ANNA ST. IVES: A NOVEL.

ANNA ST. IVES: A NOVEL.

BY THOMAS HOLCROFT.

VOLUME III.

LONDON: PRINTED FOR SHEPPERSON AND REYNOLDS, NO. 137, OXFORD-STREET.

M.DCC.XCII.

ANNA ST. IVES: A NOVEL.

LETTER XLI.
ANNA WENBOURNE ST. IVES TO LOUISA CLIFTON.

AT last, my dear Louisa, the charm is broken: the spell of silence is dis­solved. Incapable any longer of re­straint, passion has burst its bounds, and strong though the contest was, victory has declared for reason.

[Page 2] My change of behaviour has produced this effect. Not that I applaud myself: on the contrary, I am far from pleased with my own want of fortitude. I have even assumed an austerity which I did not feel.

I do not mean to say that all appear­ances, relative to myself, were false. No. I was uneasy; desirous to speak, desirous that he should speak, and could accomplish neither. I accused myself of having given hopes that were seductive, and wished to retract. In short, I have not been altogether so consistent as I ought to be; as my letters to you, my friend, will witness.

Various little incidents preceded and indeed helped to produce this swell and overflow of the heart, and the eclair­cissement [Page 3] that followed. In the morn­ing at breakfast, Frank took the cakes I usually eat to hand to me; and Clifton, whose watchful spirit is ever alert, caught up a plate of bread and butter, to offer me at the same instant. His looks shewed he expected the preference. I was sorry for it, and paused for a moment. At last the principle of not encouraging Frank prevailed, and I took some bread and butter from Clifton. It was a repe­tition of slights, which Frank had lately met with, and he felt it; yet he bowed with a tolerable grace, and put down his plate.

He soon after quitted the room, but returned unperceived by me.

The young marchioness had break­fasted, and retired to her toilet; where [Page 4] some of the gentlemen were attending her. She had left a snuff-box of consi­derable value with me, which I had for­gotten to return; and, with that kind of sportive cheerfulness which I rather en­courage than repress, I called—‘Here! Where are all my esquires? I want a messenger.’

Clifton heard me, and Frank was unexpectedly at my elbow. Had I known it, I should not have spoken so thoughtlessly. Frank came forward and bowed. Clifton called—‘Here am I, ready, fair lady, to execute your be­hests.’

I was a second time embarrassed. After a short hesitation, I said—‘No—I have changed my mind.’

Frank retired; but Clifton advanced, [Page 5] with his usual gaiety, answering,—‘Nay, nay! I have not earned half a crown yet this morning, and I must not be cheated of my fare.’ I would still have refused, but I perceived Clifton be­gan to look serious, and I said to him—‘Well, well, good man, here then, take this snuff-box to the marchioness, she may want it: but do not blunder, and break it; for if you do I shall dismiss you my service. Recollect the picture in the lid, set with dia­monds!’

It was fated to be a day of mortifica­tion to Frank. His complaisance had induced him to comply with the request of the marchioness, that he would read one of the mad scenes in Lear, though he knew she had not the least acquaint­ance [Page 6] with the English language. But she wanted amusement, and was pleased to mark the progress of the passions; which I never saw so distinctly and highly expressed as in his countenance, when he reads Shakespeare.

I happened to come into her apart­ment, for the French are delightfully easy of access, and the reading was in­stantly interrupted. I was the very per­son she wanted to see. How should we spend the evening? The country was horribly dull! There had been no new visitors these two days! Should we have a dance? I gave my assent, and away she ran to tell every body.

I followed; Frank came after me, and with some reluctance, foreboding a repulse, asked whether he should have [Page 7] the pleasure to dance with me. His manner and the foregone circumstances made me guess his question before he spoke. ‘My answer was—I have just made a promise to myself that I will dance with Mr. Clifton.’ It was true: the thought had passed through my mind.

Mr. Clifton, madam!

Yes—

You—you—

I have not seen Mr. Clifton? Right—But I said I had made the promise to myself.

Poor Frank could contain no longer! I see, madam, said he, I am despised; and I deserve contempt; I crouch to it, I invite it, and have obtained a full por­tion of it—Yet why?—What have I [Page 8] done?—Why is this sudden change?—The false glitter that deceives mankind then is irresistible!—But surely, ma­dam, justice is as much my due as if my name were Clifton. Spurn me, trample on me, when I sully myself by vice and infamy! But till then I should once have hoped to have escaped being hum­bled in the dust, by one whom I regarded as the most benignant, as well as the most deserving and equitable of earthly creatures!

This is indeed a heavy charge: and I am afraid much of it is too true. Here is company coming. I am sorry I can­not answer it immediately.

I can suffer any thing rather than exist under my present tortures. Will you favour me so far, madam, as to grant me half an hour's hearing?

[Page 9] Willingly. It is what I wish. Come to my apartment after dinner.

Clifton came up, and I have no doubt read in our countenances that something more than common had passed. Indeed I perceived it, or thought so; but his ima­gination took another turn, in conse­quence of my informing him, that I had been just telling Frank I had promised myself to be his (Clifton's) partner. He thanked me, his countenance shewed it as well as his words, for my kindness. He was coming, he said, to petition, the instant he had heard of the dance. But still he looked at Frank, as if he thought it strange that I should condescend to account to him for my thoughts and pro­mises.

Dinner time came, and we sat down [Page 10] to table. But the mind is sometimes too busy to attend to the appetites. I and Frank ate but little. He rose first from table, that he might not seem to follow me. His delicacy never slumbers. I took the first opportunity to retire. Frank was presently with me, and our dialogue began. The struggle of the feelings ordained that I should be the first speaker.

I have been thinking very seriously, Frank, of what you said to me this morning.

Would to heaven you could forget it, madam!

Why so?

I was unjust! A madman! A vain fool! An idiot!—Pardon this rude ve­hemence, but I cannot forgive myself [Page 11] for having been so ready to accuse one whom—! I cannot speak my feelings!—I have deserted myself!—I am no longer the creature of reason, but the child of passion!—My mind is all tumult, all in­congruity!

You wrong yourself. The error has been mutual, or rather I have been much the most to blame. I am very sensible of, and indeed very sorry for my mistake—Indeed I am—I per­ceived you indulging hopes that cannot be realized, and—

Cannot, madam?

Never!—I can see you think yourself despised; but you do yourself great wrong.

My mind is so disturbed, by the abrupt and absurd folly with which I [Page 12] accused you, unheard, this morning, that it is less now in a state to do my cause justice than at any other time—Still I will be a man—Your word, ma­dam, was—Cannot!—

It was.

Permit me to ask, is it person—?

No—certainly not. Person would with me be always a distant consider­ation. [You, Louisa, know how very far from exceptionable the person of Frank is, if that were any part of the question.]

You are no flatterer, madam, and you have thought proper occasionally to ex­press your approbation of my morals and mind.

Yet my expressions have never equal­led my feelings!—Never!

[Page 13] Then, madam, where is the impossi­bility? In what does it consist? The world may think meanly of me, for the want of what I myself hold in contempt: but surely you cannot join in the world's injustice?

I cannot think meanly of you.

I have no titles. I am what pride calls nobody: the son of a man who came pennyless into the service of your family; in which to my infinite grief he has grown rich. I would rather starve than acquire opulence by the efforts of cun­ning, flattery, and avarice; and if I blush for any thing, relative to family, it is for that. I am either above or below the wish of being what is insolently called well born.

You confound, or rather you do not separate, two things which are very dis­tinct; [Page 14] that which I think of you, and that which the world would think of me, were I to encourage hopes which you would have me indulge.

Your actions, madam, shew how much and how properly you disregard the world's opinion.

But I do not disregard the effects which that opinion may have, upon the happiness of my father, my family, my­self, and my husband, if ever I should marry.

If truth and justice require it, ma­dam, even all these ought to be disre­garded.

Indubitably.

Did I know a man, upon the face of the earth, who had a still deeper sense of your high qualities and virtues than I [Page 15] have, who understood them more inti­mately, would study them, emulate them more, and profit better by them, I have con­fidence enough in myself to say I would resign you without repining. But, when I think on the union between mind and mind—the aggregate—! I want language, madam—!

I understand you.

When I reflect on the wondrous happiness we might enjoy, while mutu­ally exerting ourselves in the general cause of virtue, I confess the thought of renouncing so much bliss, or rather such a duty to myself and the world, is excru­ciating torture.

Your idea of living for the cause of virtue delights me; it is in full concord with my own. But whether that great [Page 16] cause would best be promoted by our union, or not, is a question which we are incapable of determining: though I think probabilities are for the negative. Facts and observation have given me reason to believe that the too easy grati­fication of our desires is pernicious to mind; and that it acquires vigour and elasticity from opposition.

And would you then upon principle, madam, marry a man whom you must despise?

No, not despise. If indeed I were all I could wish to be, I am persuaded I should despise no one. I should endea­vour to instruct the ignorant, and re­form the erroneous. However, I will tell you what sort of a man I should wish to marry. First he must be a per­son [Page 17] of whom no prejudice, no mistake of any kind, should induce the world, that is, the persons nearest and most connected with me in the world, to think meanly—Shall I be cited by the thoughtless, the simple, and the perverse, in justification of their own improper conduct?—You cannot wish it, Frank!—Nor is this the most alarming fear—My friends!—My relations!—My father!—To incur a father's reproach for having dishonoured his family were fearful: but to meet, to merit, to live under his curse!—God of heaven forbid!

Must we then never dare to counteract mistake? Must mind, though enlighten­ed by truth, submit to be the eternal slave of error?—What is there that is thus dreadful, madam, in the curse of [Page 18] prejudice? Have not the greatest and the wisest of mankind been cursed by ignorance?

It is not the curse itself that is terri­ble, but the torture of the person's mind by whom it is uttered!—Nor is it the torture of a minute, or a day, but of years!—His child, his beloved child, on whom his hopes and heart were fixed, to whom he looked for all the bliss of filial obedience, all the energies of virtue, and all the effusions of affec­tion, to see himself deserted by her, un­feelingly deserted, plunged in sorrows unutterable, eternally dishonoured, the index and the bye-word of scandal, scoffed at for the fault of her whom his fond and fatherly reveries had painted faultless, whispered out of society be­cause [Page 19] of the shame of her in whom he gloried, and I this child!

Were the conflict what your imagina­tion has figured it, madam, your terrors would be just—But I have thought deeply on it, and know that your very virtues misguide you. It would not be torture, nor would it be eternal—On the contrary, madam, I, poor as I am in the esteem of an arrogant world, I proudly affirm it would be the less and not the greater evil.

You mistake!—Indeed, Frank, you mistake!—The fear of poverty, the sneers of the world, ignominy itself, were the pain inflicted but confined to me, I would despise. But to stretch my father upon the rack, and with him every creature that loves me, even you [Page 20] yourself!—It must not be!—It must not be!

I too fatally perceive, madam, your mind is subjected by these phantoms of fear.

No, no—not phantoms; real exist­ences; the palpable beings of reason!—Beside what influence have I in the world, except over my friends and fa­mily? And shall I renounce this little influence, this only power of doing good, in order to gratify my own pas­sions, by making myself the outcast of that family and of that world to whom it is my ambition to live an exam­ple?—My family and the world are prejudiced and unjust: I know it. But where is the remedy? Can we work mi­racles? Will their prejudices vanish at [Page 21] our bidding?—I have already mortally offended the most powerful of my rela­tions, Lord Fitz-Allen, by refusing a foolish peer of his recommendation. He is my maternal uncle; proud, preju­diced, and unforgiving. Previous to this refusal I was the only person in our family whom he condescended to notice. He prophesied, in the spleen of passion, I should soon bring shame on my fa­mily; and I as boldly retorted I would never dishonour the name of St. Ives—I spoke in their own idiom, and meant to be so understood—Recollect all this!—Be firm, be just to yourself and me!—Indeed indeed, Frank, it is not my heart that refuses you; it is my understanding; it is principle; it is a determination not to do that which my [Page 22] reason cannot justify—Join with me, Frank—Resolve—Give me your hand—Let us disdain to set mankind an example which would indeed be a virtuous and a good one, were all the conditions understood; but which, under the appearances it would assume, would be criminal in the extreme.

My hand and heart, madam, are ever­lastingly yours: and it is because this heart yearns to set the world an example, higher infinitely than that which you propose, that thus I plead!—This op­portunity is my first and last—I read my doom—Bear with me therefore while I declare my sensations and my thoughts.—The passion I feel is as unlike what is usually meant by love as day to night, grace to deformity, or truth to falsehood.

[Page 23] It is not your fine form, madam, su­premely beautiful though you are, which I love. At least I love it only as an excellent part of a divine whole. It is your other, your better, your more hea­venly self, to which I have dared to aspire. I claim relationship to your mind; and again declare I think my claims have a right, which none of the false distinc­tions of men can supersede. Think then, madam, again I conjure you, think ere you decide.—If the union of two people whose pure love, founded on an unerring conviction of mutual worth, might promise the reality of that heaven of which the world delights to dream; whose souls, both burning with the same ardour to attain and to diffuse excel­lence, would mingle and act with inces­sant [Page 24] energy, who, having risen superior to the mistakes of mankind, would diffe­minate the same spirit of truth, the same internal peace, the same happiness, the same virtues which they themselves pos­sess among thousands; who would ad­mire, animate, emulate each other; whose wishes, efforts, and principles would all combine to one great end, the general good; who, being desirous only to dispense blessings, could not fail to enjoy; if a union like this be not strictly conformable to the laws of eter­nal truth, or if there be any arguments, any perils, any terrors which ought to annul such a union, I confess that the arguments, the perils, the terrors, and eternal truth itself are equally unknown to me.

[Page 25] We paused for a moment. The beauty, force, and grandeur of the pic­ture he had drawn staggered me. Yet it was but a repetition of what had fre­quently presented itself to my mind, in colours almost as vivid as those with which he painted. I had but one an­swer, and replied—

The world!—My family!—My fa­ther!—I cannot encounter the male­diction of a father!—What! Behold him in an agony of cursing his child?—Imagination shudders and shrinks from the guilty picture with horror!—I cannot!—I cannot!—It must not be!—To foresee this misery so clearly as I do, and yet to seek it, would surely be detestable guilt!

Again we paused—He perceived my [Page 26] terrors were too violent to cede to any efforts of supposed reason. His counte­nance changed; the energy of argument disappeared, and was succeeded by all the tenderness of passion. The decisive moment, the moment of trial was come. His features softened into that form which never yet failed to melt the heart, and he thus continued.

To the scorn of vice, the scoffs of ig­norance, the usurpations of the presum­ing, and the contumelies of the proud, I have patiently submitted: but to find my great and as I thought infallible sup­port wrested from me; to perceive that divine essence which I imagined too much a part of myself to do me wrong, overlooking me; rejecting me; dead to those sensations which I thought mutu­ally [Page 27] pervaded and filled our hearts; to hear her, whom of all beings on earth I thought myself most akin to, disclaim me; positively, persistingly, un—

Unjustly?—Was that the word, Frank?—Surely not unjustly!—Oh, sure­ly not!

And could those heavenly those heart­winning condescensions on which I founded my hopes be all illusory?—Could they?—Did I dream that your soul held willing intercourse with mine, beaming divine intelligence upon me? Was it all a vision when I thought I heard you pronounce the ecstatic sen­tence—You could love me if I would let you?

