally takes with her this fortune, by reason it's the main article she has to depend upon; what's the upshot? why she gets pilfered by a set of sharpers that never saw England in their lives, and that never lose sight of her till she has not a sous in the world. But the hardship of the thing is this; when it's all gone, the lady can come back, but will the money come back?—No, you'll never see it again: now this is what I call being no true patriot."’

‘"I am quite ashamed for to hear you talk so, Mr. Hobson!"’ cried Mr. Simkins, affecting to whisper; ‘"to go for to take a person to task at this rate, is behaving quite unbearable; it's enough to make the young lady afraid to speak before you."’

‘"Why, Mr. Simkins,"’ answered Mr. Hobson, ‘"Truth is truth, whether one speaks it or not; and that, ma'am, I dare [Page 290] say, a young lady of your good sense knows as well as myself."’

‘"I think, madam,"’ said Belfield, who waited their silence with great impatience, ‘"that I know just such a man as you will require, and one upon whose honesty I be­lieve you may rely."’

‘"That's more,"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"than I would take upon me to say for any Englishman! where you may meet with such a Frenchman, I won't be bold to say."’

‘"Why indeed,"’ said Mr. Simkins, ‘"if I might take the liberty for to put in, though I don't mean in no shape to go to contradict­ing the young gentleman, but if I was to make bold to speak my private opinion upon the head, I should be inclinable for to say, that as to putting a dependance upon the French, it's a thing quite dubious how it may turn out."’

‘"I take it as a great favour, ma'am,"’ said Mrs. Belfield, ‘"that you have been so complaisant as to make me this visit to­night, for I was almost afraid you would not have done me the favour any more; for, to be sure, when you was here last, things went a little unlucky: but I had no notion, for my part, who the old gentleman was till after he was gone, when Mr. Hob­son told me it was old Mr. Delvile: though, sure enough, I thought it rather upon the [Page 291] extraordinary order, that he should come here into my parlour, and make such a se­cret of his name, on purpose to ask me ques­tions about my own son."’

‘"Why I think, indeed, if I may be so free,"’ said Mr. Simkins, ‘"it was rather petickeler of the gentleman; for, to be sure, if he was so over curious to hear about your private concerns, the genteel thing, if I may take the liberty for to differ, would have been for him to say, ma'am, says he, I'm come to ask the favour of you just to let me a little into your son's goings on; and any thing, ma'am, you should take a fancy for to ask me upon the return, why I shall be very compliable, ma'am, says he, to giving of you satisfaction."’

‘"I dare say,"’ answered Mrs. Belfield, ‘"he would not have said so much if you'd have gone down on your knees to ask him. Why he was upon the very point of being quite in a passion because I only asked him his name! though what harm that could do him, I'm sure I never could guess. How­ever, as he was so mighty inquisitive about my son, if I had but known who he was in time, I should have made no scruple in the world to ask him if he could not have spoke a few words for him to some of those great people that could have done him some good. But the thing that I believe put him [Page 292] so out of humour, was my being so unlucky as to say, before ever I knew who he was, that I had heard he was not over and above good-natured; for I saw he did not seem much to like it at the time."’

‘"If he had done the generous thing,"’ said Mr. Simkins, ‘"it would have been for him to have made the proffer of his ser­vices of his own free-will; and it's rather surpriseable to me he should never have thought of it; for what could be so natural as for him to say, I see, ma'am, says he, you've got a very likely young gentleman here, that's a little out of cash, says he, so I suppose, ma'am, says he, a place, or a pension, or something in that shape of life, would be no bad compliment, says he."’

‘"But no such good luck as that will come to my share,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, ‘"I can tell you that, for every thing I want to do goes quite contrary. Who would not have thought such a son as mine, though I say it before his face, could not have made his fortune long ago, living as he did, among all the great folks, and din­ing at their table just like one of themselves? yet, for all that, you see they let him go on his own way, and think of him no more than of nobody! I'm sure they might be ashamed to shew their faces, and so I should tell them at once, if I could but get sight of them."’

[Page 293] ‘"I don't mean, ma'am,"’ said Mr. Sim­kins, ‘"for to be finding fault with what you say, for I would not be unpelite in no shape; but if I might be so free as for to differ a little bit, I must needs say I am ra­ther for going to work in anotherguess sort of a manner; and if I was as you—"’

‘"Mr. Simkins,"’ interrupted Belfield, ‘"we will settle this matter another time."’ And then, turning to the wearied Cecilia, ‘"The man, madam,"’ he said, ‘"whom I have done myself the honour to recommend to you, I can see to-morrow morning; may I then tell him to wait upon you?"’

‘"I ask pardon for just putting in,"’ cried Mr. Simkins, before Cecilia could answer, and again bowing down to the ground, ‘"but I only mean to say I had no thought for to be impertinent, for as to what I was a going to remark, it was not of no conse­quence in the least."’

‘"Its a great piece of luck, ma'am,"’ said Mrs. Belfield, ‘"that you should happen to come here, of a holiday! If my son had not been at home, I should have been ready to cry for a week: and you might come any day the year through but a Sunday, and not meet with him any more than if he had never a home to come to."’

‘"If Mr. Belfield's home-visits are so periodical,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"it must be rather [Page 294] less, than more, difficult to meet with him."’

‘"Why you know, ma'am,"’ answered Mrs. Belfield, ‘"to day is a red-letter day, so that's the reason of it."’

‘"A red-letter day?"’

‘"Good lack, madam, why have not you heard that my son is turned book-keeper?"’

Cecilia, much surprised, looked at Bel­field, who, colouring very high, and ap­parently much provoked by his mother's loquacity, said, ‘"Had Miss Beverley not heard it even now, madam, I should pro­bably have lost with her no credit."’

‘"You can surely lose none, Sir,"’ an­swered Cecilia, ‘"by an employment too little pleasant to have been undertaken from any but the most laudable motives."’

‘"It is not, madam, the employment,"’ said he, ‘"for which I so much blush as for the person employed—for myself! In the beginning of the winter you left me just en­gaged in another business, a business with which I was madly delighted, and fully per­suaded I should be enchanted for ever;—now, again, in the beginning of the sum­mer,—you find me, already, in a new oc­cupation!"’

‘"I am sorry,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"but far indeed from surprised, that you found yourself [Page 295] deceived by such sanguine expecta­tions."’

‘"Deceived!"’ cried he, with energy, ‘"I was bewitched, I was infatuated! common sense was estranged by the seduction of a chimera; my understanding was in a ferment from the ebullition of my imagination! But when this new way of life lost its novelty,—novelty! that short-liv'd, but exquisite bliss! no sooner caught than it vanishes, no sooner tasted than it is gone! which charms but to fly, and comes but to destroy what it leaves behind!—when that was lost, rea­son, cool, heartless reason, took its place, and teaching me to wonder at the frenzy of my folly, brought me back to the tameness—the sadness of reality!"’

‘"I am sure,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, ‘"what­ever it has brought you back to, it has brought you back to no good! it's a hard case, you must needs think, madam, to a mother, to see a son that might do what­ever he would, if he'd only set about it, contenting himself with doing nothing but scribble and scribe one day, and when he gets tired of that, thinking of nothing better than casting up two and two!"’

‘"Why, madam,"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"what I have seen of the world is this; there's nothing methodizes a man but business. [Page 296] If he's never so much upon the stilts, that's always a sure way to bring him down, by reason he soon finds there's nothing to be got by rhodomontading. Let every man be his own carver; but what I say is, them gentlemen that are what one may call ge­niuses, commonly think nothing of the main chance, till they get a tap on the shoulder with a writ; and a solid lad, that knows three times five is fifteen, will get the better of them in the long run. But as to argu­ing with gentlemen of that sort, where's the good of it? You can never bring them to the point, say what you will; all you can get from them, is a farrago of fine words, that you can't understand without a dic­tionary."’

‘"I am inclinable to think,"’ said Mr. Simkins, ‘"that the young gentleman is rather of opinion to like pleasure better than business; and, to be sure, it's very excusable of him, because its more agreeabler. And I must needs say, if I may be so free, I'm partly of the young gentleman's mind, for business is a deal more trouble."’

‘"I hope, however,"’ said Cecilia to Bel­field, ‘"your present situation is less irk­some to you?"’

‘"Any situation, madam, must be less irksome than that which I quitted: to write by rule, to compose by necessity, to make [Page 297] the understanding, nature's first gift, subser­vient to interest, that meanest offspring of art!—when weary, listless, spiritless, to rack the head for invention, the memory for images, and the fancy for ornament and allusion; and when the mind is wholly oc­cupied by its own affections and affairs, to call forth all its faculties for foreign sub­jects, uninteresting discussions, or fictitious incidents!—Heavens! what a life of struggle between the head and the heart! how cruel, how unnatural a war between the intellects and the feelings!"’

‘"As to these sort of things,"’ said Mr. Hobson, ‘"I can't say I am much versed in them, by reason they are things I never much studied; but if I was to speak my notion, it is this; the best way to thrive in the world is to get money; but how is it to be got? Why by business: for business is to money, what fine words are to a lady, a sure road to success. Now I don't mean by this to be censorious upon the ladies, being they have nothing else to go by, for as to examining if a man knows any thing of the world, and that, they have nothing whereby to judge, knowing nothing of it them­selves. So that when they are taken in by rogues and sharpers, the fault is all in the law, for making no proviso against their having money in their own hands. Let [Page 298] every one be trusted according to their head­piece: and what I say is this: a lady in them cases is much to be pitied, for she is obligated to take a man upon his own credit, which is tantamount to no credit at all, being what man will speak an ill word of himself? you may as well expect a bad shil­ling to cry out don't take me! That's what I say, and that's my way of giving my vote."’

Cecilia, quite tired of these interruptions, and impatient to be gone, now said to Bel­field, ‘"I should be much obliged to you, Sir, if you could send to me the man you speak of to-morrow morning. I wished, also, to consult you with regard to the route I ought to take. My purpose is to go to Nice, and as I am very desirous to travel expeditiously, you may perhaps be able to instruct me what is the best method for me to pursue."’

‘"Come, Mr. Hobson and Mr. Sim­kins,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, with a look of much significance and delight, ‘"suppose you two and I was to walk into the next room? There's no need for us to hear all the young lady may have a mind to say."’

‘"She has nothing to say, madam,"’ cri­ed Cecilia, ‘"that the whole world may not hear. Neither is it my purpose to talk, but to listen, if Mr. Belfield is at leisure to fa­vour me with his advice."’

[Page 299] ‘"I must always be at leisure, and always be proud, madam,"’ Belfield began, when Hobson, interrupting him, said, ‘"I ask pardon, Sir, for intruding, but I only mean to wish the young lady good night. As to interfering with business, that's not my way, for it's not the right method, by rea­son—"’

‘"We will listen to your reason, Sir,"’ cried Belfield, ‘"some other time; at pre­sent we will give you all credit for it un­heard."’

‘"Let every man speak his own maxim, Sir,"’ cried Hobson; ‘"for that's what I call fair arguing: but as to one person's speaking, and then making an answer for another into the bargain, why it's going to work no-how; you may as well talk to a counter, and think because you make a noise upon it with your own hand, it gives you the reply."’

‘"Why, Mr. Hobson,"’ cried Mrs. Bel­field, ‘"I am quite ashamed of you for be­ing so dull! don't you see my son has some­thing to say to the lady that you and I have no business to be meddling with?"’

‘"I'm sure, ma'am, for my part,"’ said Mr. Simkins, ‘"I'm very agreeable to go­ing away, for as to putting the young lady to the blush, it's what I would not do [...] no shape."’

[Page 300] ‘"I only mean,"’ said Mr. Hobson, when he was interrupted by Mrs. Belfield, who, out of all patience, now turned him out of the room by the shoulders, and, pulling Mr. Simkins after, followed herself, and shut the door, though Cecilia, much pro­voked, desired she would stay, and declared repeatedly that all her business was public.

Belfield, who had looked ready to murder them all during this short scene, now ap­proached Cecilia, and with an air of ming­led spirit and respect, said, ‘"I am much grieved, much confounded, madam, that your ears should be offended by speeches so improper to reach them; yet if it is pos­sible I can have the honour of being of any use to you, in me, still, I hope, you feel you may confide. I am too distant from you in situation to give you reason to apprehend I can form any sinister views in serving you; and, permit me to add, I am too near you in mind, ever to give you the pain of bid­ding me remember that distance."’

Cecilia then, extremely unwilling to shock a sensibility not more generous than jealous, determined to continue her enquiries, and, at the same time, to prevent any further misapprehension, by revealing her actual situation.

‘"I am sorry, Sir,"’ she answered, ‘"to have occasioned this disturbance; Mrs. [Page 301] Belfield, I find, is wholly unacquainted with the circumstance which now carries me abroad, or it would not have happened."—’

Here a little noise in the passage inter­rupting her, she heard Mrs. Belfield, though in a low voice, say ‘"Hush, Sir, hush! you must not come in just now; you've caught me, I confess, rather upon the listening or­der; but to tell you the truth, I did not know what might be going forward. How­ever, there's no admittance now, I assure you, for my son's upon particular business with a lady, and Mr. Hobson and Mr. Simkins and I, have all been as good as turned out by them but just now."’

Cecilia and Belfie [...]d, though they heard this speech with mutual indignation, had no time to mark or express it, as it was an­swered without in a voice at once loud and furious, ‘"You, madam, may be content to listen here; pardon me if I am less humbly disposed!"’

And the door was abruptly opened by young Delvile!

Cecilia, who half screamed from excess of astonishment, would scarcely, even by the presence of Belfield and his mother, have been restrained from flying to meet him, had his own aspect invited such a mark of tenderness; but far other was the [Page 302] case; when the door was open, he stopt short with a look half petrified, his feet seeming rooted to the spot upon which they stood.

‘"I declare I ask pardon, ma'am,"’ cried Mrs. Belfield, ‘"but the interruption was no fault of mine, for the gentleman would come in; and—"’

‘"It is no interruption, madam;"’ cried Belfield, ‘"Mr. Delvile does me nothing but honour."’

‘"I thank you, Sir!"’ said Delvile, try­ing to recover and come forward, but tremb­ling violently, and speaking with the most frigid coldness.