No; it was real. I revoke nothing that I have said or done. Do not, [Page 28] Frank, for the love of truth and justice do not think me insensible of your ex­cellence, dead to your virtues, or blind to mind and merit which I never yet saw equalled!—Think not it is pride, or base insensibility of your worth! Where is the day in which that worth has not increased upon me?—Unjust to you?—Oh!—No, no, no!—My heart bleeds at the thought!—No!—It is my love of you, my love of your virtues, your principles, and these alone are lovely, which has rendered me thus inflexible. If any thing could make you dearer to me than you are, it must be weakness; it must be something which neither you nor I ought to approve. All the good, or rather all the opportunities of doing good which mortal or immortal being can en­joy [Page 29] do I wish you! Oh that I had prayers potent enough to draw down blessings on you!—Love you?—Yes!—The very idea bursts into passion. [The tears, Louisa, were streaming down my cheeks.] Why should you doubt of all the affection which virtue can bestow? Do you not deserve it?—Oh yes!—Love you in the manner you could wish I must not, dare not, ought not: but, as I ought, I love you infinitely! Ay, dear, dear Frank, as I ought, infinitely!

Louisa!—Blame me if thou wilt—But I kissed him!—The chastity of my thoughts defied misconstruction, and the purity of the will sanctified the extrava­gance of the act. A daring enthusiasm seized me. I beheld his passions strug­gling [Page 30] to attain the very pinnacle of ex­cellence. I wished to confirm the no­ble emulation, to convince him how dif­ferent the pure love of mind might be from the meaner love of passion, and I kissed him! I find my affections, my sensibilities, peculiarly liable to these strong sallies. Perhaps all minds of a certain texture are subject to such rapid and almost resistless emotions; and whe­ther they ought to be encouraged or counteracted I have not yet discovered. But the circumstance, unexpected and strange as it was, suffered no wrong in­terpretation in the dignified soul of Frank. With all the ardour of affec­tion, but chastened by every token of delicacy, he clasped me in his arms, re­turned [Page 31] my kiss, then sunk down on one knee, and exclaimed—Now let me die—

After a moment's pause, I answered—No, Frank! Live! Live to be a bles­sing to the world, and an honour to the human race!

I took a turn to the window, and after having calmed the too much of feeling which I had suffered to grow upon me, I continued the conversation.

I hope, Frank, we now understand each other; and that, as this is the first, so it will be the last contention of the passions in which we shall indulge our­selves.

Madam, though I still think, nay feel a certainty of conviction, that you act from mistaken principles, yet you support what [Page 32] you are persuaded is truth with such high such self-denying virtue, that not to applaud, not to imitate you would be contemptible. You have and ought to have a will of your own. You prac­tise what you believe to be the severest precepts of duty, with more than human fortitude. You resolve, in this particu­lar, not to offend the prejudices of your family, and the world. I submit. To indulge sensibility but a little were to be heart-broken! But no personal grief can authorise me in deserting the post I am placed in; nor palliate the crime of neg­lecting its duties. To the end of time I shall persist in thinking you mine by right; but I will never trouble you more with an assertion of that right—Never!—Unless some new and unexpected claim [Page 33] should spring up, of which I see no pro­bability.

He bowed and was retiring.

Stay, Frank, I have something more to say to you—I have a requisition to make which after what has passed would to common minds appear unfeeling and almost capricious cruelty; but I have no fear that yours should be liable to this mis­take. Recollect but who and what you are, remember what are the best pur­poses of existence, the noblest efforts of mind, and then refuse me if you can—I have formed a project, and call upon you for aid—Cannot you guess?

Mr. Clifton, madam—?

Yes.

I fear it is a dangerous one; and, whether my fears originate in selfishness [Page 34] or in penetration, they must be spoken. Yes, madam, I must warn you that the passions of Mr. Clifton are, in my opi­nion, much more alarming than the re­sentment of your father.

But they are alarming only to myself. And ought danger to deter me?

Not if the good you design be practi­cable.

And what is impracticable, where the will is resolved?

Perhaps nothing—But the effort must be great, must be uncommon.

Has he not a mind worthy of such an effort? Would not his powers highly honour truth and virtue?

They would.

Will not you give me your assistance?

I would, madam, most willingly, [Page 35] would he but permit me. But I am his antipathy; a something noxious; an evil augury.

You have been particular in your at­tentions to me.

And must those attentions cease, ma­dam?

They must be moderated; they must be cool, dispassionate, and then they will not alarm.—I cannot possibly be de­ceived in supposing it a duty, an indis­pensable duty to restore the mind of Clifton to its true station. If I fail, the fault must be my own. I am but young, yet many men have addressed me with the common-place language of admira­tion, love, and I know not what; or rather they knew not what; and, except yourself, Frank, I have not met with one [Page 36] from whom half so much might be hoped as from Clifton. He is the brother of my bosom friend. Surely, Frank, it is a worthy task—Join with me!—There is but one thing I fear. Clifton is haughty and intemperate. Are you a duellist, Frank?

No, madam.

Then you would not fight a duel?

Never, madam. No provocation, not the brand of cowardice itself, shall ever induce me to be guilty of such a crime.

Frank!—Oh excellent, noble youth!

Here, Louisa, our conversation ab­ruptly ended. The company had risen from table, and we heard them in the corridor. I requested him to retire, and he instantly obeyed.

[Page 37] Oh! Louisa, with what sensations did he leave my mind glowing!—His con­viction equals certainty, that I act from mistaken principles!—To the end of time he shall persist in thinking me his by right!—Can the power of language afford words more strong, more positive, more point­ed?—How unjust have I been to my cause!—For surely I cannot be in an error!—'Tis afflicting, 'tis painful, nay it is almost terrifying to remember!—Persist to the end of time?—Why did I not think more deeply?—I had a dark kind of dread that I should fail!—It cannot be the fault of my cause!—Wrong him!—Guilty of injustice to him!—Surely, surely, I hope not!—What! Become an example to the fee­ble and the foolish, for having indulged [Page 38] my passions and neglected my duties?—I?—His mind had formed a favourite plan, and could I expect it should be in­stantly relinquished?—I cannot conceive torment equal to the idea of doing him wrong!—Him?—Again and again I hope not! I hope not! I hope not!

Then the kiss, Louisa? Did I or did I not do right, in shewing him how truly I admire and love his virtues? Was I or was I not guilty of any crime, when, in the very acme of the passions, I so total­ly disregarded the customs of the world? Or rather, for that is the true question, could it produce any other effect than that which I intended? I am persuaded it could not. Nor, blame me who will, do I repent. And yet, my friend, if you should think it wrong, I confess I should [Page 39] then feel a pang which I should be glad not to deserve. But be sincere. Though I need not warn you. No false pity can or ought to induce you to desert the cause of truth.

Adieu—My mind is not so much at its ease as I hoped, from this conversa­tion; but at all times, and in all tem­pers, believe me to be, ever and ever,

Your own dear A. W. ST. IVES.

LETTER XLII.
FRANK HENLEY TO OLIVER TRENCHARD.

ALL is over!—My hopes are at an end!—I am awakened from a dream, in which pain and pleasure were mingled to such excess as to render its continu­ance impossible.

Nor is this all. This trial, severe as it was, did not suffice. To the destruc­tion [Page 41] of hope has been added the assault of insolence, accompanied with a por­tion of obloquy which heart scarcely can sustain—Oh, this Clifton!—But—Pati­ence!

Yet let me do her justice. Mistaken though I am sure she is, the motives of her conduct are so pure that even mistake itself is lovely in her; and assumes all the energy, all the dignity of virtue. Oh what a soul is hers! Her own passions, the passions of others, when she acts and speaks, are all in subjection to principle. Yes, Oliver, of one thing at least she has convinced me: she has taught me, or rather made me feel, how poor a thing it is to be the slave of desire.

Not that I do not still adore her!—Ay, more than ever adore! But from [Page 42] henceforth my adoration shall be worthy of herself, and not degrading to me. From her I have learned what true love is; and the lesson is engraven on my heart. She can consider personal grati­fication with apathy, yet burn with a martyr's zeal for the promotion of uni­versal good.

And shall I not rise equal to the bright example which she has set me? Shall I admire yet not imitate?

Did she despise me? Did she reject me for my own sake?—No!—All the affection which mind can feel for mind she has avowed for me! And shall I grieve because another may be more happy?—And why more?—In what?—Is not the union of souls the first the most permanent of all alliances? That [Page 43] union is mine! No power can shake it. She openly acknowledges it; and has done, daily, hourly, in every word, in every action. Whither then would my wishes wander?

Oliver, I am a man, and subject to the shakes and agues of his fragile na­ture!—Yet it is a poor, a wretched plea; a foolish, and a false plea. Man is weak because he is willing to be weak. He crouches to the whip, and like a coward pities while he lashes himself. His wil­ful phrensy he calls irresistible, and weeps for the torments which he himself inflicts.

But once again this Clifton!—Read and tell me how I ought to act—I have received a blow from him, Oliver!—Yes, [Page 44] have tamely submitted to receive a blow!—

What intolerable prejudices are these! Why does my heart rebel so sternly, at what virtue so positively approves?

I had just left her; had that instant been rejected by her for his sake; had been summoned to aid her, in weeding out error from his mind. She shewed me it was a noble task, and communi­cated to me her own divine ardour. Yes, Oliver; I came from her, with a warmed and animated heart; partici­pating all her zeal. The most rigid, the most painful of all abstinence was de­manded from me; but should I shrink from a duty because I pity or because I love myself? No. Such pusillanimity [Page 45] were death to virtue. I left her, while my thoughts glowed with the ardour of emulating her heroism; and burned to do him all the good which she had pro­jected.

He was at the end of the corridor, and saw me quit her apartment. His hot spirit caught the alarm instantaneously, and blazed in his countenance. He ac­costed me—

So, sir! You are very familiar with that lady! What right have you to in­trude into her apartments?

When she herself desires me, sir, I have a right.

She desire you! 'Tis false!

Sir?

'Tis false, sir!

[Page 46] False?

Yes, sir. And falsehood deserves to be chastised!

Chastised? [It is in vain, Oliver, to endeavour to conceal the truth from my­self; my folly incurred its own punish­ment—I repeated] Chastised? [I was lunatic enough to walk up to him, with a ridiculous and despicable air of defiance. He re-echoed my words, and instantly in contempt struck me on the cheek with the back of his hand.]

Yes, sir; chastised!

His rashness restored me to some sense of the farcical heroism which I had been aping. I hurried from him, without ano­ther word.

Oliver, I can conceive nothing more [Page 47] painful than this wresting, this tearing of passion from its purpose.

I walked a few minutes to calm my thoughts, and wrote him the following note.

SIR,

I FEEL at present the humility of my situation: but not from your blow; for that has brought me to myself, not humbled me. No man can be de­graded by another; it must be his own act: and you have degraded yourself, not me. My error is in having, for a moment, yielded to the impulse of passion. If you think I fear you, con­tinue to think so; till I can shew my for­bearance is from a better motive. Cowardice might make me kill you; [Page 48] but true courage will teach me calmly to hear the world call me coward, ra­ther than commit an act so wicked, so abhorred, as that of taking or of throwing away life. I wished to seek your friendship; and even now I will not shun you. Make the world ima­gine me a coward; imagine me one yourself, if you can. I will live un­der the supposed obloquy; and leave the tenor of my life to shew whether living be the act of fear, or of reason. I pardon you, sir, and leave you to pardon yourself.

F. HENLEY.

My forbearance and this letter miti­gated my sense of pain. Yet I am very ill satisfied with myself. Am I so easily [Page 49] to be moved? 'Tis true the scene I had just quitted was fermenting, as it were, in my veins, and shaking my whole sys­tem.

What is worse, I am child enough to be tormented, in my own despite, by the recollection of having received a blow! And why? In many countries, and even in my own, among the class in which I was born, the stigma is none, or trifling—Stigma? Absurd!—Cowardice!—Mur­der!—If vanity were ever becoming, I have perhaps more reason to be vain, considering the danger to which I had exposed myself, of this than of any act of my life.

Well, well, Oliver—I hope these agi­tations are over; and that from this time thou wilt begin to think better of me.

[Page 50] I communicate my whole thoughts to thee. If the experiments made upon my mind can be of any use to thine, my letters will then answer the best of the purposes for which they are written.

F. HENLEY.

LETTER XLIII.
COKE CLIFTON TO GUY FAIRFAX.

YOUR last, Fairfax, pleased me. You say truly, and I like your remark, ‘Such fellows ought not to claim a moment's attention from me. I should brush them away, like flies from my forehead, when they presume to tease or settle themselves upon me.’ I have taken [Page 52] your advice, and fly-flapped the wasp that was more willing than able to sting.

I have lately grown dissatisfied with myself; I know not how, or why. I suspect this youth, in part, has made me so, with his visionary morality. I hate such sermonizing. Who has a right to control me? Whose slave am I? I was born to rule, not to be ruled. My appetites are keen, my desires vast, and I would enjoy. Why else am I here? Delay to me is insufferable; suspense distracts me; and the possibility that another should be preferred to myself drives me mad! I too heartily despise the tame creatures, that crawl upon the earth, to suffer opposition from them. Who would be braved by bats and bee­tles, buzzing in his ears?

[Page 53] I never before saw a woman whom any temptation could have induced me to marry; and now I have found one I am troubled with doubts, infested with fears, and subjected to the intolerable penance of procrastination. Impeded in my course; and by what? Why, I am told to scrutinize myself, and to discover whether I am quite as perfect as it is ne­cessary I should be! 'Tis unjust! 'Tis unkind! I did not doubt of her per­fections; and both love and pride, equally jealous of their honour, demand that mine should have been taken for granted.

The time has been when this would have been revenged. But I seem to be half subdued. My fierce spirit, before so untameable, declines contending with [Page 54] her. Not but I frequently feel it strug­gling with suffocation, kindling, and again ready to burst into a more furious blaze.

Yet let me do her justice. Mild, gentle, and affectionate, she conquers my impetuosity with prayers, and sooth­ing, and with kindness irresistible. Still she conquers.

Then she suffers these animals to tor­ment me. I am angry to think that, in so short a space, I should have so en­tirely lost all power over myself!

But where is the mortal that can look and not love? Were I myself not an actor in the play, how should I enjoy the perplexity of these French amoureux! There are I know not how many of them; each more busy than the other. [Page 55] 'Tis laughable to see with what industry they labour to make love according to her liking; for they find that their own trifling manner is inefficient, and can never succeed with her. One of them, that said crazy Provençal Count, is very earnest indeed, in his endeavours; but she keeps him in due awe. And it is well per­haps for him that she does, or I would. Still however he is damned troublesome and impertinent; and I could wish she were more peremptory. Yet it is unjust to blame her, for the animal is so full of antics, that it is impossible to be angry.

After all, I am far from satisfied re­specting myself and this youth, whom I condescended to chastise. It was beneath me. It gave him a sort of right to de­mand satisfaction: but he affects forbear­ance, [Page 56] because, as he pretends, he despises duelling. And I hear he has actually given proofs of the most undaunted cou­rage. He wrote a short note of only three or four sentences on the subject, after I had struck him, which produced a very uncommon effect upon me, and made me half repent, and accuse myself of haughtiness, rashness, and insult.

But these things torture me. I am out of patience with them. What right has any pedant, because he thinks proper to vex and entangle his own brain with doubts, to force his gloomy dogmas upon me? Let those who love sack­cloth wear it. Must I be made misera­ble, because an over-curious booby be­wilders himself in inquiry, and galls his conscience, till, like the wrung withers [Page 57] of a battered post-horse, it shrinks and shivers at the touch of a fly's foot? What, shall I not enjoy the free air, the glorious sun, the flowers, the fruits, the viands, the whole stores of nature? Who shall impede, who shall dare disturb the banquet? Were it even a dream, the meddling fool that waked me should dearly repent his rashness.—Let specu­lative blockheads brew metaphysical nec­tar, make a hash of axioms, problems, corollaries and demonstrations, and feed on ideas and fatten. Be theirs the feast of reason and the flow of soul. But let me banquet with old Homer's jolly gods and heroes, revel with the Maho­metan houris, or gain admission into the savoury sanctorum of the gormandizing [Page 58] priesthood, snuff the fumes from their altars, and gorge on the fat of lambs. Let cynic Catos truss up each his slo­venly toga, rail at Heliogabalus, and fast; but let me receive his card, with—‘Sir, your company is requested to dine and sup.’

I cannot forget this gardener's son. I am sometimes angry that I should for a single instant trouble myself with a fel­low so much beneath me; and at others equally angry, for not shewing him the respect which he claims. There are moments in which I have even feared him as a rival; for when she speaks to him, which she is very ready to do, the usual mildness and benevolence of her voice and features are evidently in­creased. [Page 59] She must, she shall be more circumspect. Indeed I have made her so within these few days.

Prithee forgive all this. My mind is not at ease; but I know not why I should infect you with its malady. Write, relate something pleasant; tell me what has happened to you last, and relieve the dissatisfaction — I feel by your unaf­fected flow of gaiety. Adieu.

C. CLIFTON.

LETTER XLIV.
ANNA WENBOURNE ST. IVES TO LOUISA CLIFTON.

I CANNOT sufficiently applaud the resolute propriety of Frank, since our last conversation. Indeed, Louisa, his fortitude is admirable! He does not in­dulge self-compassion, by brooding over his own loss. Nor does he, like other mistaken people whose affections have [Page 61] met disappointment, suppose himself in­to sufferings, which swell into existence in proportion as they are imagined to be real. His evident determination is not to permit any selfish motive to detach him from the great purposes of life; but cheerfully to submit to what is inevita­ble, without thinking it an evil.

In the mean time, I have been indulg­ing a hope, which at moments has ap­peared almost a certainty, that Clifton, by our mutual efforts, shall acquire all this true ardour, which is so lovely in Frank. How forry am I to observe that the haughtiness of Clifton and the cold­ness of Frank seem to be increasing! To what can this be attributed? Their behaviour is so peculiar that I almost [Page 62] dread something has happened, with which I am unacquainted.

But perhaps it is the present temper of my mind: the effect of sensations too irritable, doubts too tremulous, and fears too easily excited. I cannot forget the conversation: it haunts me; and, did not Frank set me the example of fortitude, I have sometimes doubted of my own perseverance.

Oh, how mean is this in me! Is not the task I have proposed to myself a worthy and a high one? Am I not convinced it is an inevitable duty? And shall he, even under a contrary conviction, out­strip me in the career?—Generous and excellent youth, I will imitate thy most eminent virtues!

[Page 63] The Count de Beaunoir still conti­nues to be particular, in what he calls his adoration of me; but his tone and style are too romantic to authorize me in any serious remonstrance. Clifton is not pleased, and the Count and he have fallen into a habit of rallying each other, and vaunting of what lovers dare do, to prove their affection. Their irony took so serious a turn, yesterday, that Clifton proposed they should load their pistols, and both holding by the corner of a handkerchief, fire at each other. Consi­dering the temper in which they were, and the constitutional extravagance of the Count, the proposal was terrifying: but I had the presence of mind to give it [Page 64] an air of ridicule, by saying—You do not understand the true point of gal­lantry, gentlemen. You should go to Japan, where one noble-blooded person draws his sabre, and dispatches himself, to prove he is acquainted with the high punctilio and very essence of honour; while another, enraged that he should be in waiting and have a dish to carry up to the emperor's table, requests he would condescend to live till he can come down again, that he may shew he knows what honour is as well as his disingenu­ous enemy, who had taken such an un­fair advantage.

The Count laughed, and Clifton I should hope was not displeased that it was impossible the conversation should again [Page 65] assume the same desperate and absurd tone.

I took an opportunity to ask him pri­vately how he could indulge such intem­perate passions; but I was obliged to soften my admonition by all possible mild­ness. I know not whether I did right, but I even took his hand, pressed it be­tween mine, and requested of him, with an ardour which I think must sink deeply in his mind, to do justice to himself, to exert those powers of thought which he certainly possessed, and to restrain pas­sions which, if not restrained, must deter me, or any woman worthy of him, from a union that would be so dangerous.

The impression would have been stronger, but that unfortunately his quick sensations took a different turn. Feeling [Page 66] me clasp his hand, he dropped on his knee, and with an ecstasy which he seemed unable to resist kissed both mine, talked something of bliss unutterable, and, recollecting the conclusion of my sentence, added that the very thought of losing me was madness. We were in­terrupted, and I began to fear lest my true motive should have been misunder­stood.

Oh! Louisa, what a world is this! Into what false habits has it fallen! Can hypocrisy be virtue? Can a desire to call forth all the best affections of the heart be misconstrued into something too de­grading for expression?

I know not, but I begin to fear that no permanent good can be effected at present, without peril. If so, shall I [Page 67] listen only to my fears; shrink into self; and shun that which duty bids me en­counter? No. Though the prejudices of mankind were to overwhelm me with sorrows, for seeking to do good, I will still go on: I will persevere, will accom­plish or die.

Yet I know not why I am in this mood! But so I am, and Louisa will for­give me. I talk of sufferings? What have I suffered? What can those who, mature in reason, are superior to preju­dice suffer?

But who are they? My prejudices hourly rise up in arms against me. Every day am I obliged to combat what the day before I thought I had destroyed. Could we, at the same moment that we correct our own mistakes, correct those [Page 68] of the whole world, the work were done at once. But we have to struggle and to struggle; and, having to-day shaken off the burs that hung about us, to-mor­row we give a glance and perceive them sticking as closely and as thick as ever!

I wish to question Frank, concerning these alarms; but he seems purposely to avoid giving me an opportunity. Per­haps however I am mistaken; and I hope I am. The restless fancy is frequently too full of doubts and fears. Oh, how beautiful is open, artless, undisguised truth! Yet how continually are dissimu­lation and concealment recommended as virtues! Whatever mistakes, public or private, they may think they have disco­vered, and however beneficial it might be to correct them, men must not pub­sish [Page 69] their thoughts; for that would be to libel, to defame, to speak or to write scandal!

When will the world learn that the unlimited utterance of all thoughts would be virtuous? How many half-discovered half-acknowledged truths would then be promulgated; and how immediately would mistake, of every kind, meet its proper antidote! How affectionately and unitedly would men soon be brought to join, not in punish­ing, nor even in reproving, but in re­forming falsehood! Aided and encou­raged by your dear and worthy mother, we have often discoursed on these things, Louisa: and the common accidents of life, as well as those peculiar to myself, [Page 70] render such conversations sweet to recol­lection.

I must conclude: for though we write best when thoughts flow the most freely, yet at present I find myself more inclined to think than to write.

Affectionately and ever A. W. ST. IVES.

LETTER XLV.
ANNA WENBOURNE ST. IVES TO LOUISA CLIFTON.

I KNOW not, Louisa, how to begin! I have an accident to relate which has alarmed me so much that I am half afraid it should equally alarm my friend. Yet the danger is over, and her sensations cannot equal ours. She can but imagine what they were. But it is so incredible, [Page 72] so mad, so dreadful! Clifton is strangely rash!

He had been for some days dissatis­fied, restless, and disturbed. I knew not why, except that I had desired time for mutual consideration, before I would per­mit him to speak to Sir Arthur. He has half terrified me from ever permitting him to speak—But then he has more than repaired all the wrong he had done. There is something truly magnanimous in his temper, but it has taken a very erroneous bent. The chief subject of my last was the distance which I observed between him and Frank Henley. Lit­tle did I know the reason. But I will not anticipate: only, remember, be not too much alarmed.

Frank was but one of the actors, [Page 73] though the true and indeed sole hero of the scene I am going to relate. Indeed he is a wonderful, I had almost said a divine youth! It took birth from the Count de Beaunoir.

In my last, I mentioned the strange defiance of the pistols and the handker­chief: and would you think, Louisa, a conversation so frantic could be re­newed? It is true it shewed itself under a new though scarcely a less horrible aspect.

We were yesterday walking in the park, in which there is a remarkable lake, small but romantic. I before spoke I believe of our rowing on it in boats. We were walking beside it on a steep rock, which continues for a considerable [Page 74] length of way to form one of its banks. The Count and Clifton were before: I, Frank Henley, and a party of ladies and gentlemen were following at a little dis­tance, but not near enough to hear the conversation that was passing between your brother and the Count.

It seems the latter had first begun once again to talk of times of knight errantry, and of the feats which the preux cheva­liers had performed for their ladies. The headlong Clifton, utterly despising the pretended admiration of what he was persuaded the Count durst in no manner imitate, after some sarcastic expressions of his contempt, madly but seriously asked the Count if he durst jump off the rock into the lake, to prove his own cou­rage. [Page 75] Shew your soul, said he, if you have any! Jump you first, said the Count—!******!

Imagine, Louisa, if you can, the shock I received when, not knowing what had passed, but in an apparent fit of frenzy, I saw him desperately rush to the side of the rock, and dash himself headlong down into the water! It was at an angle, and we had a full view of him falling!

Every soul I believe shrieked, except myself and perhaps Frank Henley. Never had I so much need of the forti­tude to which I have endeavoured to ha­bituate my mind.

The gentlemen all ran to the side of the rock.—They saw Clifton, after rising to the surface, sink! He had jumped [Page 76] from a place where the shelving of the rock, under water, by projecting had stunned him as he fell.

Frank perceived the danger: he threw off his hat and coat, and ran to another part, where the height was still more dreadful! Indeed, Louisa, it ex­cites horror to look at the place! But he seems to be superior to fear. He plunged down what might well be called an abyss; and, after rising for a few se­conds to breathe, dived again in search of poor Clifton.

He was twice obliged to rise and take breath. The third time he found him, rose with him, turned him upon his own back, and swam with him a very consi­derable distance before he could find a place shallow enough to land.

[Page 77] To all appearance Clifton was lifeless! But the excellent, most excellent when you shall hear all, the heroic Frank immediately applied himself to the re­mainder of his office. He stayed not a moment to rest, but lifted him a seeming corpse from the earth, threw him once more on his back, and ran faster than any of us to the chateau, carried him up stairs, undressed him himself, put him between the blankets, and gave every necessary order with as much presence of mind as if there had been neither acci­dent nor danger. Wet as he was he lost not a thought upon himself.

Never shall I forget the indefatigable assiduity with which he laboured to re­store your brother to life; the anxiety which he struggled to conceal; the va­riety [Page 78] of means he employed; the inge­nuity of his conjectures and the huma­nity of every motion!

Two hours were I and he and all of us held in this dreadful suspense. At last he was successful; and the relief I felt, the load that seemed removed from my heart, it is impossible to describe!

When your brother was perfectly come to himself, Frank suffered him to be bled. For it had been proposed before; but Frank, with a determination that could not be withstood, refused to admit of it; though he had been intreated, and at last openly and loudly blamed, by the sur­geon and those who believed in him, for his pertinacity. But Frank was not to be shaken, even by the very serious fear of future accusation. He followed, as [Page 79] he tells me, the opinion of John Hun­ter; and well might he think it of more worth than that of the person who pre­tended to advise. But it requires no common degree of resolution to persist, in this manner, in the right; and wholly to despise calumny and its consequences.

If you think, Louisa, that after this I can add nothing in praise of Frank you are greatly mistaken; for what is to come raises his character almost to an enviable dignity.

Could you imagine that this very Frank Henley, this undaunted, deter­mined, high-souled Frank, who had flung himself down the horrid precipice after your brother, who had swum with him, run with him, risked being supposed in some sort his murderer, and at last re­stored [Page 80] him to life, had the very day be­fore received from the hand of this same brother—a blow!—If, Louisa, there be one being upon earth capable of at­taining virtues more than human, it is surely Frank Henley!

Much praise however, as well as blame, is justly due to Clifton. I never saw a heart more painfully wrung, by the sense of an injury committed and of a good so unexampled received, as his has been. It was he who told of his own behaviour. His total want of power to make retribution is the theme by which he is pained and oppressed.

Frank, uniform in generosity, dis­claims any superiority, and affirms Clif­ton would have done the same, had he been in the same danger. I think I [Page 81] would, answered Clifton, in a tone that shewed he felt what he spoke: but I know myself too well to suppose I should have so unremittingly persevered, like you, in the performance of an office of humanity which seemed hopeless.

The distinction was just, disinterested, and worthy the discernment of a mind like that of your brother.

Clifton says that, though he cannot think like Frank [We hope to make him, Louisa.] yet he cannot but admire the magnanimity with which he acts up to his principles, and proves his since­rity.

Oh, my friend! You can conceive all the terrors of the scene! So fine a youth, so accomplished, so brave, the brother of my Louisa, brought to Paris [Page 82] to meet an untimely death! I the cause of his coming thither! I the innocent instigator of this last rash act! The eyes of all upon me! The horror of sus­pense!—It was indeed a trial!

Yet who knows what accidents may occur in life? Who can sufficiently cherish fortitude; and by anticipating defy misfortune? Violently as my feel­ings were assaulted, there yet may be, there are, shocks more violent, scenes more dreadful in the world. Nor is it impossible but that such may be my lot. And if they were, I hope I still should bear up against them all.

It is true I may not always have a Frank Henley to cherish and inspire hope. His constant theme was—"He is not dead!" And I once heard him [Page 83] murmuring to himself, with a kind of prophetic energy—"He shall not die!"—It was this shall not by which he was saved: for, with any other crea­ture upon earth, I am persuaded he had been gone for ever. Oh this noble perseverance! It is indeed a godlike virtue!

The Count is less in spirits, less extra­vagant, since this accident. It seems to hang upon his mind, as if he had been out-braved. His anxiety, as might well be expected from such a temper, was excessive, while Clifton was in dan­ger: but he seems to repent now, that he did not follow the mad example. Parbleu! Madame, je suis Provençal; on dit que j'ai la tête un peu chaude; mais Messieurs les Anglois vont diablement vite [Page 84] aux épreuves! Mes compatriotes même ne sont pas si fous!—Je ne suis pas content de moi—J'aurais du faire le saut—J'aurais sauvé la vie à mon rival!—Voilà une belle occasion manquée, et beaucoup de gloire à jamais perdue pour moi! *

My mind at present is not entirely tranquil. The recollection of a temper so rash as Clifton's preys upon me. Yet, where there are qualities so high, and powers so uncommon, shall I defpair? [Page 85] Shall I shrink from an act of duty? It is a task I have prescribed to myself. Shall I witness the fortitude of Frank, and be myself so easily discomfited? No, Louisa. Clifton shall be ours—Shall be!—Shall be the brother of Lou­isa, the friend of Frank, and the better part of Anna. Yes, I too will be de­termined! I like Frank will say—"He is not dead! He shall not die!"

A. W. ST. IVES.

LETTER XLVI.
THE HONOURABLE MRS. CLIFTON TO FRANK HENLEY.

SIR,

IF the praises, prayers, and thanks, of a woman whom disease has robbed of more than half her faculties, could be of any value, if the overflowing heart of a mother could but speak its throbs, if ad­miration of gifts so astonishing and vir­tues [Page 87] so divine could be worthy your ac­ceptance, or could reward you for all the good you have done us, I would endea­vour to discharge the unexampled and unmerited obligation.