They were then, for a few instants, all silent; Cecilia, amazed by his arrival, still more amazed by his behaviour, feared to speak lest he meant not, as yet, to avow his marriage, and felt a thousand apprehensi­ons that some new calamity had hurried him home: while Belfield was both hurt by his strangeness, and embarrassed for the sake of Cecilia; and his mother, though wonder­ing at them all, was kept quiet by her son's looks.

Delvile then, struggling for an appear­ance of more ease, said, ‘"I seem to have made a general confusion here:—pray, I beg"—’

[Page 303] ‘"None at all, Sir;"’ said Belfield, and offered a chair to Cecilia.

‘"No, Sir,"’ she answered, in a voice scarce audible, ‘"I was just going."’ And again rang the bell.

‘"I fear I hurry you, madam?"’ cried Delvile, whose whole frame was now shak­ing with uncontrollable emotion; ‘"you are upon business—I ought to beg your par­don—my entrance, I believe, was unfeason­able."—’

‘"Sir!"’ cried she, looking aghast at this speech.

‘"I should have been rather surprised,"’ he added, ‘"to have met you here, so late,—so unexpectedly,—so deeply engaged—had I not happened to see your servant in the street, who told me the honour I should be likely to have by coming."’

‘"Good God!—"’ exclaimed she, invo­luntarily; but, checking herself as well as she could, she courtsied to Mrs. Belfield, unable to speak to her, and avoiding even to look at Belfield, who respectfully hung back, she hastened out of the room: ac­companied by Mrs. Belfield, who again be­gan the most voluble and vulgar apologies for the intrusion she had met with.

Delvile also, after a moment's pause, fol­lowed, saying, ‘"Give me leave, madam, to see you to your carriage."’

[Page 304] Cecilia then, notwithstanding Mrs. Bel­field still kept talking, could no longer re­frain saying, ‘"Good heaven, what does all this mean?"’

‘"Rather for me is that queston,"’ he an­swered, in such agitation he could not, though he meant it, assist her into the chaise, ‘"for mine, I believe, is the greater surprise!"’

‘"What surprise?"’ cried she ‘"explain, I conjure you!"’

‘"By and bye I will,"’ he answered; ‘"go on postilion."’

‘"Where, Sir?"’

‘"Where you came from, I suppose."’

‘"What, Sir, back to Rumford?"’

‘"Rumford!"’ exclaimed he, with en­creasing disorder, ‘"you came then from Suffolk hither?—from Suffolk to this very house?"’

‘"Good heaven!"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"come into the chaise, and let me speak and hear to be understood!"’

‘"Who is that now in it?"’

‘"My maid."’

‘"Your maid?—and she waits for you thus at the door?"—’

‘"What, what is it you mean?"’

‘"Tell the man, madam, whither to go."’

‘"I don't know myself—any where you please—do you order him."’

[Page 305] ‘"I order him!—you came not hither to receive orders from me!—where was it you had purposed to rest?"’

‘"I don't know—I meant to go to Mrs. Hill's—I have no place taken."—’

‘"No place taken!"’ repeated he, in a voice faultering between passion and grief; ‘"you purposed, then, to stay here?—I have perhaps driven you away?"’

‘"Here!"’ cried Cecilia, mingling, in her turn, indignation with surprise, ‘"gracious heaven! what is it you mean to doubt?"’

‘"Nothing!"’ cried he, with emphasis, ‘"I never have had, I never will have a doubt! I will know, I will have conviction for every thing! Postilion, drive to St. James's-square!—to Mr. Delvile's. There, madam, I will wait upon you."’

‘"No! stay, postilion!"’ called out Ce­cilia, seized with terror inexpressible; ‘"let me get out, let me speak with you at once!"’

‘" [...]t cannot be; I will follow you in a few minutes—drive on, postilion!"’

‘"No, no!—I will not go—I dare not leave you—unkind Delvile!—what is it you suspect?"’

‘"Cecilia,"’ cried he, putting his hand upon the chaise-door, ‘"I have ever believ­ed you spotless as an angel! and, by heaven! I believe you so still, in spite of appearances [Page 306] —in defiance of every thing!—Now then be satisfied;—I will be with you very soon. Mean while, take this letter, I was just going to send to you.—Postilion, drive on, or be at your peril!"’

The man waited no further orders, nor regarded the prohibition of Cecilia, who called out to him without ceasing; but he would not listen to her till he got to the end of the street; he then stopt, and she broke the seal of her letter, and read, by the light of the lamps, enough to let her know that Delvile had written it upon the road from Dover to London, to acquaint her his mo­ther was now better, and had taken pity of his suspense and impatience, and insisted upon his coming privately to England, to satisfy himself fully about Mr. Monckton, communicate his marriage to his father, and give those orders towards preparing for its being made public, which his unhappy precipitation in leaving the kingdom had prevented.

This letter, which, though written but a few hours before she received it, was full of tenderness, gratitude, and anxiety for her happiness, instantly convinced her that his strange behaviour had been wholly the effect of a sudden impulse of jealousy; excited by so unexpectedly finding her in town, at the very house where his father had assured him [Page 307] she had an improper connexion, and alone, so suspiciously, with the young man affirm­ed to be her favourite. He knew nothing of the ejectment, nothing of any reason for her leaving Suffolk, every thing had the semblance of no motive but to indulge a private and criminal inclination.

These thoughts, which confusedly, yet forcibly, rushed upon her mind, brought with them at once an excuse for his con­duct, and an alarm for his danger; ‘"He must think,"’ she cried, ‘"I came to town only to meet Mr. Belfield!"’ then, opening the chaise-door herself, she jumpt out, and ran back into Portland-street, too impatient to argue with the postilion to return with her, and stopt not till she came to Mrs. Belfield's house.

She knocked at the door with violence; Mrs. Belfield came to it herself; ‘"Where,"’ cried she, hastily entering as she spoke, ‘"are the gentlemen?"’

‘"Lack-a-day! ma'am,"’ answered Mrs. Belfield, ‘"they are both gone out."’

‘"Gone out?—where to?—which way?"’

‘"I am sure I cant tell, ma'am, no more than you can; but I am sadly afraid they'll have a quarrel before they've done."’

‘"Oh heaven!"’ cried Cecilia, who now doubted not a second duel, ‘"tell me, shew me, which way they went?"’

‘"Why, ma'am, to let you into the secret,"’ [Page 308] answered Mrs. Belfield, ‘"only I beg you'll take no notice of it to my son, but, seeing them so much out of sorts, I begged the favour of Mr. Simkins, as Mr. Hob­son was gone out to his club, just to follow them, and see what they were after."’

Cecilia was much rejoiced this caution had been taken, and determined to wait his return. She would have sent for the chaise to follow her; but Mrs. Belfield kept no servant, and the maid of the house was em­ployed in preparing the supper.

When Mr. Simkins came back, she learnt, after various interruptions from Mrs. Belfield, and much delay from his own slowness and circumlocution, that he had pursued the two gentlemen to the **** coffee-house.

She hesitated not a moment in resolving to follow them: she feared the failure of any commission, nor did she know whom to entrust with one: and the danger was too urgent for much deliberation. She begged, therefore, that Mr. Simkins would walk with her to the chaise; but hearing that the coffee-house was another way, she desired Mrs. Belfield to let the servant run and or­der it to Mrs. Roberts, in Fetter-lane, and then eagerly requested Mr. Simkins to ac­company her on foot till they met with an hackney-coach.

They then set out, Mr. Simkins feeling [Page 309] proud and happy in being allowed to at­tend her, while Cecilia, glad of any protec­tion, accepted his offer of continuing with her, even after she met with an hackney­coach.

When she arrived at the coffee-house, she ordered the coachman to desire the master of it to come and speak with her.

He came, and she hastily called out, ‘"Pray, are two gentlemen here?"’

‘"Here are several gentlemen here, ma­dam."’

‘"Yes, yes,—but are two upon any busi­ness—any particular business—"’

‘"Two gentlemen, madam, came about half an hour ago, and asked for a room to themselves."’

‘"And where are they now?—are they up stairs?—down stairs?—where are they?"’

‘"One of them went away in about ten minutes, and the other soon after."’

Bitterly chagrined and disappointed, she knew not what step to take next; but, after some consideration, concluded upon obeying Delvile's own directions, and proceeding to St. James's-square, where alone, now, she seemed to have any chance of meeting with him. Gladly, however, she still consented to be accompanied by Mr. Simkins, for her dread of being alone, at so late an hour, in an [Page 310] hackney-coach, was invincible. Whether Delvile himself had any authority for direct­ing her to his father's, or whether, in the per­turbation of his new-excited and agonizing sensations of jealousy, he had forgotten that any authority was necessary, she knew not; nor could she now interest herself in the doubt: a second scene, such as had so late­ly passed with Mr. Monckton, occupied all her thoughts: she knew the too great pro­bability that the high spirit of Belfield would disdain making the explanation which Delvile in his present agitation might re­quire, and the consequence of such a refu­sal must almost inevitably be fatal.


THE moment the porter came to the door, Cecilia eagerly called out from the coach, ‘"Is Mr. Delvile here?"’

‘"Yes, madam,"’ he answered, ‘"but I believe he is engaged."’

‘"Oh no matter for any engagement!"’ cried she, ‘"open the door,—I must speak to him this moment!"’

‘"If you will please to step into the par­lour, madam, I will tell his gentleman you are here; but he will be much displeased if he is disturbed without notice."’

‘"Ah heaven!"’ exclaimed she, ‘"what Mr. Delvile are you talking of?"’

‘"My master, madam."’

Cecilia, who had got out of the coach, now hastily returned to it, and was some time in too great agony to answer either the porter, who desired some message, or the coachman, who asked whither he was to drive. To see Mr. Delvile, unprotected by his son, and contrary to his orders, ap­peared to her insupportable; yet to what [Page 312] place could she go? where was she likely to meet with Delvile? how could he find her if she went to Mrs. Hill's? and in what other house could she at present claim ad­mittance?

After a little recovering from this cruel shock, she ventured, though in a faultering voice, to enquire whether young Mr. Del­vile had been there?

‘"Yes, madam,"’ the porter answered; ‘"we thought he was abroad, but he called just now, and asked if any lady had been at the house. He would not even stay to go up to my master, and we have no [...] dared tell him of his arrival."’

This a little revived her; to hear that he had actually been enquiring for her, at least assured her of his safety from any immedi­ate violence, and she began to hope she might now possibly meet with him time enough to explain all that had past in his absence, and occasioned her seemingly strange and suspicious situation at Belfield's. She compelled herself, therefore, to summon courage for seeing his father, since, as he had directed her to the house, she conclud­ed he would return there to seek her, when he had wandered else where to no purpose.

She then, though with much timidity and reluctance, sent a message to Mr. Delvile to entreat a moment's audience.

[Page 313] An answer was brought her that he saw no company so late at night.

Losing now all dread of his reproaches, in her superior dread of missing Delvile, she called out earnestly to the man, ‘"Tell him, Sir, I beseech him not to refuse me! tell him I have something to communicate that requires his immediate attention!"’

The servant obeyed; but soon returning, said his master desired him to acquaint her he was engaged every moment he stayed in town, and must positively decline seeing her.

‘"Go to him again,"’ cried the harrassed Cecilia, ‘"assure him I come not from my­self, but by the desire of one he most va­lues: tell him I entreat but permission to wait an hour in his house, and that I have no other place in the world whither I can go!"’

Mr. Delvile's own gentleman brought, with evident concern, the answer to this pe­tition; which was, that while the Honour­able Mr. Delvile was himself alive, he thought the desire of any other person con­cerning his house, was taking with him a very extraordinary liberty; and that he was now going to bed, and had given orders to his servants to carry him no more messages whatsoever, upon pain of instant dismission.

Cecilia now seemed totally destitute of [Page 314] all resource, and for a few dreadful minutes, gave herself up to utter despondency: nor, when she recovered her presence of mind, could she form any better plan than that of waiting in the coach to watch the return of Delvile.

She told the coachman, therefore, to drive to a corner of the square, begging Mr. Simkins to have patience, which he pro­mised with much readiness, and endeavour­ed to give her comfort, by talking without cessation.

She waited here near half an hour. She then feared the disappointment of Delvile in not meeting her at first, had made him conclude she meant not to obey his directions, and had perhaps urged him to call again upon Belfield, whom he might fancy privy to her non-appearance. This was new horror to her, and she resolved at all risks to drive to Portland-street, and enquire if Belfield him­self was returned home. Yet, lest they should mutually be pursuing each other all night, she stopt again at Mr. Delvile's, and left word with the porter, that if young Mr. Delvile should come home, he would hear of the person he was enquiring for at Mrs. Roberts's in Fetter-lane. To Belfield's she did not dare to direct him; and it was her intention, if there she procured no new intelligence, to leave the same message, and [Page 315] then go to Mrs. Roberts without further de­lay. To make such an arrangement with a servant who knew not her connection with his young master, was extremely repugnant to her; but the exigence was too urgent for scruples, and there was nothing to which she would not have consented, to prevent the fatal catastrophe she apprehended.

When she came to Belfield's, not daring to enter the house, she sent in Mr. Simkins, to desire that Mrs. Belfield would be so good as to step to the coach door.

‘"Is your son, madam,"’ she cried, eager­ly, ‘"come home? and is any body with him?"’

‘"No, ma'am; he has never once been across the threshold since that gentleman took him out; and I am half out of my wits to think—"’

‘"Has that gentleman,"’ interrupted Ce­cilia, ‘"been here any more?"’

‘"Yes, ma'am, that's what I was going to tell you; he came again just now, and said—"’

‘"Just now?—good heaven!—and which way is he gone?"’

‘"Why he is after no good, I am afraid, for he was in a great passion, and would hardly hear any thing I said."’

‘"Pray, pray answer me quick!—where, which way did he go?"’