But no, sir; you are superior to these. I write not for your sake, but for my own; that I may endeavour to relieve myself of sensations that oppress me. I feel it incumbent on me to write; yet what can I say? I have no words. I despair of any opportunity of retribution: I am aged, infirm, and feeble. I am going down to the grave; but still I have life enough to revive and feel a new existence, at the recital of your vir­tues!

Forgive this short effusion, from the [Page 88] exuberant heart of a mother, who wishes but is wholly unable to say how much she admires you.

M. CLIFTON.

LETTER XLVII.
LOUISA CLIFTON TO FRANK HENLEY.

SIR,

I, LIKE my dear mamma, am im­pelled to endeavour to return thanks for benefits, at the recollection of which the heart sinks, and all thanks become ina­dequate and vain. Yet suffer a sister's thanks for a brother spared, pardoned, [Page 90] and restored to life! Restored at the ha­zard of your own, and after a mortal af­front received! Restored by the energies of fortitude, sagacity, and affection!

Indeed, sir, I cannot tell you what I feel. It is utterly impossible. Imagine me your friend, your sister. Command my life, it is yours. Yours not so much because the youth you have saved hap­pened to be my brother, as for the true esteem I have for qualities so exalted. This is not the first time you have ex­cited my admiration, and permit me to add my love. Your heart is too noble to misunderstand me. I love virtue, in man or woman; and if that be sin may I be ever sinful

I would wish you the joys of heaven, but my wishes are vain; you have them [Page 91] already: nor can a mind like yours be robbed of them, by all the powers of man or accident.

L. CLIFTON.

LETTER XLVIII.
LOUISA CLIFTON TO ANNA WENBOURNE ST. IVES.

YOUR three last letters, my dear Anna, have affected me in a very un­common manner. The pure passion, the noble resignation, and the fortitude of Frank Henley are unparalleled. Not to admire, not to esteem, not to love such virtues is imposible. His unshaken [Page 93] patience, his generosity, his forgiveness, his courage, his perseverance, are inimi­table proofs of his superiority. Who can forbear wishing him success? Ought he not to command it; to say it is mine; truth and justice dare not deny it to me?

Indeed, Anna, my mind is strangely in doubt. To be guilty of injustice to such worth is surely no common guilt. And yet my brother—Headlong luna­tic! Whose intemperance is every mo­ment hurrying him into extremes.—I grant, my friend, his mind is worthy of being retrieved; and it is a generous, a noble enterprize. Nay I own I some­times persuade myself it cannot fail, when Anna St. Ives and Frank Henley, from motives so pure and with so much [Page 94] determination, engage in the cause. But at others, I see peril at every step! I find my heart reproaching me for not ad­juring my friend to desist; for not ex­citing her to bestow her hand on the man who of all others can most justly claim it, as his right.

That I desire to see my brother all that emulation and wisdom could make him, the friend and husband of my Anna, the rival of her virtues, and the bosom intimate of him whom she is willing to forego for this brother's sake; that I de­sire this, ardently, vehemently, is most true. If the end be attainable, it is a noble enterprize. But the difficulties! What are they? Have they been well examined?—I, with my Anna, say mind can do all things with mind: truth is ir­resistible, [Page 95] and must finally conquer. But it has many modes of conquering, and some of them are tragical, and dreadful.

To see my Anna married to strife, wasting her fine powers to reform habits which, though they may be checked, may perhaps be too deep ever to be eradicated, to see all her exquisite sensibilities hourly preyed upon by in­efficient attempts to do good, for which instead of praise and love she might meet neglect, reproach, or perhaps stern insult—Oh! It is a painful thought! She would not pine; she would not weakly sink into dejection, and desert her duties, in pity to her own misfor­tunes.—No—But still it is an unhappy, nay, it is an abhorred state.

I am bewildered. One train of rea­soning [Page 96] overturns another, and I know not what to advise. There are times in which these consequences appear most probable; and there are others in which I say no, it is impossible! Brutality it­self could not be so senseless, so destruc­tive of its own felicity! Anna St. Ives would win a savage heart! And my brother evidently has quick and delicate sensations; capable of great good. But then are they not capable of great harm? Yes: but are they, would they be ca­pable of harm with her? Would not she command them, regulate them, har­monize them? Again, and again. I know not.

One thing however let me add. Let me conjure the friend of my bosom not to suffer herself to be swayed, by the re­membrance [Page 97] of that friendship. Nay, if she do not feel a certainty of success, let me intreat, let me admonish her to desist, before it be too late; and before further encouragement shall seem to authorize the presuming Clifton, for presuming I am convinced he will be, to found claims upon her kindness.

Oh that he were indeed worthy of her! Would that he could but rise to some­thing like that enviable dignity! And can he not?—Indeed I would not plead against him; but neither would I be in­strumental in rendering my friend, who is surely born a blessing to the earth, miserable.

I am angry with myself for my own indecision: but in vain; I have no re­medy. I sometimes conclude this inde­cision [Page 98] ought to act as a warning, and for that reason I have painted my feel­ings as they are. If yours should re­semble them, I firmly and loudly say—Anna, desist! If not, I then have no advice to give. For this I blame my­self, but ineffectually.

Be assured however that, under all circumstances of future life, be they ad­verse or prosperous, my best wishes will be with you, and my heart and soul ever yours.

L. CLIFTON.

P. S. My mamma and I have mutu­ally written to Frank Henley: you may easily imagine in what tone and style. But I could wish my brother to see our letters. We have both thought it best [Page 99] to forbear writing to him; his temper being wayward, and tetchy. We would much rather he should be obliged to feel, indirectly, what our opinions and sensations are, than learn them from any formal address, which he is so liable to misconstrue. It is most probable that Frank will not mention these letters. But, if you shew him this, and being of my opinion will join in the request, I have no doubt he will then comply. There is one sentence in my letter which makes me likewise wish that Clifton should know I have requested Frank would permit him to see what I have written; otherwise that sentence might very probably by him be misinterpreted. When you read the letter, you will in­stantly know which I mean; the word [Page 100] love makes it conspicuous; and you will then perceive my reason. To raise the mind, which is habituated to the suspi­cious practices of the world, above those practices, and to make it feel that the pure heart defies the pusillanimous im­putation of want of delicacy, is a diffi­cult task. But let us, my Anna, continue to act and speak all that our thoughts approve, void of the fear of accusation.

LETTER XLIX.
ANNA WENBOURNE ST. IVES TO LOUISA CLIFTON.

WE are returned to Paris. The Marquis and his bride have taken leave of their country pleasures, and are gone to Fontainebleau, to be presented at court.

The strange incident of Clifton excited much conversation, in which my name [Page 102] and his were frequently joined. The Count de Beaunoir became less particular in his behaviour to me, in consequence of the reserve which I thought it right to assume. I find however that he told Sir Arthur, after running over a great num­ber of enthusiastic epithets, in his wild way, all in my praise, that he perceived at present I preferred another; and that he had too high a sense of honour to put any restraint on a lady's inclinations. But if my mind should change, and his per­son, fortune, sword, and life could give me pleasure, they should eternally be at my command. He likewise means in a few days to follow the court to Fontaine­bleau, as he said; and he again repeated he had lost a fine opportunity of con­vincing [Page 103] me how he adored me; and that he was diablement fâché.

Clifton has entirely altered his beha­viour to Frank; he now treats him with unaffected freedom and respect. But his impatience relative to me has not abated. Tomorrow we are to have some conver­sation, after which I imagine he wishes to make proposals to Sir Arthur.

Would you think, Louisa, that I some­times suffer myself to be surprised into fears; and that I then find myself ready to retract, or at least questioning whether I ought to proceed.

There is something fatally erroneous in the impatient propensities of the hu­man mind. How seldom does it stay so fully to examine a question as to leave no remaining doubt, and to act on a [Page 104] preconcerted and consistent plan! Yet it never acts with safety, or with satis­faction, except when it has or imagines it has made this examination. If our motives be few, slow, and feeble, we then are heavy, dull, and stupid: if they be quick, numerous, and strong, we are too apt implicitly to obey first impulses, and to hurry headlong into folly and extra­vagance. Yet these last only can give energy; and, having them, wisdom will consist in being able to curb them, so as to give full time for consideration.

The conscious want of this in myself is what I blame. How often am I sur­prised by unexpected circumstances, which I ought to have foreseen, and against which I ought to have provided! If I have any doubts of myself, if I am [Page 105] not certain of producing those effects on the mind of Clifton which I know I ought to be able to produce, it becomes me to recede. Or rather it becomes me to apply myself, with the resolution of which I am so ready to vaunt, to attain that which is attainable, to discover the true means, the clue to his mind, and to persevere.

I have sometimes suspected myself of being influenced by his fine form, and the charms of his wit and gaiety. At others I have even doubted whether I were not more actuated by an affection for my Louisa, than by a sense of incum­bent duty. But, consider the subject how I will, that there is a duty, and that I am called upon to fulfil it, is an uner­ring decision.

[Page 106] There must be no concealment. I must explain my whole chain of reason­ings to him: for nothing appears more indubitable to me than that duplicity never can conduce to good. The only fear is that I should be deficient in my detail, and present my plan so as to give it a false appearance. Truth partially told becomes falsehood: and it was a kind of blind consciousness of this which first induced men to countenance dissi­mulation. They felt their inability to do justice to truth, and therefore con­cluded hypocrisy was a virtue, and, strange to tell, truth itself sometimes a vice. It was a lamentable mistake. It is partial truth, or in other words false­hood, which is the vice.

Clifton has from the beginning been a [Page 107] great favourite with Sir Arthur. He contradicts none of my father's preju­dices; he admires grounds and parks beautifully laid out; has a taste for archi­tecture; points out the defects and excel­lencies of the buildings of France with much discrimination; has a great respect, like Sir Arthur, for family, and prides himself in being the son of an honourable mother; recounts, in a pleasant and lively manner, the anecdotes he has heard; and relates his own adventures, so as to render them amusing. There is therefore no fear of opposition from Sir Arthur.

He has another advantage with the family. My uncle, Lord Fitz-Allen, is at present in Paris, on his return from Switzerland, and Clifton has been intro­duced [Page 108] to him by his kinsman, Lord Evelyn, who is making a short excursion to the south of France. The near rela­tionship of your brother to this noble lord has given him great consequence with my uncle, who has once more con­descended to restore me to favour. Could I or did it become me entirely to conceal those feelings which his arrogance in­spires, I should stand much higher in his esteem. As it is, he acts more from the love of his rank and family, that is of himself, than of me; and has accordingly signified his mandatory approbation to Sir Arthur. As nothing however in the way of family advantage is to be ex­pected from him, he having several children and a prodigious quantity of dignity to maintain, his behest is not [Page 109] altogether so omnipotent as it might otherwise be.

My brother, agreeably to his grand­father's will, has taken possession of the Edgemoor estate, which is eight hundred a year. This I imagine will oblige Sir Arthur, in despite of his predilection, to retrench some of his improving ex­pences. He mentioned the circum­stance to me, and I thought that a good opportunity once more to attack his ruling passion. Our conversation soon became animated. I boldly descanted on the use and abuse of riches, on the claims of honest distress, and on the tur­pitude of seeking self-gratifications, and neglecting to promote the great ends for which men ought to live, the spreading [Page 110] of truth, the rewarding of genius, and the propagation of mind.

But it was to little purpose. Sir Ar­thur did not understand me; and I was more angry at myself than at him, as well I might be, for wanting the power to ren­der myself intelligible. He as usual was amazed to hear he had not a right to do what he pleased with his own, and to be told it was not his own. Nor was he sparing in pettish reproof to the self­sufficient young lady, who thought pro­per to dispute the propriety and wisdom of his projects.

The question that continually occurs to me is, when shall those beings who justly claim superiority of understanding, and thence a right to direct the world, [Page 111] find some simple and easy mode of con­vincing the mistaken, and by conviction of eradicating error?

Adieu. Blessings be with you. I shall most probably write by the next post, for I wish you to be as perfectly acquainted as possible with every thing that passes, that I may profit by the ad­vice of a friend so dear, so true, and so discerning.

A. W. ST. IVES.

P. S. Your last letter is this moment come to hand, and has strongly revived trains of ideas that of late have repeat­edly passed through my own mind. It confirms me in the resolution of being very sincere with your brother. But, unless my sincerity should so far offend [Page 112] him, as to induce him voluntarily to re­cede, it likewise shews me it is my duty to persist. At least such is the result of all the arguments I hold with myself, whenever the subject presents itself to me, either through the medium of my own imagination, or pictured by others. I will write soon. I approve the reason­ing in your postscript, will shew it to Frank, and will ask him to let me and Clifton see the letters, who shall likewise know it is by your desire.

LETTER L.
SIR ARTHUR ST. IVES TO ABIMELECH HENLEY.

I HAVE received yours of the 30th ult. * honest Aby, and it gave me great pleasure to hear you had made so much dispatch. Wenbourne-Hill is the gar­den of Eden. The more I see the more I am convinced. What is there here to [Page 114] be compared to my temples, and my groves, and my glades? Here a mount and a shrubbery! There a dell concealed by brambles! On your right a statue! On your left an obelisk, and a sun-dial! The obelisk is fixed, yet the dial shews that time is ever flying. Did you ever think of that before, Aby?

Apropos of this dial: Sir Alexander I remember said it was useless half the day; because it was shaded from the sun to the west and the north, by the old grove. His advice was that the grove should be grubbed up; but it certainly would be much easier to remove the sun dial, obelisk, and all.

I am so delighted with the recollection of these things, Abimelech, that I had half forgotten the reason of my writing [Page 115] to you. The subject is disagreeable enough; and I should not be sorry if I were never to remember it more.

I very much fear we must stop our im­provements. My son has claimed and entered upon the Edgemoor estate. I thought myself sure that he would re­main satisfied as he was till my death. What could be more reasonable? I ar­gued with him to the very utmost, but to no purpose. He is in great haste to set up for himself; and I don't know whe­ther he would not eject me out of Wen­bourne-Hill, if he had the power. In vain did I tell him that his pay in the guards, added to the three hundred a-year which I had before allowed him, was more than any young man knew how properly to spend. He has only himself [Page 116] to think of; and he very positively de­clares he never means to have a family, for he will never marry. I believe he is quite serious in his declaration: and if so, what does he want with an estate of eight hundred a-year? He ought to con­sider that; and to remember that a pro­vision must be made for his sister. But no; he considers only himself.

Indeed I hear but an indifferent ac­count of him: he is a fashionable gen­tleman, and would rather squander his money at the gaming-table, than suffer it to remain in the family. He has been a wild youth. I have sometimes won­dered where he got all the money which I am told he has spent. Not from me I am sure. And though I have often heard of his deep play, I do not remem­ber [Page 117] to have ever heard of his winning. But he follows his own course. My arguments that I had the family dignity to support, his sister to marry, and mortgages to pay off, were all in vain.

He was equally deaf when I pleaded the improvements that I was making; all for his sake. For you know, Aby, he is to have them when I am gone: and go I must, some time or another.

He had even the confidence to tell me that, if Wenbourne-Hill were his, he would quickly undo every thing that I have been doing.

Is not this a sad thing, Aby? For what have I been labouring? Have not we both spent our lives in contriving? How many charming thoughts have we [Page 118] had! What pleasure have we taken in planting and pulling up, digging and scattering, watering and draining, turf­ing and gravelling!

Talking of water, Aby, I cannot for­bear mentioning a most delightfully ro­mantic lake, which I have met with in the park of the Marquis de Villebrun. It is the only thing, in the laying out of grounds, that I have seen to please me in all France. One part of it a fine le­vel: such a sweep! At the other extre­mity nothing but rocks and precipices. Your son Frank threw himself headlong down one of them, into the water, to save a gentleman's life. Were you but to see it, you would be astonished. They have called it the Englishman's leap. I [Page 119] would not do such a thing for a million of money. I should be dead enough if I did.

But Frank is a bold young man, and I assure you, Aby, highly esteemed by my daughter; ay and by myself too, and by every body: very highly indeed. He was the whole talk for I know not how many days.

But about this money, Aby. I shall soon want a good round sum, if I am not mistaken. I may venture, Aby, to give you a hint that I expect very soon, indeed I don't know how soon, a proposal should be made to me for my daugh­ter: and if it be, I am so pleased with the party, who let me tell you is a fine spirited young fellow, that I assure you I shall not think of refusing my consent; [Page 120] especially as he is so much in the good graces of my daughter. In this case, I cannot do less than pay twenty thousand pounds down.

I am afraid, honest Aby, we must re­nounce the wilderness! But when you know the party, I think you will allow I could not act otherwise.

Indeed, I find, however we may please ourselves, we can never satisfy our chil­dren. Here too has Anna been lectur­ing me, about money thrown away, as she is pleased to conceive; and has said a great deal indeed, against what I thought could not have been found fault with. But so it is! Friends, relations, children, all are wiser than ourselves! All are ready enough to discover or to suppose blemishes! Would you think it [Page 121] possible for any body to be acquainted with Wenbourne-Hill and do any thing but admire? My hope, nay my deter­mination was to have made it the para­dise of England, and to have drawn strangers far and near to come and be delighted with its beauties. But these rubs and crosses put one out of heart with the most excellent thoughts and contrivances.

Let me know what you think can be done in these money matters, if things should be as I expect. You are per­fectly acquainted with the state of my affairs. I see no way but that of mort­gaging more deeply.

It is exceedingly vexatious to think of stopping our proceedings, Aby. But [Page 122] what can be done? However, as I do not intend to stay much longer here, we can talk more to the purpose on these matters when we meet in England.

Perhaps it would be better to begin by discharging the workmen gradually; which you will find proper opportunities to do, Aby. And if you were, by way of talk in the neighbourhood, to say that you thought nothing more could be done to Wenbourne-Hill, and that you had reason to believe that was my opinion likewise, such a report might tie the tongues of cavillers: for I would not have it thought we stop for want of money.

You may write to me here, in answer to this; for we shall not leave Paris be­fore [Page 123] your letter will come to hand. And so, good Abimelech, farewell.

A. ST. IVES.

P. S. I will not tell you the name of the party from whom I expect the pro­posal, honest Aby; because if he should be shy of speaking, as youngsters some­times are, it might come to nothing; but I may hint to you, that you are well ac­quainted with his family; and I dare say you will not be sorry for the match, it being so agreeable to my daughter's in­clination; though I grant it may not be so good a one as my sister Wenbourne, and others of the family, have been ex­pecting; because of Anna's beauty and accomplishments, which I own might well merit a man of higher birth and [Page 124] fortune. But the little huffy has been so nice, and squeamish, that I began to fear she would take up her silly spend­thrift brother's whim, and determine to live single: therefore I shall not balk her, now she seems in the humour.

LETTER LI.
ABIMELECH HENLEY TO FRANK HENLEY.

WHY ay! To be sure! This will do! I shall be fain to think a summut of ee, now you can flamgudgin 'em a thisn. I did'nt a think it was innee. Why you will become a son of my own begettin. I write to tellee the good news, and that [Page 126] ee mightn't a kick down the milk. You have a sifflicated Sir Arthur. I could a told ee afore that you had a sifflicated Missee. But I was afeard as that you wur a too adasht. But I tellee it will do! Father's own lad! An ear-tickler! Ay, ay! That's the trade! Sugar the sauce, and it goes down glibly.

Listen to me. I a learnt the secret on't. What was I, I pray you? Penny­less Aby! Wet and weary! And what am I now? A tell me that. Why I'm a worth—But that's a nether here nor there, I tellee. And what may you be an you please? What should I a bin, an I ad had your settins out? Why Ide a bin what Ide a pleased. A dooke, mayhap; or a lord mayor of Lunnun?—No—A fekittary prime minister?—No—A mem­ber [Page 127] of parliament?—No—Ide a bin treasurer!—Treasurer of the three kink­dums. Ide a handled the kole!—I've a feathered my nest as it is; and what would I a done then thinkee?

Stick close to Sir Arthur. Mind your hits, and you have him a safe enough. Didn't I always tellee you must catch 'n by the ear? A cunnin curr always catches a pig by the ear. He expects a propo­sal for Missee; he does not a know how soon. And who does he expect to pro­pose? Guess, Nicodemus, if you can. Do you mind me? He shan't refuse his consent. Mark you me that! They are his own words. Twenty thousand pounds down! His own words again. What do you say to me now? It's all your own! I mean it's all our own—Do you [Page 128] mind me? For who have you to thank for it? I tellee it is but ask and have—And how do I know that?—What's that to you, Dolt?—No, no—You are a no dolt now—You are a good lad.

I tellee I'm in the secret! So do you flamdazzle Missee. I a heard of your jumpins and swimmins: and so that you do but swim to the main chance, why ay! That's a summut! I a bin to Clifton-Hall. For why? I begind to smell a rat! And there I talked with t'other Missee. I a palavered her over. I a ferretted and a feagued and a worked and a wormed it all out of she. Your name is up! You may go to bed! Do you mind me? You may go to bed to twenty thousand pounds! It is as good as all your own.

[Page 129] I am a to find the kole: that is, I first havin and holdin the wherewithalls, and the whys, and the wherefores. And so do you see me, I expect to have the han­dlin ont—But that's a nether here nor there. Sir Arthur as good as said it to me—So don't a stand like a Gabriel Gal­lymaufry all a mort, shilly-shally, I would if I durst—A dip in the skimmin dish and a lick of the fingur—That's a not the way with a maiden—What! A don't I know?—Make up to Missee, and say to her, Missee! Here am I! My name is Frank Henley! My fa­ther's name is Abimelech Henley! A's a cunnin warm old codger—A tell her that—And says you, here Missee says you am I, at your onnurable Ladyship's reverend sarvice. My father has a got [Page 130] the rhino—A don't forget to tell her that—Smug and snug and all go snacks—Do you mind me? And so, says you, I have a paradventerd umbelly to speak my foolish thofts, says you. That is take me ritely, your Ladyship, says you; under your Ladyship's purtection and currection, and every think of that there umbel and very submissive obedient kind, says you. And so says you, do ee see me Missee, I onnurs and glorifies your Ladyship; and am ready to have and to hold, says you; go fairly go fouly, be happy be lucky, any day o'the week, says you; I and my father, honest Aby, says you. He can raise the wind, says you! He can sind the wherewithalls to pay for lawyer's parchment, says you—But mind, that's a nether here not there—So [Page 131] a here Missee stands I, says you; I and my honest old father—A's got the marygolds, says you! The gilly flowers, the yellow boys, says you! Golore!—But that's a nether here nor there.

So do you tell her all a that I bid ee, and a mind your pees and cues. Who knows but Wenbourne-Hill itself may be one day all our own? I say who knows? There be old fools and young fools—I tellee that—Old planners, and improvers, and bite bubbles; and young squitter squanders, gamblers, and chouse chits—Mark you me that—And there be wax and parchment too—Ay and post obits *; and besides all doosoors [Page 132] and perkissits. A what is money good for but to make money? A tell me that.

And so in the name and the lovin kindness of the mercifool sufferins of almighty goodness, and peace and glory and heavenly joys, no more at present.

ABIMELECH HENLEY.

LETTER LII.
ABIMELECH HENLEY TO SIR ARTHUR ST. IVES.

Most onnurable Sir, my ever onnurd Master,

FOR certainly your noble onnur knows best. And thof I have paradven­terd, now and tan, umbelly to speak my foolish thofts, and haply may again a paradventer, when your most exception­able onnur shall glorify me with a hear­ing, [Page 134] in sitch and sitch like cramp cases and queerums as this here; yet take me ritely, your noble onnur, it is always and evermore with every think of that there umbel and very submissive obedi­ent kind.

My younk Lady Missee is as elegunt a my Lady younk Missee as any in the three kink's kinkdums. A who can gain say it? She is the flour of the flock, I must a say that. The whole country says it. For why, as aforesaid, a who can gain say it? A tell me that! Always a savin and exceptin your noble onnur, as in rite and duty boundin. What, your most gracious onnur, a han­not I had the glory and the magnifisunce to dangle her in my arms, before she was a three months old? A hannot I a [Page 135] known her from the hour of her birth? Nay, as a I may say, afore her blessed peepers a twinkled the glory everlastin of infinit mercifool commiseration and sun-shine? A didn't I bob her here, and bob her there; a up and a down, aback and afore and about, with a sweet gra­cious a krow and a kiss for honest poor Aby, as your onnur and your onnurable Madam, my Lady, ever gracious to me a poor sinner used then to call me?

Not but those times are a passt. But, a savin and exceptin your noble onnur, that's a nether here nor there. I may hold up my head as well as another. A why not? When so be as a man has no money, why then, a savin and exceptin your onnur's reverence, a's but a poor dog. But when so be as a man as a got [Page 136] the rhino, why then a may begin to hold up his head. A why not? Always a savin and exceptin your noble onnur, as aforesaid.

Your noble onnur knows that I'm a be apt to let my tongue mag a little, when my wits be a set a gaddin; and whereupon the case is as witch your no­ble onnur was pleased to sifflicate me upon, in your last rite onnurable and mercifool letter. For why? A man's son as I may say is himself; and twenty thousand pounds, thof it be not a penny too much, is somethink. For witch the blessin and glory of goodness and praise be with the donors. Nevertheless that there will likewise be the wherewithalls, mayhap, notwithstandin, when my head comes to be laid low. Thof if so be I [Page 137] cannot but say that a man would rather a not think of that there, if a could help it. A savin and exceptin that the blessin and glory and power and praise of the saints, and the martyrs, and the profits, and the cherubims and serafims, and the amen allelujahs, might a be summut to a dyin soul; when a has had, god be mercifool unto us, time for repentance, and the washin away of the sins of this wickedness world, by good deeds, and charity, and mercy, and lovin kindness unto all men; when the poor miserable sinner, with groans, and tears, and eter­nal terrifyins of the flamin prince Luci­fer Belzebub of darkness everlastin is at last obliged to take leave of the soul from the body. Ah, a well a day! Man is a reprobation race! A's a given over [Page 138] to sin, and to shame, and to backslidins, and to the slough of despond, and to the valley of the shaddow of death, and if a has not, miserable sinner, a time to repent, of a witch be evermore granted unto us all, world without end. Amen! Amen!

Ah, dear a me, what have I a bin talkin to your most gracious onnur? I was a meant to tell your noble onnur that the twenty thousand pounds mayhap might a be forth cummin; on proper occasions, and certificates, and securities, and doosoors, and perkissits; all of the witch, as my ever onnurd master afore­time knows, there is no a doin a busi­ness without. For why?—Money is money, and land is land; and there be troubles, and takins, and seekins, and enquirins, and profit and loss, and ifs [Page 139] and mayhaps, and all a that there; of the witch there is no a doing without. But nevertheless I dares to say, likewise and notwithstandin as aforesaid, that the mo­ney may be a forth cummin.

Nay and if so be the witch that I might a paradventer to advise, but that to be sure I should not a like to have it a thoft that I should perk and put in my oar, all agog to my betters, and more­over one of his majesty's baronets, other­wise I should say nevertheless as afore­said that the younk lady is the flour of the flock; and if so be as I had the on­nurable grace and blessin to be her fa­ther, I would a give her and a make over to her, now and evermore hereafter, all a that the law would a let me. And a let 'em tell me, your noble onnur, who [Page 140] desarves it better. What! Is n't she, as I may say, the very firmament of the power and glory of praise? What is ivory and alablaster a parallel to her? Let 'em a tell me that! If I wus the onnura­ble father of sitch ever mercifool affabi­bility, would a not I be fain to give her gems and rubies, and carbuncles, if I had 'em? Who should gain say me? A savin and exceptin your ever exception­able and noble onnur. I would n't a be meant to be thoft to put in a word for meself, by no manner of account; no, no; far be it from me; but in other partikillers, if so be that it wus me me­self, I should n't a grutch her kinkdums. And ast to thwartin and knatterin and crossin the kindly sweet virginal soul, ever blessed as she is, in love, for what [Page 141] truly? Your noble onnur has too much bowels of fatherly miseration. No, no!—Your noble onnur has a clencht it; take her now she is in the humour. Whereby maidens be wayward and fain and froward and full of skittish tricks, when they be happen to be crossed in love. Take her in the humour your wise and alwise noble onnur.

Whereof your onnur was a menshin­nin a stagnation to be put in the spoke of the wheel of improvements. Where­of if I might a paradventer to put in my oar, I should say why that should be as it might a be happen. When if as I should ever live to see the glorious day of this marriage match rejoice the heart of Wenbourne-Hill, why then I should know how to speak my poor thofts.

[Page 142] For why? All would then be clear and above board; and we should all a know who and who was together. That would be summut! We might then a be happen to raise the wind; and the wherewithalls might a be forth cummin.

And so, as matters and thinks is likely to turn out, to be sure I must say that your onnur has a hit the nail on the head. Whereof as your onnur has a ushered your commands, I shall begin to take care of the kole, and send them there rapscallions a packin.

And as to the flickers and fleers of the neighbours, your onnurable onnur, a leave me to humdudgin they. I'll a send their wits a wool-gatherin. For why? Your onnurable onnur has always a had my lovin kindness of blessins of [Page 143] praise, as in duty boundin. For cer­tainly I should be fain to praise the bridge that a carries me safe over. And now that your onnur is a thinkin of a more of lovin kindness and mercies, to me and mine, why a what should I say now? Why I should say and should glorify, to all the world, that your on­nur is my ever onnured and rite most mercifool bountifool faithfool and disre­spectfool kind master; and that I be your ever rite and most trusty true ho­nest Aby; and every think of that there umbel and very submissive obedient kind, as in duty boundin.

But I a bin a thinkin, your ever gra­cious onnur, that a behap the kintlin may stand alooft, and a hang ******, [Page 144] and a be adasht. And a what is to be done then? Why then, whereupon if that your ever gracious onnur would but be so all mercifool in goodness as to say the word, why we should be upon sure ground, and all our quips and quanda­ries and afterclaps would a be chouse clickt. I most umbelly pray and be­siege your onnur to be so mercifool as to think o' that there! Do ee, your ever gracious onnur! I pray your on­nur, doo ee! Then we should a be all sound and safe over, and it would all a be holiday at Wenbourne-Hill! A that would be a glorified day! The lawjus mighty, ay! It would!

Witch is all in praise and onnur of the glory and peace to come, thanksgivin [Page 145] and gladness; umbelly beggin leave to super scribe me self,

ABIMELECH HENLEY.

I needn't a say nothink of a concernin of a dockin of the entail, to your on­nur. For why? As your onnur knows, nothink can be done, in the way of the kole and the wherewithalls, without a that there. But ast for that, a that ar­gufies nothink. For why? His younk onnur, I knows, will be a willin enough; that is, settin the case of a proviso of a doosoor consideration in ready rhino for himself. A told me himself, his younk onnur, that a will have that. A says a will sell his chance, and a does n't a care how soon; but a wonnot give it away. Witch if so be as it be not to be helpt, why a what be to be done, your onnur?