[Page 316] ‘"Why, he asked me if I knew whither my son was come from the ** coffee-house; why, says I, I'm sure I can't tell, for if it had not been for Mr. Simkins, I should not so much as have known he ever went to the ** coffee-house; however, I hope he a'n't come away, because if he is, poor Miss Be­verley will have had all that trouble for no­thing; for she's gone after him in a prodi­gious hurry; and upon my only saying that, he seemed quite beside himself, and said, if I don't meet with your son at the ** coffee-house myself, pray, when he comes in, tell him I shall be highly obliged to him to call there; and then he went away, in as great a pet as ever you saw."’

Cecilia listened to this account with the utmost terror and misery; the suspicions of Delvile would now be aggravated, and the message he had left for Belfield, would by him be regarded as a defiance. Again, however, to the ** coffee-house she instantly ordered the coach, an immediate explana­tion from herself seeming the only possible chance for preventing the most horrible conclusion to this unfortunate and eventful evening.

She was still accompanied by Mr. Sim­kins, and, but that she attended to nothing he said, would not inconsiderably have been tormented by his conversation. She sent [Page 317] him immediately into the coffee-room, to enquire if either of the gentleman were then in the house.

He returned to her with a waiter, who said, ‘"One of them, madam, called again just now, but he only stopt to write a note, which he left to be given to the gentleman who came with him at first. He is but this moment gone, and I don't think he can be at the bottom of the street."’

‘"Oh drive then, gallop after him!"’—cried Cecilia; ‘"coachman! go this mo­ment!"’

‘"My horses are tired,"’ said the man, ‘"they have been out all day, and they will gallop no further, if I don't stop and give them a drink."’

Cecilia, too full both of hope and im­patience for this delay, forced open the door herself, and without saying another word, jumped out of the carriage, with in­tention to run down the street; but the coachman immediately seizing her, pro­tested she should not stir till he was paid.

In the utmost agony of mind at an hin­drance by which she imagined Delvile would be lost to her perhaps for ever, she put her hand in her pocket, in order to give up her purse for her liberty; but Mr. Simkins, who was making a tiresome expostulation with the coachman, took it himself, and declaring [Page 318] he would not see the lady cheated, began a tedious calculation of his fare.

‘"O pay him any thing!"’ cried she, ‘"and let us be gone! an instant's delay may be fatal!"’

Mr. Simkins, too earnest to conquer the coachman to attend to her distress, conti­nued his prolix harangue concerning a dis­puted shilling, appealing to some gathering spectators upon the justice of his cause; while his adversary, who was far from so­ber, still held Cecilia, saying the coach had been hired for the lady, and he would be paid by herself.

‘"Good God!"’ cried the agitated Ce­cilia,—‘"give him my purse at once!—give him every thing he desires!"—’

The coachman, at this permission, en­creased his demands, and Mr. Simkins, taking the number of his coach, protested he would summons him to the Court of Conscience the next morning. A gentle­man, who then came out of the coffee­house, offered to assist the lady, but the coachman, who still held her arm, swore he would have his right.

‘"Let me go! let me pass!"’ cried she, with encreasing eagerness and emotion; ‘"de­tain me at your peril!—release me this moment!—only let me run to the end [Page 319] of the street,—good God! good Heaven! detain me not for mercy!"’

Mr. Simkins, humbly desiring her not to be in haste, began a formal apology for his conduct; but the inebriety of the coach­man became evident; a mob was collect­ing; Cecilia, breathless with vehemence and terror, was encircled, yet struggled in vain to break away; and the stranger gentleman, protesting, with sundry com­pliments, he would himself take care of her, very freely seized her hand.

This moment, for the unhappy Cecilia, teemed with calamity; she was wholly overpowered; terror for Delvile, horror for herself, hurry, confusion, heat and fatigue, all assailing her at once, while all means of repelling them were denied her, the attack was too strong for her fears, feelings, and faculties, and her reason suddenly, yet total­ly failing her, she madly called out, ‘"He will be gone! he will be gone! and I must follow him to Nice!"’

The gentleman now retreated; but Mr. Simkins, who was talking to the mob, did not hear her; and the coachman, too much intoxicated to perceive her rising frenzy, persisted in detaining her.

‘"I am going to France!"’ cried she, still more wildly, ‘"why do you stop me? he [Page 320] will die if I do not see him, he will bleed to death!"’

The coachman, still unmoved, began to grow very abusive; but the stranger, touch­ed by compassion, gave up his attempted gallantry, and Mr. Simkins, much astonish­ed, entreated her not to be frightened: she was, however, in no condition to listen to him; with a strength hitherto unknown to her, she forcibly disengaged herself from her persecutors; yet her senses were wholly disordered; she forgot her situation, her in­tention, and herself; the single idea of Del­vile's danger took sole possession of her brain, though all connection with its occasion was lost, and the moment she was released, she fervently clasped her hands, exclaiming, ‘"I will yet heal his wound, even at the ha­zard of my life!"’ and springing forward, was almost instantly out of sight.

Mr. Simkins now, much alarmed, and earnestly calling after her, entered into a compromise with the coachman, that he might attend her; but the length of his negociation defeated its purpose, and before he was at liberty to follow her, all trace was lost by which he might have overtaken her. He stopt every passenger he met to make enquiries, but though they led him on some way, they led him on in vain; and, after a useless and ill-managed pursuit, he [Page 321] went quietly to his own home, determining to acqaint Mrs. Belfield with what had hap­pened the next morning.

Mean while the frantic Cecilia escaped both pursuit and insult by the velocity of her own motion. She called aloud upon Delvile as she flew to the end of the street. No Delvile was there!—she turned the corner; yet saw nothing of him; she still went on, though unknowing whither, the distraction of her mind every instant grow­ing greater, from the inflammation of fatigue, heat, and disappointment. She was spoken to repeatedly; she was even caught once or twice by her riding habit; but she forced herself along by her own vehement rapidity, not hearing what was said, not heeding what was thought. Delvile, bleeding by the arm of Belfield, was the image before her eyes, and took such full possession of her senses, that still, as she ran on, she fancied it in view. She scarce touched the ground; she scarce felt her own motion; she seemed as if endued with supernatural speed, gliding from place to place, from street to street; with no consciousness of any plan, and following no other direction than that of darting forward where-ever there was most room, and turning back when she met with any obstruction; till quite spent and exhausted, she abruptly ran into a yet [Page 322] open shop, where, breathless and panting, she sunk upon the floor, and, with a look disconsolate and helpless, sat for some time without speaking.

The people of the house, concluding at first she was a woman of the town, were going roughly to turn her out; but soon seeing their mistake, by the evident distrac­tion of her air and manner, they enquired of some idle people who, late as it was, had followed her, if any of them knew who she was, or whence she came?

They could give no account of her, but supposed she was broke lose from Bedlam.

Cecilia then, wildly starting up, exclaim­ed, ‘"No, no,—I am not mad,—I am go­ing to Nice—to my husband."’

‘"She's quite crazy,"’ said the man of the house, who was a Pawn-Broker; ‘"we had better get rid of her before she grows mis­chievous."’

‘"She's somebody broke out from a pri­vate mad house, I dare say,"’ said a man who had followed her into the shop; ‘"and if you were to take care of her a little while, ten to one but you'll get a reward for it."’

‘"She's a gentlewoman, sure enough,"’ said the mistress of the house, ‘"because she's got such good things on."’

And then, under pretence of trying to find some direction to her upon a letter, [Page 323] or paper, she insisted upon searching her pockets: here, however, she was disap­pointed in her expectations: her purse was in the custody of Mr. Simkins, but neither her terror nor distress had saved her from the daring dexterity of villainy, and her pockets, in the mob, had been rifled of what­ever else they contained. The woman there­fore hesitated some time whether to take charge of her or not: but being urged by the man who made the proposal, and who said they might depend upon seeing her soon advertised, as having escaped from her keepers, they ventured to undertake her.

Mean while she endeavoured again to get out, calling aloud upon Delvile to rescue her, but so wholly bereft of sense and recollection, she could give no account who she was, whence she came, or whither she wished to go.

They then carried her up stairs, and at­tempted to make her lie down upon a bed; but supposing she refused because it was not of straw, they desisted; and, taking away the candle, locked the door, and all went to rest.

In this miserable condition, alone and raving, she was left to pass the night! in the early part of it, she called upon Delvile without intermission, beseeching him to come to her defence in one moment, and deploring [Page 324] his death the next; but afterwards, her strength being wholly exhausted by these various exertions and farigues, she threw herself upon the floor, and lay for some minutes quite still. Her head then began to grow cooler, as the fever into which terror and immoderate exercise had thrown her abated, and her memory recovered its functions.

This was, however, only a circumstance of horror to her: she found herself shut up in a place of confinement, without light, without knowledge where she was, and not a human being near her!

Yet the same returning reason which ena­bled her to take this view of her own situa­tion, brought also to her mind that in which she had left Delvile;—under all the perturbation of new-kindled jealousy, just calling upon Belfield,—Belfield, tenacious of his honour even more than himself,—to satisfy doubts of which the very mention would be received as a challenge!

‘"Oh yet, oh yet,"’ cried she, ‘"let me fly and overtake them!—I may find them before morning, and to night it must surely have been too late for this work of death!"’

She then arose to feel for the door, and succeeded; but it was locked, and no effort she could make enabled her to open it.

Her agony was unspeakable; she called [Page 325] out with violence upon the people of the house, conjured them to set her at liberty, offered any reward for their assistance, and threatened them with a prosecution if de­tained.

Nobody, however, came near her: some slept on notwithstanding all the disturbance she could make, and others, though awak­ened by her cries, concluded them the rav­ings of a mad woman, and listened not to what she said.

Her head was by no means in a condition to bear this violence of distress; every pulse was throbbing, every vein seemed bursting, her reason, so lately returned, could not bear the repetition of such a shock, and from sup­plicating for help with all the energy of feel­ing and understanding, she soon continued the cry from mere vehemence of distrac­tion.

Thus dreadfully passed the night; and in the morning, when the woman of the house came to see after her, she found her raving with such frenzy, and desperation, that her conscience was perfectly at ease in the treatment she had given her, being now firmly satisfied she required the strictest con­finement.

She still, however, tried to get away; talked of Delvile without cessation, said she should be too late to serve him, told the [Page 326] woman she desired but to prevent murder, and repeatedly called out, ‘"Oh beloved of my heart! wait but a moment, and I will snatch thee from destruction!"’

Mrs. Wyers, this woman, now sought no longer to draw from her whence she came, or who she was, but heard her frantic ex­clamations without any emotion, content­edly concluding that her madness was incur­able: and though she was in a high fever, refused all sustenance, and had every symp­tom of an alarming and dangerous malady, she was fully persuaded that her case was that of decided insanity, and had not any notion of temporary or accidental alienation of reason.

All she could think of by way of indul­gence to her, was to bring her a quantity of straw, having heard that mad people were fond of it; and putting it in a heap in one corner of the room, she expected to see her eagerly fly to it.

Cecilia, however, distracted as she was, was eager for nothing but to escape, which was constantly her aim, alike when violent or when quiet. Mrs. Wyers, finding this, kept her closely confined, and the door al­ways locked, whether absent or present.


TWO whole days passed thus; no en­quires reached Mrs. Wyers, and she found in the news-papers no advertisement. Meanwhile Cecilia grew worse every mo­ment, tasted neither drink nor food, raved incessantly, called out twenty times in a breath, ‘"Where is he? which way is he gone?"’ and implored the woman by the most pathetic remonstrances, to save her unhappy Delvile, dearer to her than life, more precious than peace or rest!

At other times she talked of her mar­riage, of the displeasure of his family, and of her own remorse; entreated the woman not to betray her, and promised to spend the remnant of her days in the heaviness of sorrow and contrition.

Again her fancy roved, and Mr Monck­ton took sole possession of it. She re­proached him for his perfidy, she bewailed that he was massacred, she would not a mo­ment out-live him, and wildly declared her last remains should moulder in his hearse! And [Page 328] thus, though naturally and commonly of a silent and quiet disposition, she was now not a moment still, for the irregular starts of a terrified and disordered imagination, were changed into the constant ravings of morbid delirium.

The woman, growing uneasy from her uncertainty of pay for her trouble, asked the advice of some of her friends what was proper for her to do; and they counselled her to put an advertisement into the papers herself the next morning.

The following, therefore, was drawn up and sent to the printer of the Daily Ad­vertiser.


Whereas a crazy young lady, tall, fair complexioned, with blue eyes and light hair, ran into the Three Blue Balls, in — street, on Thursday night, the 2d instant, and has been kept there since out of charity. She was dressed in a riding habit. Whoever she belongs to is desired to send after her immediately. She has been treated with the utmost care and tenderness. She talks much of some person by the name of Del­vile.

N. B. She had no money about her.

[Page 329] This had but just been sent off, when Mr. Wyers, the man of the house, coming up stairs, said, ‘"Now we shall have two of them, for here's the crazy old gentle­man below, that says he has just heard in the neighbourhood of what has happened to us, and he desires to see the poor lady,"’

‘"It's as well let him come up, then,"’ answered Mrs. Wyers, ‘"for he goes to all sort of places and people, and ten to one but he'll bustle about till he finds out who she is."’

Mr. Wyers then went down stairs to send him up.

He came instantly. It was Albany, who in his vagrant rambles, having heard an unknown mad lady was at this pawn-bro­ker's, came, with his customary eagerness to visit and serve the unhappy, to see what could be done for her

When he entered the room, she was sit­ting upon the bed, her eyes earnestly fixed upon the window, from which she was pri­vately indulging a wish to make her escape. Her dress was in much disorder, her fine hair was dishevelled, and the feathers of her riding hat were broken and half falling down, some shading her face, others reach­ing to her shoulder.

‘"Poor lady!"’ cried Albany, approaching [Page 330] her, ‘"how long has she been in this state?"’

She started at the sound of a new voice, she looked round,—but what was the as­tonishment of Albany to see who it was!—He stept back,—he came forward,—he doubted his own senses,—he looked at her earnestly,—he turned from her to look at the woman of the house,—he cast his eyes round the room itself, and then, lifting up his hands, ‘"O sight of woe!"’ he cried, ‘"the generous and good! the kind reliever of distress! the benign sustainer of misery!—is This Cecilia!"—’

Cecilia, imperfectly recollecting, though not understanding him, sunk down at his feet, tremblingly called out, ‘"Oh, if he is yet to be saved, if already he is not mur­dered,—go to him! fly after him! you will presently overtake him, he is only in the next street, I left him there myself, his sword drawn, and covered with human blood!"’