LETTER LIII.
ANNA WENBOURNE ST. IVES TO LOUISA CLIFTON.

YOUR brother has this moment left me. Our conversation has been ani­mated; and, as usual, I sit down to com­mit what has passed to paper, while it is fresh on my memory.

He began with the warmest expres­sions of the force of his passion. I have [Page 147] no reason to doubt of their sincerity; and, if affection can be productive of the end which I hope, its strength ought to give me pleasure. He would scarcely suffer me to suppose it possible there could be any cause of difference between us: let me but name my conditions and they should be fulfilled. He would un­dertake all that I did, all that I could require; and it was with difficulty that I could persuade him of the possibility of promising too fast. This introduced what was most material in our dialogue.

My heart assures me, madam, said he, that I never gave you the least cause to suspect the sincerity and ardour of my passion: and I should hope that the sears, which I have sometimes thought [Page 148] you too readily entertained, are now dissipated.

My fears are chiefly for, or rather of, myself. I doubt whether any person has so high an opinion of the powers and energy of your mind as I have: but I think those powers ill directed, and in danger of being lost.

I own, madam, I have been some­times grieved, nay piqued, to perceive that you do not always think quite so well of me as I could wish.

You wrong me. You yourself do not think so highly of yourself as I do.

Yet you suppose me to be in danger?

Of being misled. Some of my opi­nions and principles, or some of yours, are erroneous, for they differ; I cannot [Page 149] at this moment but perceive how liable I am to be misunderstood. I cannot be insensible of the awkwardness of the situ­ation in which I now place myself. My age, my sex, the customs of the world, a thousand circumstances contribute to cast an air of ridicule upon what ought to be very serious. But I must persist. Do you endeavour to forget these cir­cumstances; and consider only the words, not the girl by whom they are spoken.

It is not you, madam, but I who ought to dread appearing ridiculous. But for your sake—Let me but obtain your favour, and make me as ridiculous as you please.

I told you so!—Should the lordly lettered man submit to have his prin­ciples [Page 150] questioned, by an untutored wo­man? Be sincere: your mind revolts at it?

I feel the justness of your satire. Men are tyrants.

Prejudice is a tyrant: there is no other tyranny.

Madam!

That is one of my strange opinions.

It may be true; I am willing to think it is. Such things are indifferent to me. Let me but have your consent, to speak to Sir Arthur, and I have accomplished all I wish. I do not desire to trouble myself with examining opinions, true or false. I am determined to be of your opinion, be it what it will.

That is, you avow that the gratifica­tion [Page 151] of your desires is the chief pursuit of your life. We have now found the es­sential point on which we differ.

Is not happiness, madam, the univer­sal pursuit? Must it not, ought it not to be?

Yes. But the grand distinction is be­tween general and individual happiness. The happiness that centres in the good of the whole may for the present find momentary interruption, but never can be long subverted: while that individual happiness, of which almost the whole world is in pursuit, is continually blun­dering, mistaking its object, losing its road, and ending in disappointment.

Then, madam, we must all turn monks, preach self-denial, fast, pray, [Page 152] scourge away our sins, live groaning, and die grieving.

[I smiled. It is his usual way, when he thinks I am got a little in the clouds, to draw some humorous or satirical picture, to bring me down to what he esteems common-sense. But, as I am convinced that truth only need to be re­peated, and insisted on, whenever there is an opportunity, in order finally to be received, the best way is always to join in the laugh, which is inoffensive, unless pettishness give it a sting.]

You find yourself obliged at present to consider me as a whimsical girl, with a certain flow of spirits, and much va­nity, desiring to distinguish herself by singularity?

[Page 153] No, madam. Whatever you may think of me, my heart will not endure a thought to your disadvantage.

Nay, nay, forbear your kind re­proaches. Every time you differ with me in sentiment, you cannot but think something to my disadvantage. It is so with all of us. The very end of this present explanation is sincerity. We each think well of the other: but do we think sufficiently well? Is there a certainty that our thoughts are in no danger of changing? Of all the actions of private life, there is not one so solemn as that of vowing perpetual love: yet the heedless levity with which it is daily performed, proves that there is scarcely one on which less serious reflection is bestowed. Can we be too careful not to deceive our­selves? [Page 154] Ought we not minutely to ex­amine our hopes and expectations? Ought not you and I, in particular, to be cir­cumspect? Our imaginations are vivid, our feelings strong, our views and de­sires not bounded by common rules. In such minds, passions, if not subdued, be­come ungovernable, and fatal.

I am very conscious, madam—

Nay, do not fancy I seek to accuse: my purpose is very different. My mind is no less ardent than yours, though edu­cation and habit may have given it a different turn. It glows with equal zeal to attain its end. Where there is much warmth, much enthusiasm, I suspect there is much danger. We had better never meet more, than meet to be mise­rable.

[Page 155] For heaven's sake, madam, do not torture me with so impossible a suppo­sition!

You expect one kind of happiness, I another. Can they coalesce? You imagine you have a right to attend to your appetites, and pursue your plea­sures. I hope to see my husband for­getting himself, or rather placing self-gratification in the pursuit of universal good, deaf to the calls of passion, willing to encounter adversity, reproof, nay death, the champion of truth, and the determined the unrelenting enemy of error.

I think, madam, I dare do all that can be required of me.

I know your courage is high. I know too that courage is one of the first and [Page 156] most essential qualities of mind. Yet perhaps I might and ought to doubt, nay to ask, whether you dare do many things.

What is it, madam, that I dare not do?

Dare you receive a blow, or suffer yourself falsely to be called lair, or cow­ard, without seeking revenge, or what honour calls satisfaction? Dare you think the servant that cleans your shoes is your equal, unless not so wise or good a man; and your superior, if wiser and better? Dare you suppose mind has no sex, and that woman is not by nature the inferior of man?—

Madam—

Nay, nay, no compliments; I will not be interrupted—Dare you think that [Page 157] riches, rank, and power, are usurpations; and that wisdom and virtue only can claim distinction? Dare you make it the business of your whole life to over-turn these prejudices, and to promote among mankind that spirit of universal benevolence which shall render them all equals, all brothers, all stripped of their artificial and false wants, all participating the labour requisite to produce the ne­cessaries of life, and all combining in one universal effort of mind, for the pro­gress of knowledge, the destruction of error, and the spreading of eternal truth?

There is such energy, madam, in all you say, that, while I listen to you, I dare do any thing, dare promise any thing.

Nay, but the daring of which I speak, [Page 158] must be the energy of your own mind, not of mine.

Do not distress yourself and me with doubts, madam. I have heard you yourself say that truth ultimately must prevail. I may differ with you in some points; but I am willing to hear, wil­ling to discuss; and, if truth be on your side, there can be no danger.

The only danger is in the feeble or false colouring which the defenders of truth may give it, and not in truth it­self.

I am too well convinced of your power to feel your doubts. You oblige me to see with your eyes, hear with your ears, believe what you believe, and reject what you think incredible. I am and [Page 159] [...] [Page 158] [...] [Page 159] must be whatever you please to make me. You have but to prescribe your own conditions.

Prescribe I must not. If I can per­suade, if I can win upon your mind—

If—! You won my whole soul the very first moment I saw you! Not a word or action of mine but what has proclaimed the burning impatience of my passion!

True: the burning impatience—Your eagerness to assent will not suffer you to examine. Your opinions and principles are those which the world most highly approves, and applauds: mine are what it daily calls extravagant, impracticable, and absurd. It would be weak in me to expect you should implicitly receive remote truths, so contradictory to this general practice, till you have first deeply [Page 160] considered them. I ask no such miracle. But if I can but turn your mind to such considerations, if I can but convince you how inestimable they are, even to your­self as well as to the world at large, I shall then have effected my purpose.

Of that, madam, be sure—You shall see!—Upon my honour, you shall!—I will order a fur-cap, a long gown, a white wand, and a pair of sandals this very day! No Grecian ever looked more grave than I will! Nay, if you desire it, razor shall never touch my chin more.

Well, well; equip yourself speedily, and I will provide you with a wooden dish, a lanthorn, and a tub.

But then, having made your condi­tions, you now grant me your consent?

[Page 161] That is obliging me once more to put on my serious face—The danger in which I so lately saw you hangs heavily on my mind; that and the warm passions by which it was occasioned.

And my excess of ardour, to demon­strate my love, you regard as a proof of my having none.

How passion overshoots itself! Your conclusion is as precipitate as was your proof.

I cannot be cool, madam, on this sub­ject. I wonder to see you so! Did af­fection throb and burn in your bosom, as it does in mine, I am persuaded it would be otherwise.

We are neither of us so entirely satis­fied with each other as we ought to be, [Page 162] to induce either me to consent or you to apply to Sir Arthur.

For heaven's sake, madam—

Hear me patiently, for a moment. Previous to this conversation, I was con­vinced of the folly and danger of exces­sive haste. Should you imagine I have any self-complacency or caprice to gra­tify, by delay, you will do me great in­justice: I solemnly protest I have none. My own interest, had I no better motive, would make me avoid such conduct. The inconsistencies and vain antics of the girl, which are justly enough stigma­tized by the epithets flirting and co­quetry, are repaid tenfold upon the wife. I would deal openly, honestly, and gene­rously; but not rashly. I have every [Page 163] predilection in your favour which you could wish; such doubts excepted as I have declared. But I must not give ei­ther you or the world cause to accuse me of levity. My consent to speak to Sir Arthur would be generally understood as a pledge to proceed; not it is true by me, if I saw just cause to retract: but, though I earnestly desire to reform, I almost as earnestly wish not unnecessarily to offend the prejudices of mankind.

Nay let me beg, let me conjure you—[He took both my hands with great ar­dour.]

And let me beg too, let me conjure you, not to think meanly or unkindly of me, when I tell you that I must insist on a short delay.

I will kneel! I will do any thing—!

[Page 164] Do nothing which your heart does not approve; it never can be the way to forward any worthy suit. For my part, I must tell you, which you may reckon among my faults, that when I have once considered a subject, I am a very posi­tive and determined girl. This may be thought obstinacy; but such I am, and such therefore you ought to see me.

And when, madam, may I now pre­sume to hope?

Do not speak as if you were displeased. Indeed it is far from my intention to of­fend.

You are too well acquainted, madam, with your own power of pleasing, to fear giving offence.

Far the contrary, for I fear it at this moment.

[Page 165] You are kind and killing both in a breath.—Be doubly kind, and suffer me immediately to speak to Sir Arthur.

I told you I am fixed, and I assure you it is true.

When then may I hope?

I could have wished to have seen my friend, your sister, first: but perhaps Sir Arthur may make some stay in London, and I should be sorry to delay a moment longer than seems absolutely necessary. Let us both consider what has passed this morning, and provided no new accident should intervene—

Another leap from a rock?

Provided our approbation and esteem for each other should continue, and in­crease, I will ask for no further delay, after we come to London.

[Page 166] Well, well. It is the poor lover's duty to thank his mistress for the great­ness of her condescension, even when he thinks she uses him unkindly.

I was going to reply, but my enter­prising gentleman—[Indeed, Louisa, your brother is a bold youth]—snatched an unexpected embrace, with more ea­gerness than fear, and then fell on one knee, making such a piteous face for forgiveness, so whimsical, and indeed I may say witty, that it was impossible to be serious. However, I hurried away, and thus the conference ended.

And now, after reviewing what has passed, tell me, Louisa, ought I to re­cede? Are not my hopes well founded? Must not the reiteration of truth make its due impression, upon a mind like [Page 167] Clifton's? Can it fail? Is he not the man who, for all the reasons formerly given, truly merits preference?

I must not forget to tell you that Frank readily complied with your request, and Clifton has seen the letters. He seems oppressed, as it were, with a sense of ob­ligation to Frank; which the latter en­deavours to convince him is wrong. Re­ciprocal duties, he says, always must exist among mankind; but as for obliga­tions, further than those, there are none. A grateful man is either a weak or a proud man, and ingratitude cannot exist; unless by ingratitude injustice be meant. Frank's opinions appear to Clifton to be equally novel with mine; and must be well understood, to escape being treated with mockery.

[Page 168] It is infinitely pleasing to me to per­ceive the fortitude with which Frank resists inclination. He is almost as cheerful, and quite as communicative, and desirous of making all around him happy, as ever. His constancy, how­ever, is not to be shaken, in one particu­lar. I could wish it were! It pains me to recollect that he will persist, to the end of time, in thinking me his, by right!

I cannot proceed!

A. W. ST. IVES.

LETTER LIV.
COKE CLIFTON TO GUY FAIRFAX.

LAUGH at me if you will, Fairfax. Hoot! Hiss me off the stage! I am no longer worthy of the confraternity of ho­nest, bold, free and successful fellows. I am dwindling into a whining, submissive, crouching, very humble, yes if you please, no thank you Madam, dangler! I have [Page 170] been to school! Have had my task set me! Must learn my lesson by rote, or there is a rod in pickle for me! Yes! I! That identical Clifton; that bold, gay, spirited fellow, who has so often vaunted of and been admired for his daring! You may meet me with my satchel at my back; not with a shining, but a whindling, lackadai sy, green­sickness face; blubbering a month's sorrow, after having been flogged by my master, beaten by my chum, and drop­ped my plum cake in the kennel.

'Tis very true, and I cut a damned ridiculous figure! But I'll remember it. The time will come, or say my name is not Clifton.

Yet what am I to do? I am in for it, flounder how I will. Yes, yes! She has [Page 171] hooked me! She dangles me at the end of her line, up the stream and down the stream, fair water and foul, at her good pleasure! So be it. But I will not forget.

Then she has such a way of affront­ing, that curse me if she does not look as if she were doing me a favour: nay and, while she is present, I myself actu­ally think she is; and, if vexation did not come to my relief, I believe I should so continue to think. She is the most extraordinary of all heaven's creatures: and, in despite of my railing, I cannot help declaring a most heavenly creature she is! Every body declares the same. I wish you could but see her; for a single moment, Fairfax; and, having gazed, could you but listen!—Her very soul is music. Form, features, [Page 172] voice, all are harmony. Then were you to hear her sing, and play—

But why the devil does she treat me thus? It is something to which I am un­accustomed, and it does not sit easily upon me. If I tamely submit to it may I—! I lie, in my teeth! Submit I must, bounce how I will. I have no re­medy—

She gives me the preference, 'tis true. But what sort of a preference? Why a cold, scrutinizing, very considerative, all wisdom and no passion preference. I do not think there is, upon the face of the whole earth, so nauseous a thing as an over dose of wisdom; mixed up, ac­cording to the modern practice, with a quantum sufficit of virtue, and a large double handful of the good of the whole. [Page 173] Yet this is the very dose she prescribes for me! Ay, and I must be obliged to swallow it too, let me make what wry faces I please, or my very prudent lady is not so deeply in love but she can re­cede! And shall I not note down this in my tablets?—

I was sufficiently piqued at the first delay. Why delay, when I offer? Would you have thought, Fairfax, I should have been so very ready with a tender of this my pleasant person, and my dear freedom? And could you moreover have thought it would have been so haughtily rejected?—No—Curse it! Let me do her justice, too. It is not haughtily. She puts as many smiles, and as much sweetness, and plausibility, [Page 174] into her refusal as heart could desire. But refusal it is, nevertheless.

I must be further just to her: I must own that I have acted like a lunatic—I am mad at the recollection!—

I told you of the young fellow—Frank Henley—Whom I talked of chas­tising. Curse on my petulance! He has doubly chastised me since! He has had his full revenge! And in such a generous, noble manner—I am ashamed of myself—He has saved my life, and damn me if I do not feel as if I could never forgive him. There was an end of me and my passions. What business had he to interfere?—He did it too in such an extraordinary style! He appears to have risked more, laboured more, [Page 175] performed more for me than man almost ever did for his dearest and sworn friend.

Mine was an act of such ridiculous phrensy that I am half ashamed to tell what it was. I jumped headlong down a declivity, because I knew I was a good swimmer, into a lake; but, like a block-head, never perceived that I should get stunned by the shelving of the rock, and consequently drowned. And for what, truly? Why to prove to a vapouring, crack-brained French Count, that he was a coward; because perhaps he had not learned to swim! When I look back I have absolutely no patience with my­self!—

And then this generous Frank Hen­ley!—After a still more seemingly de­sperate leap than mine, and bringing me [Page 176] out of the water, dead as a door nail, two hours did he incessantly labour to re­store me to life! I, who a few hours be­fore had struck him! And here do I live to relate all this!

I think I could have forgiven him any thing sooner than this triumph over me. Yet he claims and forces my admiration. I must own he is a dauntless fellow—Yes, he has a heart—! Damn him! I could kiss him one minute and kill him the next!

He has been the hero of the women ever since. But they are safe enough, for him. He has principles! He is a man of virtue, forsooth! He is not the naughty cat that steals the cream! Let him be virtuous. Let him lave in his own imaginary waters of purity; but do [Page 177] not let him offend others, every mo­ment, by jumping out and calling—"Here! Look at me! How white and spotless I am!"

As I tell you, the women are bewitch­ed to him; are all in love with him! My sister, Louisa, does not scruple to tell him so, in her letter! But she is one of these high-flyers. Nor can I for the soul of me persuade myself that, family pride excepted, she—ay, she herself, my she, would not prefer him to me. But these gentry are all so intolerably pru­dent that, talk to them of passions, and they answer they must not have any. Oh, no! They are above such mundane weakness!

As for him, he sits in as much stern state as the Old Red Lion of Brentford. [Page 178] Yes, he is my Lord Chief Justice Never­grin! He cannot qualify, he! He is prime tinker to Madam Virtue, and car­ries no softening epithets in his budget. Folly is folly, and vice vice in his Good Friday vocabulary—Titles too are gilt gingerbread, dutch dolls, punch's puppet show. A duke or a scavenger with him are exactly the same—Saving and excepting the afore­said exceptions, of wisdom, virtue, and the good of the whole!

Did you never observe, Fairfax, how these fellows of obscure birth labour to pull down rank, and reduce all to their own level?

Not but it is cursed provoking to be obliged to own that a title is no sufficient passport for so much as common sense. [Page 179] I sincerely think there is not so foolish a fellow in the three kingdoms, as the no­ble blockhead to whom I have the ho­nour to be related, Lord Evelyn: and, while I have tickled my fancy with the recollection of my own high descent, curse me if I have not blushed to ac­knowledge him, who is the head and re­presentative of the race, as my kinsman! I own however he has been of some ser­vice to me in the present affair; for by his medium I have been introduced to the uncle of my deity, Lord Fitz-Allen, who has considerable influence in the family, and the very essence of whose character is pride. He is proud of him­self, proud of his family, proud of his ti­tles, proud of his gout, proud of his cat, proud of whatever can be called his; by [Page 180] which appellation in his opinion his very coach-horses are dignified. I happen to please him, not by any qualities of mind or person, of which he is tolerably insen­sible, but because there is a possibility that I may one day be a peer of the realm, if my booby relations will but be so indulgent as to die fast enough.

Once more to these catechumenical in­spectors of morality, these self-appointed overseers of the conscioence.

I do not deny that there is some nay much truth in the doctrines they preach to me. But I hate preaching! I have not time to be wisdom crammed. What concern is it of mine? What have I to do with the world, be it wrong or right, wise or foolish? Let it laugh or cry, kiss or curse, as it pleases! Like the Irish­man [Page 181] in the sinking ship, "'Tis nothing to me, I am but a passenger."

But, notwithstanding these airs, I have my lesson set me. Ay and I must con it too; must say it off by rote; no par­rot better!

There is no resisting one's destiny; and to be her slave is preferable to reign­ing over worlds! You have, for you can have, no conception of her and her omnipotence! She is so unlike every other woman on earth! I wonder while I hear her, am attentive, nay am con­vinced! What is most strange, though the divinest creature that ever the hand of Heaven fashioned, the moment she begins to speak you forget that she is beautiful!

[Page 182] But she should not hesitate, when I offer. No—She should beware of that! At least to any other woman the world contains, it would have been dangerous; and I am not sure that even she is safe.

However, I must learn to parse my lesson, for the present, and be quiet. Yes, yes; she shall find me very com­plaisant. I must be so, for live without her I cannot. She must she shall be mine. It is a prize which I am born to bear away from all competitors. This is what flatters and consoles me.

You, Fairfax, think yourself more in luck. You continue to range at large. You scorn to wear the chain to-day which you cannot shake off laughingly to-morrow—Well I envy you not—When [Page 183] you see her, if you do not envy me may I be impaled and left to roast in the sun, a banquet for the crows.

Good night.

C. CLIFTON.

LETTER LV.
FRANK HENLEY TO OLIVER TRENCHARD.

SOME events have happened, since I wrote to thee, on which I meant to have been silent, till we had met; but I want thy advice on a new incident, and must therefore briefly relate what has passed. I have had an opportunity of appeasing that hungry vanity, which is [Page 185] continually craving after unwholesome food. I have proved to Clifton that it was not fear which-made me submit to obloquy, which in his opinion could only be washed away in blood. I have been instrumental in saving his life.

There is a half lunatic count, who was a visitor at the Chateau, and who is enamoured of her whom all are obliged to love and admire. I know not whe­ther it be their climate, their food, their wine, or these several causes combining and strengthened by habit, or whether it be habit and education only which give the natives of the south of France so much apparently constitutional ar­dour; but such the fact appears to be. This count is one of the most extrava­gant of all the hot-brained race I have [Page 186] mentioned. He indulges and feeds his flighty fancy by reading books of chi­valry, and admiring the most romantic of the imaginary feats of knight-errantry.

The too haughty Clifton, angry that he should dare to address her to whom he openly paid his court, fell into habi­tual contests with him, daring him to shew who could be most desperate, and at last gave a tolerably strong proof that, though he has an infinitely more con­sistent mind, he can be at moments more mad than the count himself. He leaped down a rock into a lake, where it is pro­bable he must have perished, but for me.

One would have imagined that what followed would have cooled even a Mar­seillian fever of such phrensy. But no: [Page 187] the count has been brooding over the recollection, till he had persuaded himself he was a dishonoured man, and must find some means to do away the disgrace. I thought him gone to Fontainebleau; but instead of that he has just been here. He came and inquired of the servants for the monsieur who had taken the fa­mous leap; cursing all English names, as too barbarous to be understood by a de­licate Provençal ear, and wholly inca­pable of being remembered. The ser­vants, thinking he meant me, for I was obliged to leap too, introduced him to my apartment.

Luckily Clifton was out for the day. She and Sir Arthur were with him. I am hourly put to the trial, Oliver, [Page 188] of seeing him preferred—But—Pshaw—

After a torrent of crazy compliments from the count, who professes to admire me, I learned at last it was Clifton and not me he wanted; and I also learned in part what was the purport of his errand. His mind was too full not to overflow. Knowing how hot, unruly, and on such subjects irrational, the spirits were that were in danger of encountering, I was immediately alarmed. The most effec­tual expedient I could conceive to pre­vent mischief was to shew its actual ab­surdity. I saw no better way than that of making it appear, as it really was, its tragical consequences excepted, ludi­crous. But the difficulty was to give it [Page 189] the colouring which should produce that effect on a mind so distorted.

Mort de ma vie! said the count, I shall never pardon myself for having lost so fine an opportunity! I am not so heavy as he. I should not have been hurt by the fall. I should have saved the life of my rival, and been admired by the whole world! My triumph would have been complete! Every gazette in Eu­rope would have trumpeted the exploit; and the family of Beaunoir would have been rendered famous, by me, to all eternity! No! I never shall forgive myself!

I think, sir, you ought rather to be angry with me than with Mr. Clifton.

Parbleu! I have been thinking of that. Why did you prevent me? The thought [Page 190] could not long have escaped me, if you had not been in such devilish haste!

True. The only danger was that, while you were waiting for the thought, the gentleman might have been drowned.

Diable m'emporte! I had forgotten that. Well then, I must have satisfaction of Monsieur Calif—Morbleu!—What is the gentleman's name?

[I wish I could confide enough in my French to write the dialogue in the lan­guage in which it passed; but I must not attempt it. The ideas however are tolerably strong in my memory, and they must suffice.]

Clifton.

Oui da—Califton—Monsieur Califton must give me satisfaction for the sanglante affront I have received.

[Page 191] But I cannot conceive, sir, how any man's thinking proper to kill himself can be an affront to another.

Comment, Monsieur? Peste! But it is, if he kill himself to prove me a coward!

Then, sir, I am afraid there is not a madman in Bedlam who does not daily affront the whole world.

How so, sir?

By doing something which no man in his senses dare imitate.

Nom d'un Dieu! Monsieur, I am a man of honour! The family of Beaunoir is re­nowned for its noble feats, it shall not be disgraced by me. I have been defied, and I will have satisfaction.

But you were not defied to sword, or pistol. You were defied to leap.

[Page 192] Well, sir?

And before, as a man of honour, you can have any right to give a second challenge, you must answer the first.

Is that your opinion, sir?

Nay, I appeal to yourself.

Allons!—If so, I must leap! Will you do me the favour to accompany me? I will order post-horses instantly. You shall be my witness that I perform the first condition.

Can you swim?

Ventrebleu! What a question! I am not heavy enough to sink. Besides, sir, I was born at Marseilles.—Yes, we will go together; you shall see me make the leap; after which I may then return and publish my defiance to the whole uni­verse.

[Page 193] No, sir! If you leap you will never publish your defiance!

How so?

You will be killed! The whole uni­verse could not save you!

Comment, diable! Look at me! Look at Monsieur Calif! I am as light as—! Peste!

Yes; but you are not so strong as he: you cannot leap so far. His effort was prodigious! I have examined the place: and, had he fallen half a foot short of where he did, he must have been dashed to pieces.

Fer et feu!—In that case, I must die!—Yes, I must die! There is no re­medy! I must not dishonour my fa­mily! No man on earth must brave the Count de Beaunoir! I must die!

[Page 194] And be laughed at?

Laugh, sir! Mort de ma vie! Who will dare to laugh?

When you are dead, of what should they be afraid?

Morbleu! That's true.

He would be a rash fool who should dare to laugh at you while you are living.

Foi d'un honnête homme, monsieur, you are a man of honour: a gentleman. You are brave yourself, and know how to honour brave men, and I esteem you.

Sir, if you really esteem me—

Ventrebleu! Sir, I esteem you more than any man on earth! Command my purse, my sword! I would serve you at the hazard of my life!

Then let me prevail on you, sir, to [Page 195] consider well what I say. I solemnly as­sure you, I would not advise you to any thing which I would not do myself.

Pardieu! Monsieur, I am sure you would not. You have too much ho­nour.

I have too much regard to truth.

C'est la même chose *

Men honour themselves most by op­posing, nay by acting in the very teeth of the prejudices of mankind; and he is the bravest man who opposes them the oftenest. The world makes laws, and afterward laughs at or despises those by whom they are obeyed. He proves the nobleness of his nature best who acts with most wisdom. Recollect the mad­ness [Page 196] with which Mr. Clifton acted, how much he was blamed by every body, and imagine to yourself the temper of your own countrymen; then ask whether you would not be laughed at, instead of applauded and admired, were you so madly to throw away a life which you ought to dedicate to your country. The Parisians would write epigrams, and songs, and sing them in every street, on the nobleman who, instead of living to fight the battles of his country, should toss himself like a lunatic down a rock, and dash out his brains.

Que Dieu me damne, monsieur, but you are in the right! Yes! I am a soldier! My country claims my sword! I hear we are soon to have a war with England; and then—! Gardez-vous bien, Mes­sieurs [Page 197] les Anglois *!—Where is Mon­sieur Calif—?

Mr. Clifton will not be at home to­day.

Well, sir, be so kind as to present my compliments to him, and tell him I would certainly have run him through the body, if you had not done me the ho­nour to say all that you have said to me. I have appointed to set off for Fontaine­bleau tomorrow morning; but I intend to visit England: we may have the good fortune hereafter to meet, and then we will come to an explanation.

After a thousand whimsical, half crazy but well meaning, and I believe very sincere compliments, and offers of [Page 198] service, he left me; and I hope the dan­ger is over.

But as I told thee, Oliver, the chief purpose of my writing is to ask thy ad­vice. Principle, as thou well knowest, is too severe to admit of falsehood; direct, or indirect. To mention this dialogue to Clifton might be dangerous. It ought not to be, I grant, but still it might. One would imagine that, in­stead of feeling anger, he must laugh, were he told of what has passed: but there is no certainty. And is not silence indirect falsehood? The count has been here; his errand was to Clifton. Ought he not to be told of it, and suf­fered to judge for himself? And is not concealment an indirect falsehood? To me it appears the contrary. He is full [Page 199] as likely to take the wrong as the right side of the question. I see a possibility of harm, but no injury that can be done by silence. Nor do I myself perceive how it can be classed among untruths. Still the doubt has occurred to my mind, and I have not hitherto answered it to my own satisfaction.

I forgot to tell thee with what ardour the count declared himself an admirer of her who is most admirable; and the ro­mantic but very serious effervescence with which he called himself her cham­pion; one who had devoted himself to maintain her superiority over her whole sex, which he would die affirming; and to revenge her wrongs, if ever mortal should be daring or guilty enough to do her injustice. But as I tell thee he [Page 200] is an eccentric and undefinable cha­racter.

I have lately received a letter from my father, from which I find he has been led, by I know not what mistake, to conclude that Sir Arthur thinks of me for his son-in-law. His letter, as usual, is a strange one; and such as I be­lieve no man on earth but himself could write.

Direct thy next to me in Grosvenor Street; for we shall be on our return, before I shall receive an answer.

Farewell.

F. HENLEY.

LETTER LVI.
ANNA WENBOURNE ST. IVES TO LOUISA CLIFTON.

WHAT strange perversity of acci­dents is it, Louisa, that has made me most deeply indebted to that man, above all others on the face of the earth, who thinks I have treated him unjustly? We are under fresh obligations, nay in [Page 202] all probability we again owe our lives to Frank Henley.

We left Paris on Sunday last; and, after waiting a day and a night for a fair wind at Calais, we embarked on board the packet-boat; the wind still continu­ing unfavourable, though it had changed a little for the better. The channel was very rough, and the water ran high, when we went on board. Sir Arthur would willingly have retreated; but Clifton was too impatient, and prevailed on him to venture.

Before we had reached the middle of the channel, Laura, Sir Arthur, and soon afterward I, were very sea-sick. It is a most disagreeable sensation when vi­olent, and would certainly be more ef­fectual [Page 203] in rendering a coward fearless of death than the dying sentiments of Se­neca, or Socrates himself.