‘"Sweet powers of kindness and com­passion!"’ cried the old man, ‘"look upon this creature with pity! she who raised the depressed, she who cheared the unhappy! she whose liberal hand turned lamentations into joy! who never with a tearless eye could hear the voice of sorrow!—is This she herself!—can This be Cecilia!"’

[Page 331] ‘"O do not wait to talk!"’ cried she, ‘"go to him now, or you will never see him more! the hand of death is on him,—cold, clay-cold is its touch! he is breathing his last—Oh murdered Delvile! massacred hus­band of my heart! groan not so piteously! fly to him, and weep over him!—fly to him and pluck the poniard from his woun­ded bosom!"’

‘"Oh sounds of anguish and horror!"’ cried the melted moralist, tears running quick down his rugged cheeks; ‘"melancholy in­deed is this sight, humiliating to morality! such is human strength, such human felici­ty!—weak as our virtues, frail as our guilty natures!"’

‘"Ah,"’ cried she, more wildly, ‘"no one will save me now! I am married, and no one will listen to me! ill were the auspices under which I gave my hand! Oh it was a work of darkness, unacceptable and of­fensive! it has been sealed, therefore, with blood, and to-morrow it will be signed with murder!"’

‘"Poor distracted creature!"’ exclaimed he, ‘"thy pangs I have felt, but thy innocence I have forfeited!—my own wounds bleed afresh,—my own brain threatens new frenzy."—’

Then, starting up, ‘"Good woman,"’ he added, ‘"kindly attend her,—I will seek [Page 332] out her friends, put her into bed, comfort, sooth, compose her.—I will come to you again, and as soon as I can."’

He then hurried away.

‘"Oh hour of joy!"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"he is gone to rescue him! oh blissful moment! he will yet be snatched from slaughter!"’

The woman lost not an instant in obey­ing the orders she had received; she was put into bed, and nothing was neglected, as far as she had power and thought, to give a look of decency and attention to her accommodations.

He had not left them an hour, when Mary, the maid who had attended her from Suf­folk, came to enquire for her lady. Albany, who was now wandering over the town in search of some of her friends, and who en­tered every house where he imagined she was known, had hastened to that of Mrs. Hill the first of any, as he was well ac­quainted with her obligations to Cecilia; there, Mary herself, by the directions which her lady had given Mrs. Belfield, had gone; and there, in the utmost astonishment and uneasiness, had continued till Albany brought news of her.

She was surprised and afflicted beyond measure, not only at the state of her mind, and her health, but to find her in a bed and an appartment so unsuitable to her [Page 333] rank of life, and so different to what she had ever been accustomed. She wept bit­terly while she enquired at the bed-side how her lady did, but wept still more, when, without answering, or seeming to know her, Cecilia started up, and called out, ‘"I must be removed this moment! I must go to St. James's-square,—if I stay an in­stant longer, the passing-bell will toll, and then how shall I be in time for the fune­ral?"’

Mary, alarmed and amazed, turned has­tily from her to the woman of the house, who calmly said, the lady was only in a ra­ving fit, and must not be minded.

Extremely frightened at this intelligence, she entreated her to be quiet and lie still. But Cecilia grew suddenly so violent, that force only could keep her from rising; and Mary, unused to dispute her commands, prepared to obey them.

Mrs. Wyers now in her turn opposed in vain; Cecilia was peremptory, and Mary became implicit, and, though not without much difficulty, she was again dressed in her riding habit. This operation over, she moved towards the door, the temporary strength of delirium giving her a hardiness that combated fever, illness, fatigue, and feebleness. Mary, however averse and fearful, assisted her, and Mrs. Wyers, [Page 334] compelled by the obedience of her own servant, went before them to order a chair.

Cecilia, however, felt her weakness when she attempted to move down stairs; her feet tottered, and her head became dizzy; she leaned it against Mary, who called a­loud for more help, and made her sit down till it came. Her resolution, however, was not to be altered; a stubbornness, wholly foreign to her genuine character, now made her stern and positive; and Mary, who thought her submission indispensable, cried, but did not offer to oppose her.

Mr. and Mrs. Wyers both came up to assist in supporting her, and Mr. Wyers offered to carry her in his arms; but she would not consent; when she came to the bottom of the stairs, her head grew worse, she again lent it upon Mary, but Mr. Wyers was obliged to hold them both. She still, however, was firm in her deter­mination, and was making another effort to proceed, when Delvile rushed hastily into the shop.

He had just encountered Albany; who, knowing his acquaintance, though ignorant of his marriage with Cecilia, had informed him where to seek her.

He was going to make enquiry if he was come to the right house, when he perceived her,—feeble, shaking, leaning upon [Page 335] one person, and half carried by another!—he started back, staggered, gasped for breath,—but finding they were proceed­ing, advanced with trepidation, furiously calling out, ‘"Hold! stop!—what is it you are doing? Monsters of savage barba­rity, are you murdering my wife?"’

The well-known voice no sooner struck the ears of Cecilia, than instantly recollect­ing it, she screamed, and, in suddenly en­deavouring to spring forward, fell to the ground.

Delvile had vehemently advanced to catch her in his arms and save her fall, which her unexpected quickness had pre­vented her attendants from doing; but the sight of her changed complection, and the wildness of her eyes and air, again made him start,—his blood froze through his veins, and he stood looking at her, cold and almost petrified.

Her own recollection of him seemed lost already; and exhausted by the fatigue she had gone through in dressing and coming down stairs, she remained still and quiet, forgetting her design of proceeding, and forming no new one for returning.

Mary, to whom, as to all her fellow ser­vants, the marriage of Cecilia had been known, before she left the country, now [Page 336] desired from Delvile directions what was to be done.

Delvile, starting suddenly at this call from the deepest horror into the most des­perate rage, fiercely exclaimed, ‘"Inhuman wretches! unfeeling, execrable wretches, what is it you have done to her? how came she hither?—who brought her? who dragged her?—by what infamous usage has she been sunk into this state?"’

‘"Indeed, sir, I don't know!"’ cried Mary.

‘"I assure you, sir,"’ said Mrs. Wyers, ‘"the lady—"’

‘"Peace!"’ cried he, furiously, ‘"I will not hear your falshoods!—peace, and be­gone!"—’

Then, casting himself upon the ground by her side, ‘"Oh my Cecilia,"’ he cried, ‘"where hast thou been thus long? how have I lost thee? what dreadful calamity has befallen thee?—answer me, my love! raise your sweet head and answer me!—oh speak!—say to me any thing; the bitterest words will be mercy to this si­lence?"—’

Cecilia then, suddenly looking up, cal­led out with great quickness, ‘"Who are you?"’

‘"Who am I!"’ cried he, amazed and affrighted.

[Page 337] ‘"I should be glad you would go away,"’ cried she, in a hurrying manner, ‘"for you are quite unknown to me."’

Delvile, unconscious of her insanity, and attributing to resentment this aver­sion and repulse, hastily moved from her, mournfully answering, ‘"Well indeed may you disclaim me, refuse all forgiveness, load me with hatred and reproach, and consign me to eternal anguish! I have me­rited severer punishment still; I have be­haved like a monster, and I am abhorrent to myself!"’

Cecilia now, half rising, and regarding him with mingled terror and anger, eager­ly exclaimed, ‘"If you do not mean to mangle and destroy me, begone this in­stant."’

‘"To mangle you!"’ repeated Delvile, shuddering, ‘"how horrible!—but I de­serve it!—look not, however, so terrified, and I will tear myself away from you. Suf­fer me but to assist in removing you from this place, and I will only watch you at a distance, and never see you more till you permit me to approach you."’

‘"Why, why,"’ cried Cecilia, with a look of perplexity and impatience, ‘"will you not tell me your name, and where you come from?"’

[Page 338] ‘"Do you not know me?"’ said he, struck with new horror; ‘"or do you on­ly mean to kill me by the question?"’

‘"Do you bring me any message from Mr. Monckton?"’

‘"From Mr. Monckton?—no; but he lives and will recover."’

‘"I thought you had been Mr. Monck­ton yourself."’

‘"Too cruel, yet justly cruel Cecilia!—is then Delvile utterly renounced?—the guilty, the unhappy Delvile!—is he cast off for ever? have you driven him wholly from your heart? do you deny him even a place in your remembrance?"’

‘"Is your name, then, Delvile?"’

‘"O what is it you mean! is it me or my name you thus disown?"’

‘"'Tis a name,"’ cried she, sitting up, ‘"I well remember to have heard, and once I loved it, and three times I called upon it in the dead of night. And when I was cold and wretched, I cherished it; and when I was abandoned and left alone, I repeated it and sung to it."’

‘"All-gracious powers!"’ cried Delvile, ‘"her reason is utterly gone!"’ And, hasti­ly rising, he desperately added, ‘"what is death to this blow?—Cecilia, I am content to part with thee!"’

[Page 339] Mary now, and Mrs. Wyers, poured upon him eagerly an account of her illness, and insanity, her desire of removal, and their inability to control her.

Delvile, however, made no answer; he scarce heard them: the deepest despair took possession of his mind, and, root­ed to the spot where he stood, he contem­plated in dreadful stillness the fallen and altered object of his best hopes and affec­tions; already in her faded cheeks and weakened frame, his agonizing terror read the quick impending destruction of all his earthly happiness! the sight was too much for his fortitude, and almost for his under­standing; and when his woe became utter­able, he wrung his hands, and groaning a­loud, called out, ‘"Art thou gone so soon! my wife! my Cecilia! have I lost thee already?"’

Cecilia, with utter insensibility to what was passing, now suddenly, and with a ra­pid yet continued motion, turned her head from side to side, her eyes wildly glaring, yet apparently regarding nothing.

‘"Dreadful! dreadful!"’ exclaimed Del­vile, ‘"what a sight is this!"’ and turning from her to the people of the house, he angrily said, ‘"why is she here upon the floor? could you not even allow her a bed? [Page 340] Who attends her? Who waits upon her? Why has nobody sent for help?—Don't answer me,—I will not hear you, fly this moment for a physician,—bring two, bring three—bring all you can find!"’

Then, still looking from Cecilia, whose sight he could no longer support, he con­sulted with Mary whither she should be conveyed: and, as the night was far ad­vanced, and no place was prepared for her elsewhere, they soon agreed that she could only be removed up stairs.

Delvile now attempted to carry her in his arms; but trembling and unsteady, he had not strength to sustain her; yet not enduring to behold the helplessness he could not assist, he conjured them to be careful and gentle, and, committing her to their trust, ran out himself for a physician.

Cecilia resisted them with her utmost power, imploring them not to bury her alive, and averring she had received intel­ligence they meant to entomb her with Mr. Monckton.

They put her, however, to bed, but her raving grew still more wild and incessant.

Delvile soon returned with a physician, but had not courage to attend him to her room. He waited for him at the foot of the stairs, where, hastily stopping him, [Page 341] ‘"Well, sir,"’ he cried, ‘"is it not all over? is it not impossible she can live?"’

‘"She is very ill, indeed, sir,"’ he an­swered, ‘"but I have given directions which perhaps—"’

‘"Perhaps!"’ interrupted Delvile, shud­dering; ‘"do not stab me with such a word!"’

‘"She is very delirious,"’ he continued, ‘"but as her fever is very high, that is not so material. If the orders I have given take effect, and the fever is got under, all the rest will be well of course."’

He then went away; leaving Delvile as much thunderstruck by answers so alarm­ing, as if he had consulted him in full hope, and without even suspicion of her danger.

The moment he recovered from this shock, he flew out of the house for more advice.

He returned and brought with him two physicians.

They confirmed the directions already given, but would pronounce nothing de­cisively of her situation.

Delvile, half mad with the acuteness of his misery, charged them all with want of skill, and wrote instantly into the coun­try for Dr. Lyster.

[Page 342] He went out himself in search of a messenger to ride off express, though it was midnight, with his letter; and then, returning, he was hastening to her room, but, while yet at the door, hearing her still raving, his horror conquered his eagerness, and, hurrying down stairs, he spent the remnant of the long and seemingly endless night in the shop.


MEAN-WHILE Cecilia went thro' very severe discipline, sometimes strongly opposing it, at other times scarce sensible what was done to her.

The whole of the next day passed in much the same manner, neither did the next night bring any visible alteration. She had now nurses and attendants even more than sufficient, for Delvile had no relief but from calling in more help. His terror of again seeing her encreased with his forbear­ance; the interview which had already past had almost torn him asunder, and losing all courage for attempting to enter her room, he now spent almost all his time upon the stairs which led to it. Whenever she was still, he seated himself at her cham­ber door, where, if he could hear her breathe or move, a sudden hope of her re­covery gave to him a momentary extasy that recompensed all his sufferings. But the instant she spoke, unable to bear the sound of so loved a voice uttering nothing [Page 344] but the incoherent ravings of lightheaded­ness, he hastened down stairs, and flying out of the house, walked in the neighbour­ing streets, till he could again gather cou­rage to enquire or to listen how she went on.

The following morning, however, Dr. Lyster came, and every hope revived. He flew to embrace him, told him instantly his marriage with Cecilia, and besought him by some superior effort of his extraor­dinary abilities to save him the distraction of her loss.

‘"My good friend,"’ cried the worthy Doctor, ‘"what is this you ask of me? and how can this poor young lady herself want advice more than you do? Do you think these able physicians actually upon the spot, with all the experience of full practice in London to assist their skill, want a petty Doctor out of the country to come and teach them what is right?"’

‘"I have more reliance upon you,"’ cried Delvile, ‘"than upon the whole faculty; come, therefore, and prescribe for her,—take some new course"—’

‘"Impossible, my good Sir, impossible! I must not lose my wits from vanity, be­cause you have lost yours from affliction. I could not refuse to come to you when you wrote to me with such urgency, and I will [Page 345] now go and see the young lady, as a friend, with all my heart. I am sorry for you at my soul, Mr. Mortimer! She is a lovely young creature, and has an understanding, for her years and sex, unequalled."’

‘"Never mention her to me!"’ cried the impatient Delvile, ‘"I cannot bear it! Go up to her, dear Doctor, and if you want a consultation, send, if you please, for every physician in town."’

Dr. Lyster desired only that those who had already attended might be summoned; and then, giving up to his entreaties the accustomed ceremonial of waiting for them, he went to Cecilia.

Delvile did not dare accompany him; and so well was he acquainted with his plainness and sincerity, that though he ex­pected his return with eagerness, he no sooner heard him upon the stairs, than fear­ing to know his opinion, he hastily snatch­ed up his hat, and rushed vehemently out of the house to avoid him.

He continued to walk about the streets, till even the dread of ill news was less hor­rible to him than this voluntary suspense, and then he returned to the house.

He found Dr. Lyster in a small back parlour, which Mrs. Wyers, finding she should now be well paid, had appropriated for Delvile's use.

[Page 346] Delvile, putting his hand upon the Doc­tor's shoulder, said, ‘"Well, my dear Doctor Lyster, you, still, I hope"—’

‘"I would I could make you easy!"’ in­terrupted the Doctor; ‘"yet, if you are ra­tional, one comfort, at all events, I can give you; the crisis seems approaching, and either she will recover, or before to-morrow morning"—’

‘"Don't go on, Sir!"’ cried Delvile, with mingled rage and horror, ‘"I will not have her days limited! I sent not for you to give me such an account!"’

And again he flew out of the house, leaving Dr. Lyster unaffectedly concerned for him, and too kind-hearted and too wise to be offended at the injustice of immode­rate sorrow.

In a few minutes, however, from the ef­fect rather of despair than philosophy, Del­vile grew more composed, and waited upon Dr. Lyster to apologize for his behaviour. He received his hearty forgiveness, and prevailed upon him to continue in town till the whole was decided.

About noon, Cecilia, from the wildest rambling and most perpetual agitation, sunk suddenly into a state of such utter insensibi­lity, that she appeared unconscious even of her existence; and but that she breathed, she might already have passed for being dead.

[Page 347] When Delvile heard this, he could no longer endure even his post upon the stairs; he spent his whole time in wandering about the streets, or stopping in Dr. Lyster's par­lour to enquire if all was over.

That humane physician, not more alarm­ed at the danger of Cecilia, than grieved at the situation of Delvile, thought the present fearful crisis at least offered an opportunity of reconciling him with his father. He waited, therefore, upon that gentleman in St. James's-square, and openly informed him of the dangerous state of Cecilia, and the misery of his son.

Mr. Delvile, though he would gladly, to have annulled an alliance he held disgrace­ful to his family, have received intelligence that Cecilia was no more, was yet extremely disconcerted to hear of sufferings to which his own refusal of an asylum he was consci­ous had largely contributed; and after a haughty struggle between tenderness and wrath, he begged the advice of Dr. Lyster how his son might be drawn from such a scene.

Dr. Lyster, who well knew Delvile was too desperate to be tractable, proposed sur­prising him into an interview by their re­turning together: Mr. Delvile, however apprehensive and relenting, conceded most unwillingly to a measure he held beneath [Page 348] him, and, when he came to the shop, could scarce be persuaded to enter it. Mortimer, at that time, was taking a solitary ramble; and Dr. Lyster, to complete the work he had begun of subduing the hard pride of his father, contrived, under pretence of waiting for him, to conduct him to the room of the invalide.

Mr. Delvile, who knew not whither he was going, at first sight of the bed and the attendants, was hastily retreating; but the changed and livid face of Cecilia caught his eye, and, struck with sudden consternation, he involuntarily stopt.

‘"Look at the poor young lady!"’ cried Dr. Lyster; ‘"can you wonder a sight such as this should make Mr. Mortimer forget every thing else?"’

She was wholly insensible, but perfectly quiet; she seemed to distinguish nothing, and neither spoke nor moved.

Mr. Delvile regarded her with the utmost horror: the refuge he so implacably refused her on the night when her intellects were disordered, he would now gladly have of­fered at the expence of almost similar suf­ferings, to have relieved himself from those rising pangs which called him author of this scene of woe. His pride, his pomp, his ancient name, were now sunk in his es­timation; and while he considered himself [Page 349] the destroyer of this unhappy young crea­ture, he would have sacrificed them all to have called himself her protector. Little is the boast of insolence when it is analysed by the conscience! bitter is the agony of self­reproach, where misery follows hardness of heart! yet, when the first painful astonish­ment from her situation abated, the remorse she excited being far stronger than the pity, he gave an angry glance at Dr. Lyster for betraying him into such a [...]ight, and hastily left the room.

Delvile, who was now impatiently wait­ing to see Dr. Lyster in the little parlour, alarmed at the sound of a new step upon the stairs, came out to enquire who had been admitted. When he saw his father, he shrunk back; but Mr. Delvile, no longer supported by pride, and unable to recover from the shock he had just received, caught him in his arms, and said ‘"Oh come home to me, my son! this is a place to destroy you!"’

‘"Ah, Sir,"’ cried Delvile, ‘"think not of me now!—you must shew me no kind­ness; I am not in a state to bear it!"’ And, forcibly breaking from him, he hurried out of the house.

Mr. Delvile, all the father awakened in his bosom, saw his departure with more dread than anger; and returned himself to [Page 350] St. James's-square, tortured with parental fears, and stung by personal remorse, la­menting his own inflexibility, and pursued by the pale image of Cecilia.

She was still in this unconscious state, and apparently as free from suffering as from enjoyment, when a new voice was suddenly heard without, exclaiming, ‘"Oh where is she? where is she? where is my dear Miss Beverley?"’ and Henrietta Belfield ran wild­ly into the room.

The advertisement in the news-papers had at once brought her to town, and direct­ed her to the house: the mention that the lost lady talked much of a person by the name of Delvile, struck her instantly to mean Cecilia; the description corresponded with this idea, and the account of the dress confirmed it: Mr. Arnott, equally terrified with herself, had therefore lent her his chaise to learn the truth of this conjecture, and she had tra­velled all night.

Flying up to the bedside, ‘"Who is this?"’ she cried, ‘"this is not Miss Beverley?"’ and then screaming with unrestrained horror, ‘"Oh mercy! mercy!"’ she called out, ‘"yes, it is indeed! and nobody would know her!—her own mother would not think her her child!"’

‘"You must come away, Miss Belfield,"’ said Mary, ‘"you must indeed,—the doc­tors all say my lady must not be disturbed."’

[Page 351] ‘"Who shall take me away?"’ cried she, angrily, ‘"nobody Mary! not all the doc­tors in the world! Oh sweet Miss Be­verly! I will lie down by your side,—I will never quit you while you live,—and I wish, I wish I could die to save your precious life!"’

Then, leaning over her, and wringing her hands, ‘"Oh I shall break my heart,"’ she cried, ‘"to see her in this condition! Is this the so happy Miss Beverley, that I thought every body born to give joy to? the Miss Beverley that seemed queen of the whole world! yet so good and so gentle, so kind to the meanest person! excusing every body's faults but her own, and telling them how they might mend, and trying to make them as good as herself!—Oh who would know her! who would know her! what have they done to you, my beloved Miss Beverley? how have they altered and disfi­gured you in this wicked and barbarous manner?"’

In the midst of this simple yet pathetic testimony, to the worth and various excel­lencies of Cecilia, Dr. Lyster came into the room. The women all flocked around him, except Mary, to vindicate themselves from any share in permitting this new comer's entrance and behaviour; but Mary only told him who she was, and said, that if her lady was well enough to know her, there [Page 352] was nobody she was certain she would have been so glad to see.

‘"Young lady,"’ said the doctor, ‘"I would advise you to walk into another room till you are a little more composed.’

‘"Every body, I find, is for hurrying me away;"’ cried the sobbing Henrietta, whose honest heart swelled with its own af­fectionate integrity; ‘"but they might all save themselves the trouble, for go I will not!"’

‘"This is very wrong,"’ said the doctor, ‘"and must not be suffered: do you call it friendship to come about a sick person in this manner?"’

‘"Oh my Miss Beverley!"’ cried Henri­etta, ‘"do you hear how they all upbraid me? how they all want to force me away from you, and to hinder me even from look­ing at you! Speak for me, sweet lady! speak for me yourself! tell them the poor Henrietta will not do you any harm; tell them she only wishes just to sit by you, and to see you!—I will hold by this dear hand,—I will cling to it till the last minute; and you will not, I know you will not, give orders to have it taken away from me!"’

Dr. Lyster, though his own good na­ture was much affected by this fond sor­row, now half angrily represented to her the impropriety of indulging it: but Henrietta, [Page 353] unused to disguise or repress her feelings, grew only the more violent, the more she was convinced of Cecilia's danger: ‘"Oh look but at her,"’ she exclaimed, ‘"and take me from her if you can! see how her sweet eyes are fixed! look but what a change in her complexion!—She does not see me, she does not know me,—she does not hear me! her hand seems quite lifeless already, her face is all fallen away!—Oh that I had died twenty deaths before I had lived to see this [...]ight!—poor wretch­ed Henrietta, thou hast now no friend left in the world! thou mayst go and lie down in some corner, and no one will come and say to thee a word of comfort!"’

‘"This must not be!"’ said Dr. Lyster, ‘"you must take her away."’

‘"You shall not!"’ cried she, desperately, ‘"I will stay with her till she has breathed her last, and I will stay with her still longer! and if she was to speak to you at this moment, she would tell you that she chose it. She loved the poor Henrietta, and loved to have her near her; and when she was ill, and in much distress, she never once bid me leave her room. Is it not true, my sweet Miss Beverley? do you not know it to be true? Oh look not so dread­fully! turn to your unhappy Henrietta; sweetest, best of ladies! will you not speak [Page 354] to her once more? will you not say to her one single word?"’

Dr. Lyster now grew very angry, and telling her such violence might have fatal consequences, frightened her into more or­der, and drew her away himself. He had then the kindness to go with her into ano­ther room, where, when her first vehemence was spent, his remonstrances and reasoning brought her to a sense of the danger she might occasion, and made her promise not to return to the room till she had gained strength to behave better.

When Dr. Lyster went again to Delvile, he found him greatly alarmed by his long stay; he communicated to him briefly what had passed, and counselled him to avoid en­creasing his own grief by the sight of what was suffered by this unguarded and ardent girl. Delvile readily assented, for the weight of his own woe was too heavy to bear any addition.

Henrietta now, kept in order by Dr. Lyster, contented herself with only sitting upon the bed, without attempting to speak, and with no other employment than alter­nately looking at her sick friend, and cover­ing her streaming eyes with her handker­chief; from time to time quitting the room wholly, for the relief of sobbing at liberty and aloud in another.

[Page 355] But, in the evening, while Delvile and Dr. Lyster were taking one of their melan­choly rambles, a new scene was acted in the apartment of the still senseless Cecilia. Al­bany suddenly made his entrance into it, accompanied by three children, two girls and one boy, from the ages of four to six, neatly dressed, clean, and healthy.

‘"See here!"’ cried he, as he came in, ‘"see here what I have brought you! raise, raise your languid head, and look this way! you think me rigid,—an enemy to pleasure, austere, harsh, and a forbidder of joy: look at this sight, and see the contrary! who shall bring you comfort, joy, pleasure, like this? three innocent children, clothed and fed by your bounty!"’

Henrietta and Mary, who both knew him well, were but little surprised at any thing he said or did, and the nurses presum­ed not to interfere but by whispers.

Cecilia, however, observed nothing that passed; and Albany, somewhat astonished, approached nearer to the bed; ‘"Wilt thou not speak?"’ he cried.

‘"She can't, Sir,"’ said one of the women; ‘"she has been speechless many hours."’

The air of triumph with which he had entered the room was now changed into dis­appointment and consternation. For some minutes he thoughtfully and sorrowfully [Page 356] contemplated her, and then, with a deep sigh, said, ‘"How will the poor rue this day!"’

Then, turning to the children, who, awed by this scene, were quiet from terror, ‘"Alas!"’ he said, ‘"ye helpless babes, ye know not what you have lost: presump­tuously we came; unheeded we must re­turn! I brought you to be seen by your benefactress, but she is going where she will find many such."’

He then led them away; but, suddenly coming back, ‘"I may see her, perhaps, no more! shall I not, then, pray for her? Great and aweful is the change she is mak­ing; what are human revolutions, how piti­ful, how insignificant, compared with it?—Come, little babies, come; with gifts has she often blessed you, with wishes bless her! Come, let us kneel round her bed; let us all pray for her together; lift up your innocent hands, and for all of you I will speak."’

He then made the children obey his in­junctions, and having knelt himself, while Henrietta and Mary instantly did the same, ‘"Sweet flower!"’ he cried, ‘"untimely cropt in years, yet in excellence mature! early decayed in misery, yet fragrant in in­nocence! Gentle be thy exit, for unsullied have been thy days; brief be thy pains, for [Page 357] few have been thy offences! Look at her sweet babes, and bear her in your remem­brance; often will I visit you and revive the solemn scene. Look at her ye, also, who are nearer to your end—Ah! will you bear it like her!"’

He paused; and the nurses and Mrs. Wyers, struck by this call, and moved by the general example, crept to the bed, and dropt on their knees, almost involuntarily.

‘"She departs,"’ resumed Albany, ‘"the envy of the world! while yet no guilt had seized her soul, and no remorse had marred her peace. She was the hand-maid of cha­rity, and pity dwelt in her bosom! her mouth was never opened but to give com­fort; her footsteps were followed by bles­sings! Oh happy in purity, be thine the song of triumph!—softly shalt thou sink to temporary sleep,—sublimely shalt thou rise to life that wakes for ever!"’

He then got up, took the children by their little hands, and went away.


DR. Lyster and Delvile met them at the entrance into the house. Extremely alarmed lest Cecilia had received any di­sturbance, they both hastened up stairs, but Delvile proceeded only to the door. He stopt there and listened; but all was si­lent: the prayers of Albany had struck an awe into every one; and Dr. Lyster soon returned to tell him there was no altera­tion in his patient.

‘"And he has not disturbed her?"’ cried Delvile.

‘"No, not at all."’

‘"I think, then,"’ said he, advancing, though trembling, ‘"I will yet see her once more."’

‘"No, no, Mr. Mortimer,"’ cried the doctor, ‘"why should you give yourself so unnecessary a shock?"’

‘"The shock,"’ answered he, ‘"is over!—tell me, however, is there any chance I may hurt her?"’

‘"I believe not; I do not think, just now, she will perceive you."’

[Page 359] ‘"Well, then,—I may grieve, perhaps, hereafter, that once more—that one glance!"’—He stopt, irresolute: the doctor would again have dissuaded him, but, after a little hesitation, he assured him he was prepared for the worst, and forced himself into the room.

When again, however, he beheld Ceci­lia,—senseless, speechless, motionless, her features void of all expression, her cheeks without colour, her eyes without meaning,—he shrunk from the sight, he leant upon Dr. Lyster, and almost groaned aloud.

The doctor would have conducted him out of the apartment; but, recovering from this first agony, he turned again to view her, and casting up his eyes, fervently eja­culated, ‘"Oh merciful powers! Take, or destroy her! let her not linger thus, rather let me loss her for ever!—Oh far rather would I see her dead, than in this dreadful condition!"’

Then, advancing to the bed side, and yet more earnestly looking at her, ‘"I pray not now,"’ he cried, ‘"for thy life! inhumanly as I have treated thee, I am not yet so har­dened as to wish thy misery lengthened: no; quick be thy restoration, or short as pure thy passage to eternity!—Oh my Ceci­lia! lovely, however altered! sweet even in the arms of death and insanity! and dearer [Page 360] to my tortured heart in this calamitous state, than in all thy pride of health and beauty!—"’

He stopt, and turned from her, yet could not tear himself away; he came back, he again looked at her, he hung over her in anguish unutterable; he kissed each burn­ing hand, he folded to his bosom her feeble form, and, recovering his speech, though almost bursting with sorrow, faintly arti­culated, ‘"Is all over? no ray of reason left? no knowledge of thy wretched Del­vile?—no, none! the hand of death is on her, and she is utterly gone!—sweet suf­fering excellence! loved, lost, expiring Cecilia!—but I will not repine! peace and kindred angels are watching to receive thee, and if thou art parted from thyself, it were impious to lament thou shouldst be parted from me.—Yet in thy tomb will be depo­sited all that to me could render existence supportable, every frail chance of happi­ness, every sustaining hope, and all allevia­tion of sorrow!—"’

Dr. Lyster now again approaching, thought he perceived some change in his patient, and peremptorily forced him away from her: then returning himself, he found that her eyes were shut, and she was dropt asleep.

This was an omen the most favourable [Page 361] he could hope. He now seated himself by the bedside, and determined not to quit her till the expected crisis was past. He gave the strictest orders for the whole house to be kept quiet, and suffered no one in the room either to speak or move.

Her sleep was long and heavy; yet, when she awoke, her sensibility was evi­dently returned. She started, suddenly raised her head from the pillow, looked round her, and called out, ‘"where am I now?"’

‘"Thank Heaven!"’ cried Henrietta, and was rushing forward, when Dr. Lyster, by a stern and angry look, compelled her again to take her seat.

He then spoke to her himself, enquired how she did, and found her quite rational.

Henrietta, who now doubted not her perfect recovery, wept as violently for joy as she had before wept for grief; and Mary, in the same belief, ran instantly to Delvile, eager to carry to him the first tidings that her mistress had recovered her reason.

Delvile, in the utmost emotion, then re­turned to the chamber; but stood at some distance from the bed, waiting Dr. Lyster's permission to approach it.

Cecilia was quiet and composed, her re­collection seemed restored, and her intel­lects sound: but she was faint and weak, [Page 362] and contentedly silent, to avoid the effort of speaking.

Dr. Lyster encouraged this stillness, and suffered not any one, not even Delvile, to advance to her. After a short time, how­ever, she again, and very calmly, began to talk to him. She now first knew him, and seemed much surprised by his attendance. She could not tell, she said, what of late had happened to her, nor could guess where she was, or by what means she came into such a place. Dr. Lyster desired her at present not to think upon the subject, and promised her a full account of every thing, when she was stronger, and more fit for conversing.

This for a while silenced her. But, after a short pause, ‘"Tell me,"’ she said, ‘"Dr. Lyster, have I no friend in this place but you?"’ ‘"Yes, yes, you have several friends here,"’ answered the Doctor, ‘"only I keep them in order, lest they should hurry or disturb you."’

She seemed much pleased by this speech; but soon after said, ‘"You must not, Doctor, keep them in order much longer, for the sight of them, I think, would much re­vive me."’

‘"Ah, Miss Beverley!"’ cried Henrietta, who could not now restrain herself, ‘"may [Page 363] not I, among the rest, come and speak to you?"’

‘"Who is that?"’ said Cecilia, in a voice of pleasure, though very feeble; ‘"is it my ever-dear Henrietta?"’

‘"Oh this is joy indeed!"’ cried she, fervently kissing her cheeks and forehead, ‘"joy that I never, never expected to have more!"’

‘"Come, come,"’ cried Doctor Lyster, ‘"here's enough of this; did I not do well to keep such people off?"’

‘"I believe you did,"’ said Cecilia, faint­ly smiling; ‘"my too kind Henrietta, you must be more tranquil!"’

‘"I will, I will indeed, madam!—my dear, dear Miss Beverley, I will indeed!—now once you have owned me, and once again I hear your sweet voice, I will do any thing, and every thing, for I am made hap­py for my whole life!"’

‘"Ah, sweet Henrietta!"’ cried Cecilia, giving her her hand, ‘"you must suppress these feelings, or our Doctor here will soon part us. But tell me, Doctor, is there no one else that you can let me see?"’

Delvile, who had listened to this scene in the unspeakable perturbation of that hope which is kindled from the very ashes of des­pair, was now springing forward; but Dr. Lyster, fearful of the consequences, hastily [Page 364] arose, and with a look and air not to be disputed, took hold of his arm, and led him out of the room. He then represented to him strongly the danger of agitating or disturbing her, and charged him to keep from her sight till better able to bear it; assuring him at the same time that he might now reasonably hope her recovery.

Delvile, lost in transport, could make no answer, but flew into his arms, and almost madly embraced him; he then hastened out of sight to pour forth fervent thanks, and hurrying back with equal speed, again em­braced the Doctor, and while his manly cheeks were burnt with tears of joy, he could not yet articulate the glad tumult of his soul.

The worthy Dr. Lyster, who heartily par­took of his happiness, again urged him to be discreet; and Delvile, no longer intract­able and desperate, gratefully concurred in whatever he commanded. Dr. Lyster then returned to Cecilia, and to relieve her mind from any uneasy suspense, talked to her openly of Delvile, gave her to understand he was acquainted with her marriage, and told her he had prohibited their meeting till each was better able to support it.

Cecilia by this delay seemed half grati­fied, and half disappointed; but the rest of the physicians, who had been summoned [Page 365] upon this happy change, now appearing, the orders were yet more strictly enforced for keeping her quiet.

She submitted, therefore, peaceably; and Delvile, whose gladdened heart still throbbed with speechless rapture, content­edly watched at her chamber door, and obeyed implicitly whatever was said to him.

She now visibly, and almost hourly grew better; and, in a short time, her anxiety to know all that was passed, and by what means she became so ill, and confined in a house of which she had not any knowledge, obliged Dr. Lyster to make himself mas­ter of these particulars, that he might com­municate them to her with a calmness that Delvile could not attain.

Delvile himself, happy to be spared the bitter task of such a relation, informed him all he knew of the story, and then entreat­ed him to narrate to her also the motives of his own strange, and he feared unpardon­able conduct, and the scenes which had fol­lowed their parting.

He came, he said, to England, ignorant of all that had past in his absence, intend­ing merely to wait upon his father, and communicate his marriage, before he gave directions to his lawyer for the settlements and preparations which were to precede its [Page 366] further publication. He meant, also, to satisfy himself, of the real situation of Mr. Monckton, and then, after an interview with Cecilia, to have returned to his mo­ther, and waited at Nice till he might pub­licly claim his wife.

To this purpose he had written in his letter, which he meant to have put in the Post-office in London himself; and he had but just alighted from his chaise, when he met Ralph, Cecilia's servant, in the street.

Hastily stopping him, he enquired if he had left his place? ‘"No,"’ answered Ralph, ‘"I am only come up to town with my lady."’

‘"With your lady!"’ cried the astonished Delvile, ‘"is your lady then in town?"’

‘"Yes, sir, she is at Mrs. Belfield's."’

‘"At Mrs. Belfield's?—is her daugh­ter returned home?"’

‘"No, sir, we left her in the country."’

He was then going on with a further account, but, in too much confusion of mind to hear him, Delvile abruptly wish­ed him good night, and marched on him­self towards Belfield's.

The pleasure with which he would have heard that Cecilia was so near to him, was totally lost in his perplexity to account for her journey. Her letters had never hinted at such a purpose,—the news reached him [Page 367] only by accident,—it was ten o'clock at night,—yet she was at Belfield's—though the sister was away,—though the mother was professedly odious to her!—In an instant, all he had formerly heard, all he had formerly disregarded, rushed suddenly upon his memory, and he began to believe he had been deluded, that his father was right, and that Belfield had some strange and improper influence over her heart.

The suspicion was death to him; he drove it from him, he concluded the whole was some error: his reason as powerfully as his tenderness vindicated her innocence; and though he arrived at the house in much disorder, he yet arrived with a firm per­suasion of an honourable explanation.

The door was open,—a chaise was at it in waiting,—Mrs. Belfield was listening in the passage; these appearances were strange, and encreased his agitation. He asked for her son in a voice scarce audible,—she told him he was engaged with a lady, and must not be disturbed.

That fatal answer, at a moment so big with the most horrible surmises, was deci­sive: furiously, therefore, he forced him­self past her, and opened the door:—but when he saw them together,—the rest of the family confessedly excluded, his rage [Page 368] turned to horror, and he could hardly support himself.

‘"O Dr. Lyster!"’ he continued, ‘"ask of the sweet creature if these circumstances offer any extenuation for the fatal jealousy which seized me? never by myself while I live will it be forgiven, but she, perhaps, who is all softness, all compassion, and all peace, may some time hence think my suffer­ings almost equal to my offence."’

He then proceeded in his narration.

When he had so peremptorily ordered her chaise to St. James's-square, he went back to the house, and desired Belfield to walk out with him. He complied, and they were both silent till they came to a Coffee-house, where they asked for a pri­vate room. The whole way they went, his heart, secretly satisfied of the purity of Cecilia, smote him for the situation in which he had left her; yet, having unfor­tunately gone so far as to make his suspi­cions apparent, he thought it necessary to his character that their abolition should be equally public.

When they were alone, ‘"Belfield,"’ he said, ‘"to obviate any imputation of im­pertinence in my enquiries, I deny not, what I presume you have been told by her­self, that I have the nearest interest in whatever [Page 369] concerns the lady from whom we are just now parted: I must beg, therefore, an ex­plicit account of the purpose of your pri­vate conversation with her."’

‘"Mr. Delvile,"’ answered Belfield, with mingled candour and spirit, ‘"I am not com­monly much disposed to answer enquiries thus cavalierly put to me; yet here, as I find myself not the principal person con­cerned, I think I am bound in justice to speak for the absent who is. I assure you, therefore, most solemnly, that your interest in Miss Beverley I never heard but by com­mon report, that our being alone together was by both of us undesigned and unde­sired, that the honour she did our house in calling at it, was merely to acquaint my mother with my sister's removal to Mrs. Harrel's, and that the part which I had myself in her condescension, was simply to be consulted upon a journey which she has in contemplation to the South of France. And now, sir, having given you this peaceable satisfaction, you will find me extremely at your service to offer any other."’

Delvile instantly held out his hand to him; ‘"What you assert,"’ he said ‘"upon your honour, requires no other testimony. Your gallantry and your probity are equal­ly well known to me; with either, therefore, [Page 370] I am content, and by no means re­quire the intervention of both."’

They then parted; and now, his doubts removed, and his punctilio satisfied, he flew to St. James's-square, to entreat the forgiveness of Cecilia for the alarm he had occasioned her, and to hear the reason of her sudden journey, and change of mea­sures. But when he came there, to find that his father, whom he had concluded was at Delvile Castle, was in the house, while Cecilia had not even enquired for him at the door,—‘Oh let me not,"’ he continued, ‘"even to myself, let me not trace the agony of that moment!—where to seek her I knew not, why she was in London I could not divine, for what pur­pose she had given the postilion a new di­rection I could form no idea. Yet it ap­peared that she wished to avoid me, and once more, in the frenzy of my disappointment, I supposed Belfield a party in her conceal­ment. Again, therefore, I sought him,—at his own house,—at the coffee-house where I had left him,—in vain, wherever I came, I just missed him, for, hearing of my search, he went with equal restlessness, from place to place to meet me. I rejoice we both failed; a repetition of my enquiries in my then irritable state, must inevitably have provoked the most fatal resentment.’

‘"I will not dwell upon the scenes that [Page 371] followed,—my laborious search, my fruit­less wanderings, the distraction of my sus­pense, the excess of my despair!—even Belfield, the fiery Belfield, when I met with him the next day, was so much touched by my wretchedness, that he bore with all my injustice; feeling, noble young man! never will I lose the remembrance of his high-souled patience.’

‘"And now, Dr. Lyster, go to my Ceci­lia; tell her this tale, and try, for you have skill sufficient, to soften, yet not wound her with my sufferings. If then she can bear to see me, to bless me with the sound of her sweet voice, no longer at war with her intellects, to hold out to me her loved hand, in token of peace and for­giveness.—Oh, Dr. Lyster! preserver of my life in hers! give to me but that ex­quisite moment, and every past evil will be for ever obliterated!"’

‘"You must be calmer, Sir,"’ said the Doctor, ‘"before I make the attempt. These heroicks are mighty well for sound health, and strong nerves, but they will not do for an invalide."’

He went, however, to Cecilia, and gave her this narration, suppressing whatever he feared would most affect her, and judiciously enlivening the whole by his strictures. Ce­cilia was much easier for this removal of [Page 372] her perplexities, and, as her anguish and her terror had been unmixed with resent­ment, she had now no desire but to recon­cile Delvile with himself.

Dr. Lyster, however, by his friendly au­thority, obliged her for some time to be content with this relation; but when she grew better, her impatience became strong­er, and he feared opposition would be as hurtful as compliance.

Delvile, therefore, was now admitted; yet slowly and with trepidation he advanced, terrified for her, and fearful of himself, filled with remorse for the injuries she had sustained, and impressed with grief and horror to behold her so ill and altered.

Supported by pillows, she sat almost upright. The moment she saw him, she attempted to bend forward and welcome him, calling out in a tone of pleasure, though faintly, ‘"Ah! dearest Delvile! is it you?"’ but too weak for the effort she had made, she sunk back upon her pillow, pale, trembling, and disordered.

Dr. Lyster would then have interfered to postpone their further conversation; but Delvile was no longer master of himself or his passions: he darted forward, and kneel­ing at the bed side, ‘"Sweet injured excel­lence!"’ he cried, ‘"wife of my heart! sole object of my chosen affection! dost thou [Page 373] yet live? do I hear thy loved voice?—do I see thee again?—art thou my Cecilia? and have I indeed not lost thee?"’ then re­garding her more fixedly, ‘"Alas,"’ he cried, ‘"art thou indeed my Cecilia! so pale, so emaciated!—Oh suffering angel! and couldst thou then call upon Delvile, the guilty, but heart-broken Delvile, thy de­stroyer, thy murderer, and yet not call to execrate him?"’

Cecilia, extremely affected, could not utter a word; she held out to him her hand, she looked at him with gentleness and kindness, but tears started into her eyes, and trickled in large drops down her colour­less cheeks.

‘"Angelic creature!"’ cried Delvile, his own tears overflowing, while he pressed to his lips the kind token of her pardon, ‘"can you give to me again a hand so ill deserved? can you look with such compassion on the author of your woes? on the wretch, who for an instant could doubt the purity of a mind so seraphic!"’

‘"Ah, Delvile!"’ cried she, a little re­viving, ‘"think no more of what is past!—to see you,—to be yours,—drives all evil from my remembrance!"’

‘"I am not worthy this joy!"’ cried he rising, kneeling, and rising again; ‘"I know not how to sustain it! a forgiveness such [Page 374] as this,—when I believed you must hate me for ever! when repulse and aversion were all I dared expect,—when my own in­humanity had bereft thee of thy reason,—when the grave, the pitiless grave, was al­ready open to receive thee,"—’

‘"Too kind, too feeling Delvile!"’ cried the penetrated Cecilia, ‘"relieve your load­ed heart from these bitter recollections; mine is lightened already,—lightened, I think, of every thing but its affection for you!"’

‘"Oh words of transport and extacy!"’ cried the enraptured Delvile, ‘"oh partner of my life! friend, solace, darling of my bosom! that so lately I thought expiring! that I folded to my bleeding heart in the agony of eternal separation!"—’

‘"Come away, Sir, come away,"’ cried Dr. Lyster, who now saw that Cecilia was greatly agitated, ‘"I will not be answerable for the continuation of this scene;"’ and taking him by the arm, he awakened him from his frantic rapture, by assuring him she would faint, and forced him away from her.

Soon after he was gone, and Cecilia be­came more tranquil, Henrietta, who had wept with bitterness in a corner of the room during this scene, approached her, and, with an attempted smile, though in a voice [Page 375] hardly audible, said, ‘"Ah, Miss Beverley, you will, at last, then be happy! happy as all your goodness deserves. And I am sure I should rejoice in it if I was to die to make you happier!"’

Cecilia, who but too well knew her full meaning, tenderly embraced her, but was prevented by Dr. Lyster from entering in­to any discourse with her.

The first meeting, however, with Delvile being over, the second was far more quiet, and in a very short time, he would scarcely quit her a moment, Cecilia herself receiving from his sight a pleasure too great for denial, yet too serene for danger.

The worthy Dr. Lyster, finding her prospect of recovery thus fair, prepared for leaving London: but, equally desirous to do good out of his profession as in it, he first, at the request of Delvile, waited upon his father, to acquaint him with his pre­sent situation, solicit his directions for his future proceedings, and endeavour to nego­ciate a general reconciliation.

Mr. Delvile, to whose proud heart soci­al joy could find no avenue, was yet touch­ed most sensibly by the restoration of Ce­cilia. Neither his dignity nor his displea­sure had been able to repress remorse, a feeling to which, with all his foibles, he had not been accustomed. The view of [Page 376] her distraction had dwelt upon his imagi­nation, the despondency of his son had struck him with fear and horror. He had been haunted by self reproach, and pursued by vain regret; and those concessions he had refused to tenderness and entreaty, he now willingly accorded to change repen­tance for tranquility. He sent instantly for his son, whom even with tears he em­braced, and felt his own peace restored as he pronounced his forgiveness.

New, however, to kindness, he retained it not long, and a stranger to generosity, he knew not how to make her welcome: the extinction of his remorse abated his com­passion for Cecilia, and when solicited to receive her, he revived the charges of Mr. Monckton.

Cecilia, informed of this, determined to write to that gentleman herself, whose long and painful illness, joined to his irrecover­able loss of her, she now hoped might prevail with him to make reparation for the injuries he had done her.


I write not, Sir, to upbraid you; the woes which have followed your ill offices, and which you may some time hear, will [Page 377] render my reproaches superfluous. I write but to beseech that what is past may con­tent you; and that, however, while I was single, you chose to misrepresent me to the Delvile family, you will have so much ho­nour, since I am now become one of it, as to acknowledge my innocence of the crimes laid to my charge.

In remembrance of my former long friendship, I send you my good wishes; and in consideration of my hopes from your recantation, I send you, Sir, if you think it worth acceptance, my forgive­ness.


Mr. Monckton, after many long and painful struggles between useless rage, and involuntary remorse, at length sent the following answer.


Those who could ever believe you guil­ty, must have been eager to think you so. I meant but your welfare at all times, and to have saved you from a connection I never thought equal to your merit. I am grieved, but not surprised, to hear of your injuries; from the alliance you have formed, [Page 378] nothing else could be expected: if my tes­timony to your innocence can, however, serve to mitigate them, I scruple not to de­clare I believe it without taint.

Delvile sent by Dr. Lyster this letter to his father, whose rage at the detection of the perfidy which had deceived him, was yet inferior to what he felt that his family was mentioned so injuriously.

His conference with Dr. Lyster was long and painful, but decisive: that sagacious and friendly man knew well how to work upon his passions, and so effectually awak­ened them by representing the disgrace of his own family from the present situation of Cecilia, that before he quitted his house he was authorised to invite her to remove to it.

When he returned from his embassy, he found Delvile in her room, and each wait­ing with impatience the event of his nego­ciation.

The Doctor with much alacrity gave Ce­cilia the invitation with which he had been charged; but Delvile, jealous for her dig­nity, was angry and dissatisfied his father brought it not himself, and exclaimed with much mortification, ‘"Is this all the grace accorded me?"’

‘"Patience, patience, Sir,"’ answered the Doctor; ‘"when you have thwarted any body in their first hope and ambition, do [Page 379] you expect they will send you their compli­ments and many thanks for the disappoint­ment? Pray let the good gentleman have his way in some little matters, since you have taken such effectual care to put out of his reach the power of having it in greater."’

‘"O far from starting obstacles,"’ cried Cecilia, ‘"let us solicit a reconciliation with whatever concessions he may require. The misery of DISOBEDIENCE we have but too fatally experienced; and thinking as we think of filial ties and parental claims, how can we ever hope happiness till for­given and taken into favour?"’

‘"True, my Cecilia,"’ answered Delvile, ‘"and generous and condescending as true; and if you can thus sweetly comply, I will gratefully forbear making any opposition. Too much already have you suffered from the impetuosity of my temper, but I will try to curb it in future by the remembrance of your injuries."’

‘"The whole of this unfortunate busi­ness,"’ said Dr. Lyster, ‘"has been the re­sult of PRIDE and PREJUDICE. Your uncle, the Dean, began it, by his arbitrary will, as if an ordinance of his own could arrest the course of nature! and as if he had power to keep alive, by the loan of a name, a family in the male branch already extinct. Your father, Mr. Mortimer, continued it [Page 380] with the same self-partiality, preferring the wretched gratification of tickling his ear with a favourite sound, to the solid happi­ness of his son with a rich and deserving wife. Yet this, however, remember; if to PRIDE and PREJUDICE you owe your miseries, so wonderfully is good and evil balanced, that to PRIDE and PREJU­DICE you will also owe their termination: for all that I could say to Mr. Delvile, either of reasoning or entreaty,—and I said all I could suggest, and I suggested all a man need wish to hear,—was totally thrown away, till I pointed out to him his own dis­grace, in having a daughter-in-law immured in these mean lodgings!’

‘"Thus, my dear young lady, the terror which drove you to this house, and the suf­ferings which have confined you in it, will prove, in the event, the source of your future peace: for when all my best rheto­rick failed to melt Mr. Delvile, I instantly brought him to terms by coupling his name with a pawnbroker's! And he could not with more disgust hear his son called Mr. Beverley, than think of his son's wife when he hears of the Three Blue Balls! Thus the same passions, taking but different direc­tions, do mischief and cure it alternately.’

‘"Such, my good young friends, is the MORAL of your calamities. You have [Page 381] all, in my opinion, been strangely at cross purposes, and trifled, no one knows why, with the first blessings of life. My only hope is that now, having among you thrown away its luxuries, you will have known enough of misery to be glad to keep its ne­cessaries."’

This excellent man was yet prevailed upon by Delvile to stay and assist in remov­ing the feeble Cecilia to St. James's-square.

Henrietta, for whom Mr. Arnott's equi­page and servants had still remained in town, was then, though with much diffi­culty, persuaded to go back to Suffolk: but Cecilia, however fond of her society, was too sensible of the danger and impro­priety of her present situation, to receive from it any pleasure.

Mr. Delvile's reception of Cecilia was formal and cold: yet, as she now appeared publicly in the character of his son's wife, the best apartment in his house had been prepared for her use, his domestics were in­structed to wait upon her with the utmost respect, and Lady Honoria Pemberton, who was accidently in town, offered from curio­sity, what Mr. Delvile accepted from pa­rade, to be herself in St. James's-square, in order to do honour to his daughter-in-law's first entrance.

When Cecilia was a little recovered from [Page 382] the shock of the first interview, and the fa­tigueof her removal, the anxious Mortimer would instantly have had her conveyed to her own apartment; but, willing to exert herself, and hoping to oblige Mr. Delvile, she declared she was well able to remain some time longer in the drawing-room.

‘"My good friends,"’ said Dr. Lyster, ‘"in the course of my long practice, I have found it impossible to study the human frame, without a little studying the human mind; and from all that I have yet been able to make out, either by observation, re­flection, or comparison, it appears to me at this moment, that Mr. Mortimer Delvile has got the best wife, and that you, Sir, have here the most faultless daughter-in-law, that any husband or any father in the three kingdoms belonging to his Majesty can either have or desire."’

Cecilia smiled; Mortimer looked his de­lighted concurrence; Mr. Delvile forced himself to make a stiff inclination of the head; and Lady Honoria gaily exclaimed, ‘"Dr. Lyster, when you say the best and the most faultless, you should always add the rest of company excepted."’

‘"Upon my word,"’ cried the Doctor, ‘"I beg your ladyship's pardon; but there is a certain unguarded warmth comes across a man now and then, that drives etiquette [Page 383] out of his head, and makes him speak truth before he well knows where he is."’

‘"O terrible!"’ cried she, ‘"this is sink­ing deeper and deeper. I had hoped the town air would have taught you better things; but I find you have visited at Del­vile Castle till you are fit for no other place."’

‘"Whoever, Lady Honoria,"’ said Mr. Delvile, much offended, ‘"is fit for Del­vile Castle, must be fit for every other place; though every other place may by no means be fit for him."’

‘"O yes, Sir,"’ cried she, giddily, ‘"every possible place will be fit for him, if he can once bear with that. Don't you think so, Dr. Lyster?"’

‘"Why, when a man has the honour to see your ladyship,"’ answered he, good-hu­mouredly, ‘"he is apt to think too much of the person, to care about the place."’

‘"Come, I begin to have some hopes of you,"’ cried she, ‘"for I see, for a Doctor, you have really a very pretty notion of a compliment: only you have one great fault still; you look the whole time as if you said it for a joke."’

‘"Why, in fact, madam, when a man has been a plain dealer both in word and look for upwards of fifty years, 'tis expect­ing too quick a reformation to demand [Page 384] ductility of voice and eye from him at a blow. However, give me but a little time and a little encouragement, and, with such a tutress, 'twill be hard if I do not, in a very few lessons, learn the right method of seasoning a simper, and the newest fashion of twisting words from meaning."’

‘"But pray,"’ cried she, ‘"upon those occasions, always remember to look serious. Nothing sets off a compliment so much as a long face. If you are tempted to an un­seasonable laugh, think of Delvile Castle; 'tis an expedient I commonly make use of myself when I am afraid of being too frisky: and it always succeeds, for the very recol­lection of it gives me the head-ache in a moment. Upon my word, Mr. Delvile, you must have the constitution of five men, to have kept such good health, after living so long at that horrible place. You can't imagine how you've surprised me, for I have regularly expected to hear of your death at the end of every summer: and, I assure you, once, I was very near buying mourning."’

‘"The estate which descends to a man from his own ancestors, Lady Honoria,"’ answered Mr. Delvile, ‘"will seldom be apt to injure his health, if he is conscious of committing no misdemeanour which has degraded their memory."’

[Page 385] ‘"How vastly odious this new father of yours is!"’ said Lady Honoria, in a whisper to Cecilia; ‘"what could ever in­duce you to give up your charming estate for the sake of coming into his fusty old family! I would really advise you to have your marriage annulled. You have only, you know, to take an oath that you were forcibly run away with; and as you are an Heiress, and the Delviles are all so violent, it will easily be credited. And then, as soon as you are at liberty, I would advise you to marry my little Lord Derford."’

‘"Would you only, then,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"have me regain my freedom in order to part with it?"’

‘"Certainly,"’ answered Lady Honoria, ‘"for you can do nothing at all without being married; a single woman is a thou­sand times more shackled than a wife; for, she is accountable to every body; and a wife, you know, has nothing to do but just to manage her husband."’

‘"And that,"’ said Cecilia, smiling, ‘"you consider as a trifle?"’

‘"Yes, if you do but marry a man you don't care for."’

‘"You are right, then, indeed, to recom­mend to me my Lord Derford!"’

‘"O yes, he will make the prettiest hus­band in the world; you may fly about yourself [Page 386] as wild as a lark, and keep him the whole time as tame as a jack-daw: and though he may complain of you to your friends, he will never have the courage to find fault to your face. But as to Morti­mer, you will not be able to govern him as long as you live; for the moment you have put him upon the fret, you'll fall into the dumps yourself, hold out your hand to him, and, losing the opportunity of gaining some material point, make up at the first soft word."’

‘"You think, then, the quarrel more amusing than the reconciliation?"’

‘"O, a thousand times! for while you are quarrelling, you may say any thing, and demand any thing, but when you are recon­ciled, you ought to behave pretty, and seem contented."’

‘"Those who presume to have any pre­tensions to your ladyship,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"would be made happy indeed should they hear your principles!"’

‘"O, it would not signify at all,"’ an­swered she, ‘"for one's fathers, and uncles, and those sort of people, always make con­nexions for one, and not a creature thinks of our principles, till they find them out by our conduct: and nobody can possibly do that till we are married, for they give us no power beforehand. The men know nothing [Page 387] of us in the world while we are single, but how we can dance a minuet, or play a lesson upon the harpsichord."’

‘"And what else,"’ said Mr. Delvile, who advanced, and heard this last speech, ‘"need a young lady of rank desire to be known for? your ladyship surely would not have her degrade herself by studying like an ar­tist or professor?"’

‘"O no, Sir, I would not have her study at all; it's mighty well for children, but really after sixteen, and when one is come out, one has quite fatigue enough in dressing, and going to public places, and ordering new things, without all that tor­ment of first and second position, and E upon the first line, and F upon the first space!"’

‘"Your ladyship must, however, par­don me for hinting,"’ said Mr. Delvile, ‘"that a young lady of condition, who has a proper sense of her dignity, cannot be seen too rarely, or known too little."’

‘"O but I hate dignity!"’ cried she, care­lessly, ‘"for its the dullest thing in the world. I always thought it was owing to that you were so little amusing;—really I beg your pardon, Sir, I meant to say so little talkative."’

‘"I can easily credit that your ladyship spoke hastily,"’ answered he, highly piqued, [Page 388] ‘"for I believe, indeed, a person of a family such as mine, will hardly be supposed to have come into the world for the office of amusing it!"’

‘"O no, Sir,"’ cried she, with pretended innocence, ‘"nobody, I am sure, ever saw you with such a thought."’ Then, turning to Cecilia, she added in a whisper, ‘"You cannot imagine, my dear Mrs. Mortimer, how I detest this old cousin of mine! Now pray tell me honestly if you don't hate him yourself?"’

‘"I hope,"’ said Cecilia, ‘"to have no reason."’

‘"Lord, how you are always upon your guard! If I were half as cautious, I should die of the vapours in a month; the only thing that keeps me at all alive, is now and then making people angry; for the folks at our house let me go out so seldom, and then send me with such stupid old chaperons, that giving them a little torment is really the only entertainment I can procure my­self. O—but I had almost forgot to tell you a most delightful thing!"’

‘"What is it?"’

‘"Why you must know I have the great­est hopes in the world that my father will quarrel with old Mr. Delvile!"’

‘"And is that such a delightful thing!"’

‘"O yes; I have lived upon the very [Page 389] idea this fortnight; for then, you know, they'll both be in a passion, and I shall see which of them looks frightfullest."’

‘"When Lady Honoria whispers,"’ cried Mortimer, ‘"I always suspect some mis­chief."’

‘"No indeed,"’ answered her ladyship, ‘"I was merely congratulating Mrs. Morti­mer about her marriage. Though really, upon second thoughts, I don't know whether I should not rather condole with her, for I have long been convinced she has a prodi­gious antipathy to you. I saw it the whole time I was at Delvile Castle, where she used to change colour at the very sound of your name; a symptom I never perceived when I talked to her of my Lord Derford, who would certainly have made her a thou­sand times a better husband."’

‘"If you mean on account of his title, Lady Honoria,"’ said Mr. Delvile: ‘"your ladyship must be strangely forgetful of the connections of your family, not to remember that Mortimer, after the death of his uncle and myself, must inevitably inherit one far more honourable than a new-sprung-up fa­mily, like my Lord Ernolf's, could offer."’

‘"Yes, Sir; but then, you know, she would have kept her estate, which would have been a vastly better thing than an old pedigree of new relations. Besides, I don't [Page 390] find that any body cares for the noble blood of the Delviles but themselves; and if she had kept her fortune, every body, I fancy, would have cared for that."’

‘"Every body, then,"’ said Mr. Delvile, ‘"must be highly mercenary and ignoble, or the blood of an ancient and honourable house, would be thought contaminated by the most distant hint of so degrading a com­parison."’

‘"Dear Sir, what should we all do with birth if it was not for wealth? it would nei­ther take us to Ranelagh nor the Opera; nor buy us caps nor wigs, nor supply us with dinners, nor bouquets."’

‘"Caps and wigs, dinners and bou­quets!"’ interrupted Mr. Delvile; ‘"your ladyship's estimate of wealth is really ex­tremely minute."’

‘"Why, you know, Sir, as to caps and wigs, they are very serious things, for we should look mighty droll figures to go about bare-headed; and as to dinners, how would the Delviles have lasted all these thou­sand centuries if they had disdained eating them?"’

‘"Whatever may be your ladyship's sa­tisfaction,"’ said Mr. Delvile, angrily, ‘"in depreciating a house that has the honour of being nearly allied with your own, you will not, I hope at least, instruct this lady,"’ [Page 391] turning to Cecilia, ‘"to adopt a similar con­tempt of its antiquity and dignity."’

‘"This lady,"’ cried Mortimer, ‘"will at least, by condescending to become one of it, secure us from any danger that such contempt may spread further."’

‘"Let me but,"’ said Cecilia, looking gratefully at him, ‘"be as secure from exciting as I am from feeling contempt, and what can I have to wish?"’

‘"Good and excellent young lady!"’ said Dr. Lyster, ‘"the first of blessings in­deed is yours in the temperance of your own mind. When you began your career in life, you appeared to us short-sighted mortals, to possess more than your share of the good things of this world; such a union of riches, beauty, independence, ta­lents, education and virtue, seemed a mo­nopoly to raise general envy and discon­tent; but mark with what scrupulous ex­actness the good and bad is ever balanced! You have had a thousand sorrows to which those who have looked up to you have been strangers, and for which not all the advan­tages you possess have been equivalent. There is evidently throughout this world, in things as well as persons, a levelling prin­ciple, at war with pre-eminence, and destruc­tive of perfection."’

‘"Ah!"’ cried Mortimer, in a low voice [Page 392] to Cecilia, ‘"how much higher must we all rise, or how much lower must you fall, ere any levelling principle will approxi­mate us with YOU!"’

He then entreated her to spare her strength and spirits by returning to her own apartment, and the conversation was brok­en up.

‘"Pray permit me, Mrs. Mortimer,"’ cried Lady Honoria, in taking leave, ‘"to beg that the first guest you invite to Delvile Castle may be me. You know my partiali­ty to it already. I shall be particularly happy in waiting upon you in tempestuous weather! We can all stroll out together, you know, very sociably; and I sha'n't be much in your way, for if there should hap­pen to be a storm, you can easily lodge me under some great tree, and while you amuse yourselves with a tête-à-tête, give me the indulgence of my own reflections. I am vastly fond of thinking, and being alone, you know,—especially in thunder and light­ening!"’

She then ran away; and they all separat­ed: Cecilia was conveyed up stairs, and the worthy Dr. Lyster, loaded with acknow­ledgments of every kind, set out for the country.

Cecilia, still weak, and much emaciated, for some time lived almost wholly in her [Page 393] own room; where the grateful and solici­tous attendance of Mortimer, alleviated the pain both of her illness and confinement: but as soon as her health permitted travel­ling, he hastened with her abroad.

Here tranquility once more made its abode the heart of Cecilia; that heart so long torn with anguish, suspense and hor­rour! Mrs. Delvile received her with the most rapturous fondness, and the impression of her sorrows gradually wore away, from her kind and maternal cares, and from the watchful affection and delighted tenderness of her son.

The Egglestons now took entire possession of her estate, and Delvile, at her en­treaty, forbore shewing any personal re­sentment of their conduct, and put into the hands of a lawyer the arrangement of the affair.

They continued abroad some months, and the health of Mrs. Delvile was toler­ably re-established. They were then sum­moned home by the death of Lord Delvile, who bequeathed to his nephew Mortimer his town house, and whatever of his estate was not annexed to his title, which necessarily devolved to his brother.

The sister of Mrs. Delvile, a woman of high spirit and strong passions, lived not long after him; but having, in her latter [Page 394] days, intimately connected herself with Ce­cilia, she was so much charmed with her character, and so much dazzled by her ad­miration of the extraordinary sacrifice she had made, that, in a fit of sudden enthu­siasm, she altered her will, to leave to her, and to her sole disposal, the fortune which, almost from his infancy, she had des­tined for her nephew. Cecilia, astonished and penetrated, opposed the alteration; but even her sister, now Lady Delvile, to whom she daily became dearer, earnestly supported it; while Mortimer, delighted to restore to her through his own family, any part of that power and independence of which her generous and pure regard for himself had deprived her, was absolute in refusing that the deed should be revoked.

Cecilia, from this flattering transaction, received a further conviction of the malig­nant falsehood of Mr. Monckton, who had always represented to her the whole of the Delvile family as equally poor in their cir­cumstances, and illiberal in their minds. The strong spirit of active benevolence which had ever marked her character, was now again displayed, though no longer, as hitherto, unbounded. She had learnt the error of profusion, even in charity and bene­ficence; and she had a motive for oeconomy, in her animated affection for Mortimer.

[Page 395] She soon sent for Albany, whose surprise that she still existed, and whose rapture at her recovered prosperity, now threatened his senses from the tumult of his joy, with nearly the same danger they had lately been menaced by terror. But though her dona­tions were circumscribed by prudence, and their objects were selected with discrimina­tion, she gave to herself all her former be­nevolent pleasure, in solacing his afflic­tions, while she softened his asperity, by restoring to him his favourite office of being her almoner and monitor.

She next sent to her own pensioners, re­lieved those distresses which her sudden absence had occasioned, and renewed and continued the salaries she had allowed them. All who had nourished reasonable expecta­tions from her bounty she remembered, though she raised no new claimants but with oeconomy and circumspection. But neither Albany nor the old pensioners felt the satisfaction of Mortimer, who saw with new wonder the virtues of her mind, and whose admiration of her excellencies, made his gratitude perpetual for the happiness of his lot.

The tender-hearted Henrietta, in return­ing to her new friends, gave way, with art­less openness, to the violence of untamed grief; but finding Mr. Arnott as wretched [Page 396] as herself, the sympathy Cecilia had fore­seen soon endeared them to each other, while the little interest taken in either by Mrs. Harrel, made them almost inseparable companions.

Mrs. Harrel, wearied by their melan­choly, and sick of retirement, took the ear­liest opportunity that was offered her of changing her situation; she married very soon a man of fortune in the neighbour­hood, and, quickly forgetting all the past, thoughtlessly began the world again, with new hopes, new connections,—new equi­pages and new engagements!

Henrietta was then obliged to go again to her mother, where, though deprived of all the indulgencies to which she was now become familiar, she was not more hurt by the separation than Mr. Arnott. So sad and so solitary his house seemed in her ab­sence, that he soon followed her to town, and returned not till he carried her back its mistress. And there the gentle gratitude of her soft and feeling heart, engaged from the worthy Mr. Arnott the tenderest af­fection, and, in time, healed the wound of his early and hopeless passion.

The injudicious, the volatile, yet noble­minded Belfield, to whose mutable and en­terprising disposition life seemed always ra­ther beginning than progressive, roved from employment to employment, and from [Page 397] public life to retirement, soured with the world, and discontented with himself, till vanquished, at length, by the constant friendship of Delvile, he consented to accept his good offices in again entering the army; and, being fortunately ordered out upon foreign service, his hopes were revived by ambition, and his prospects were brightened by a view of future honour.

The wretched Monckton, dupe of his own cunning and artifices, still lived in lin­gering misery, doubtful which was most acute, the pain of his wound and confine­ment, or of his defeat and disappointment. Led on by a vain belief that he had parts to conquer all difficulties, he had indulged without restraint a passion in which interest was seconded by inclination. Allured by such fascinating powers, he shortly suffered nothing to stop his course; and though when he began his career he would have started at the mention of actual dishonour, long before it was concluded, neither treachery nor perjury were regarded by him as stumbling blocks. All fear of failing was lost in vanity, all sense of probity was sunk in interest, all scruples of conscience were left behind by the heat of the chace. Yet the unforeseen and melancholy cata­strophe of his long arts, illustrated in his despite what his principles had obscured, [Page 398] that even in worldly pursuits where fraud out-runs integrity, failure joins dishonour to loss, and disappointment excites triumph instead of pity.

The upright mind of Cecilia, her purity, her virtue, and the moderation of her wishes, gave to her in the warm affection of Lady Delvile, and the unremitting fondness of Mortimer, all the happiness human life seems capable of receiving:—yet human it was, and as such imperfect! she knew that, at times, the whole family must murmur at her loss of fortune, and at times she mur­mured herself to be thus portionless, tho' an HEIRESS. Rationally, however, she surveyed the world at large, and finding that of the few who had any happiness, there were none without some misery, she checked the rising sigh of repining mortali­ty, and, grateful with general felicity, bore partial evil with chearfullest resignation.


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