The wind increased, and the captain laboured several hours, but in vain, to make the port of Dover. He at last told us we were too late for the tide, and that the current set against us, and must drive us down to Deal. We proceeded accordingly, and it was dark before we came within sight of the town of Deal; where the captain, in the sea phrase, was obliged to come to an anchor.

The Deal boatmen, who are always on the watch, and are the most noted as we are told on the whole coast for their ex­tortion, soon came up to the ship, invit­ing us to be put on shore, but refusing to take us for less than ten guineas. [Page 204] Frank and Sir Arthur were desirous that we should not be imposed upon; but Clifton pleaded my sea sickness, and would not listen to any proposal of delay. He is very peremptory, when his pas­sions are excited; and especially when he conceives, as he then did, that reason is on his side. There were three boats; but they had agreed among themselves, and two of them kept aloof. This we are told is their common practice, that they may not spoil their market by com­petitorship.

We were not above a mile from shore: Clifton however agreed to their extrava­gant demand, and we went into the boat.

We had not been there many minutes before we perceived that the five boat­men, [Page 205] who managed it, were all in li­quor, especially he who seemed to be their head man; and that we were much more at the mercy of winds and waves, in our present than in our former situa­tion. Clifton and Frank endeavoured to make them attentive, by reproving them; and probably did some good; though the answers they received, in the rugged vulgar idiom of the sea, were not very conciliatory. We were much tossed by the roughness of the water, but made however toward the shore, though evi­dently in an awkward and dangerous way.

Most part of the beach, at Deal, is ex­cessively steep; and, when the weather is stormy, the waves break against it very abruptly, and dangerously to boats which [Page 206] are managed by men that are either ig­norant or have drunken away their senses. When the boat approached the beach, the man at the helm, being stu­pid and it being dark, did not do his duty, and the side of the boat was dashed against the beach. The shock almost overset the boat, and it was half filled by the wave which broke over it. The wa­ter is always a fickle and perilous ele­ment; but in an agitated sea, when the winds howl and the waves roar, foam, dash, retreat, and return with additional threats and raging, it is then truly terri­fic! I shall never forget that night! I think on it even now with horror! One of those poor drunken creatures, Lou­isa, was in an instant washed overboard and lost; almost without a cry; not [Page 207] heard, not aided, scarcely remarked; no attempt made to save him, for all at­tempt was absolutely impossible: we were within a few yards of land, yet were ourselves almost certain of perish­ing. The remaining men were little better than helpless; for it was the most active of them who was thus miserably drowned!—Indeed, Louisa, it was dread­ful!

The reflux of the water was in half a minute likely to be equally violent. Frank, whose presence of mind never forsakes him, saw what the nature of our danger was; and, shaking off poor Laura, who clung round him, begging of him for God's sake to save her pre­cious life, he flew to the helm, turned the [Page 208] head of the boat in its proper direction, and called with that imperious kind of voice which on such occasions enforces obedience, for somebody to come to the helm. Clifton was there in an instant. Keep it, said Frank, in this position.

Every motion was necessarily rapid. Frank was immediately out of the boat, and almost up to the shoulders in the sea. He caught hold of the side of the boat, retreated a step or two, set his feet against the steep beach, and steadied it, to resist the returning wave. It had no sooner retreated than he called to me, took me in his arms, and in a moment I found myself in safety on shore!

He returned and brought my father next!

[Page 209] Poor Laura shrieked, with fear and impatience! She was the third whom he landed.

He then ordered the boatmen to take care of themselves; and, drunk and re­fractory though they were, they did not neglect to obey the mandate. After which Clifton, leaving the helm, jumped into the water, the servants having gone before, and we all found ourselves safe, after some of us had concluded we were lost beyond redemption.

Our peril appears to have been wholly owing to the inebriety of the boatmen; for, had they been able to do their duty, there would have been none, or certainly very little: and it was averted by the active and penetrating mind of Frank, which seems as if it were most accurate [Page 210] and determined, in its conclusions and expedients, in proportion to the greatness of the danger, when common minds would be wholly confused and impotent.

Clifton, though he did not so imme­diately perceive what was best to be done, saw the propriety of it when doing, and immediately assented, and aided, by keeping the boat in the position Frank directed, almost as essentially as his co­adjutor. I am more and more con­vinced it is accident only that has kept him from possessing one of the most en­larged of human understandings. But I must likewise allow that this said accident has rendered him petulant, impatient of contradiction, too precipitate to be al­ways aware of mistake, and too positive to be easily governed. But these are [Page 211] habitual errors, which time and care will cure.

I must add too that his affection for me displays itself in a thousand various forms. He is apparently never satisfied, except when it is exercised to give or procure me pleasure. I know not whe­ther the passion, which infuses itself into all his words and actions that relate to me, ought to inspire all that sympathetic sensibility which he intends; but I own it sometimes alarms me. His ardour is astonishing. He seems to wish, and even to design, to make it irresistible. Yet it is mingled with such excess of tenderness that I have half lost the power of repressing it.

But I must not, no, I will not, stand in awe of his impetuosity. Ardour is a [Page 212] noble quality, and my study shall be how to turn it to his advantage. The more I look round me the more I perceive that fear enfeebles, withers, and con­sumes the powers of mind. Those who would nobly do must nobly dare. Rash people, perhaps, are those who feel the truth of this principle so strongly that they forget it is necessary not only to dare, but to discover the best method of daring.

Clifton now avoids argument, and ap­pears systematically determined to be of my opinion; or rather to say as I say. The only opposition he affords is now and then a witty, sarcastic, or humorous reply. But he is generally successful in his continual attempts to give the con­versation a new turn, when his favourite opinions are opposed: for I do not think [Page 213] it wise to obtrude too many painful con­tradictions upon him at a time. Truth must be progressive. Like a flash of lightning, it stuns or kills by excess.

Clifton will not long suffer me to rest, now we are returned; and consequently my dear Louisa may soon expect another letter from her most affectionate

A. W. ST. IVES.

LETTER LVII.
FRANK HENLEY TO OLIVER TRENCHARD.

WE have now been in London four days, Oliver; and, known places reviv­ing old ideas, it almost seems as if we had never moved from the spot where we are at present. I fall into the same trains of thinking; except that I am more restless, more inclined to melan­choly, [Page 215] to inaction, to a kind of inanity, which no trifling efforts can shake off.

I have received thy letter, and find thy reasoning in some respects similar to my own. I was ashamed of remaining in doubt, on a question which only re­quired a little extraordinary activity of mind to resolve. It appears to me that nothing can be classed among falsehoods, except those things the tendency of which is to generate falsehood, or mis­take. Consequently, not to tell what has passed to Clifton is acting according to the dictates of truth: for, to tell would be to run an imminent danger of false conclusions. Not, it is true, if the whole could be told: that is, if all possi­ble reasonings, and consequences, could be fairly recollected, and stated. But [Page 216] memory is first to be feared; and still more that prejudice which will not have the patience to lend mute attention. I therefore think, with thee, that silence in this case is truth.

We have been in some danger, owing to the drunkenness of the Deal boatmen; but saved ourselves by a little exertion. One of the poor inebriated wretches how­ever was lost. We saw him only the in­stant of his being washed overboard; and he was hurried away into the sea by the recoiling waves, in the roaring of which his last cry was overpowered, without our being able so much as to at­tempt to give him aid! By which thou mayest judge that we ourselves were in considerable jeopardy.

When we reflect how near danger is [Page 217] [...] [Page 214] [...] [Page 215] [...] [Page 216] [...] [Page 217] to us, daily and hourly through life, we are apt to wonder that we so continually escape. But, when we again consider how easily even great dangers, that is such as take us by surprise, may be warded off, the wonder ceases.

My mind, Oliver, is not at ease: it is too much haunted by fear. At least I hope it is; for my fears are for one whom it is almost torture to suppose in peril. Thou never knewest so enter­prising, so encroaching a youth as this Clifton! Nay I am deceived if encroach­ment be not reduced to system with him; and, strong as her powers are, impossible as I know it to be to shake her princi­ples, yet, who can say what may happen, in a moment of forgetfulness, or mis­take, [Page 218] to a heart so pure, so void of guile?

Such terrors are ridiculous, perhaps thou wilt say; and perhaps they are; at least I most devoutly hope they are. But his temperament is sanguine, his wishes restless, ungovernable, and I al­most fear ominous, and his passion for her is already far beyond the controul of reason, to which indeed he thinks it ought not to be nor can be subject.

As for me, all is ended. Jealous I must not, no, I will not be! And surely I am above the meanness of envy. Yet I own, Oliver, I sometimes blame her. I think her too precipitate, too fearless, nay too ready to imagine her power, her wondrous power, greater than it is.

[Page 219] She makes no secret of her thoughts, and she tells me that she and I, she doubts not, shall transform him to all that we ourselves could desire. Be not sur­prised at her kindness to me; for she has a heart that is all benevolence, all friendship, all affection. If I can aid her, thou needest not doubt my will. But Heaven grant she may not be mis­taken!—Heaven grant it!

And yet, I cannot say. I even some­times hope and acquiesce; for his talents are indeed extraordinary. But his pride, and the pitiless revenge which he shews a constant propensity to take, when of­fended, are dangerous symptoms.

For her, she seems to act from motives wholly different from those of her age [Page 220] and sex. It is not passion, not love, such as it is usually felt and expressed; it is a sense of duty, friendship for Louisa, ad­miration of great talents, an ardent de­sire to give those talents their full value, and the dignified pride she takes in re­storing such a mind to its proper rank. By these she is actuated, as all her words and actions demonstrate.

Well, well, Oliver! She soars a flight that is more than mortal! But she leaves a luminous track, that guides and in­vites, and I will attempt to follow. Thou shalt see me rise above the poor slavish wishes that would chain me to earth!—

Oliver, my mind, like a bow continu­ally bent, is too much upon the stretch. Such is the effect of my situation, of [Page 221] which my thoughts, my language, and my actions partake. But I will calm this agitation. Fear not: thou shalt find me worthy to be thy friend, and the pupil of thy most excellent father.

No! I will not, Oliver, be a child; though the contest be indeed severe. By day I am with her; for hours I listen, while she sings, or plays, or speaks. I am a witness of her actions! Her form is never absent from me! The sound of her voice is unceasing har­mony to my ears! At night, retiring to darkness and thought, I pass her cham­ber door! In the morning again I be­hold the place where all that is heavenly rests! I endeavour after apathy. I la­bour to be senseless, stupid, an idiot! I [Page 222] strain to be dead to supreme excellence! But it is the stone of Sisyphus, and I am condemned to eter—!

Indeed, Oliver, this weakness is mo­mentary! Indeed it is—Fear not: thou shalt find me a man; be assured thou shalt. Though the furies, or, worse than all that invention can feign, the passions throng to assault me, I will neither fly nor yield. For to do either would be to desert myself, my princi­ples, my duties.

Yet this encroaching spirit that I told thee of?—But then, what is the strength of him, compared to hers? What is there to fear? What do I fear? Why [Page 223] create horrible shadows, purposely to encounter them?—No: it cannot be!

Farewell.
F. HENLEY.

LETTER LVIII.
ANNA WENBOURNE ST. IVES TO LOUISA CLIFTON.

YOUR brother has gained his point. The deed is done. My consent is given. For, in reality, to have with­held it would have had more the appear­ance of a coquette than of the friend of my Louisa. After sufficiently strong hints in the course of the two first days, [Page 225] on the third after our arrival, Clifton came. His intention was evidently to take no denial. It was with difficulty that I could bring him to listen, for a few minutes, while I repeated principles before declared, and required an avowal of how far he thought them an impedi­ment to future happiness. To every thing I could ask he was ready to ac­cede. ‘He had nothing to contend, nothing to contradict; and, if he did not think exactly like me in every particular, he was determined not to think at all, till he could. Beside, my own conclusions, in favour of truth, were my safeguard. I had not any doubt that reason, if attended to, must finally prevail; and I could not deny that he was at all times ready to pay the strictest attention.’

[Page 226] Indeed he seemed at first resolved, as it were, not to enter into any conversa­tion, but to claim my promise. But I was still more determined to exert my­self; that the due influence which rea­son ought always to have, over passion, might not be lost, and sink into habitual and timid concession. When he per­ceived there was no resisting, he then listened with a tolerably good grace; but still, as I said, with an apparently pre­concerted plan not to contend; urging, and indeed truly, that fair arguments could desire nothing more than patient hearing; and this he pledged, in his energetic and half wild manner, honour, body, and soul to give. I could not de­sire more sincere asseverations than he made; and that they were sincere I cannot doubt. Nor do I regret that they [Page 227] were strong. Where there is energy there is the material of which mind is fashioned: and the fault must be mine, if the work be incomplete. Our con­versation however was long; and when at last obliged to enter into the subject, the acuteness and depth of his remarks were strong proof of his powers, had any proof been wanting—Yes, Louisa, the attempt must be made. It is a high and indispensable duty; and I must neither be deterred by the dread of dan­ger, nor swayed by the too seducing emo­tions of the heart—They must be si­lenced!—They must!

I have an assistant worthy of the cause. Frank does not shrink from the task: though it is but too evident that he has not changed his opinion! I know not why, but so it is, those two particular [Page 228] sentences continually reverberate in my ear—I feel a certainty of conviction, that you act from mistaken principles—To the end of time I shall persist in thinking you mine by right!—Oh, Louisa!

Sir Arthur of course made no difficulty in giving his consent; and I imagine Mrs. Clifton will this post receive a let­ter from her son, and perhaps another from my father, requiring her acquies­cence.

Sir Arthur has shewn me one of the most strange, eccentric, and perhaps co­mic letters, from honest Aby, that I think I ever read. I am glad it is not quite so intelligible to Sir Arthur as it is to me; for I see no good that could result, were he to understand its true sense. The old—! I can find no epithet for him that pleases me—Well then—Honest [Page 229] Aby is excessively anxious that I should marry a son of whom he is so unworthy. But his motives are so mean, so whimsi­cal, and so oddly compounded and de­scribed, peering as it were through the mask of cunning, with which he awk­wardly endeavours to conceal them, that nothing but reading his letter can give you an idea of its characteristic humour. This post I suppose will likewise shew him his mistake. How he will receive the news I know not; though I suspect he will raise obstacles, concerning the money which Sir Arthur wants, in order to pay my portion. But this will soon be seen.

I likewise learn, from his letter, that my brother is to join in docking the en­tail of the hereditary estate; and that he is willing, provided he may share the [Page 230] spoil. How would my heart bleed, were I not cured of that prejudice which makes happiness consist in the personal possession of wealth! But the system of tyranny would be more firm and durable even than it is, did not this mutation of property daily exist; and were not the old and honourable families, as they call themselves, brought to ruin by their foolish and truly dishonourable descen­dants.

Every thing confirms me in the suspi­cion that honest Aby has been playing a deep game; and that both Sir Arthur and my brother have ceded to all the ex­tortions of craft and usury, to have their whims and extravagancies supplied.

My brother persuades himself that he is determined never to marry; and I suppose has formed this determination [Page 231] purposely that he may spend all he can obtain, without being teased by any qualms of conscience. For the destruc­tive system of individual property in­volves a thousand absurdities; and the proud but inane successor of a Sydney or a Verulam, instead of knowing how difficult the subject of identity itself is, instead of perceiving that man is nothing but a continuity, or succession, of single thoughts, and is therefore in reality no more than the thought of the moment, believes there is a stable and indubitable affinity between him and his great an­cestor.

I must now be more than ever deter­mined to accomplish the task I have un­dertaken; and to give to the arms of my best, my dearest Louisa, a brother worthy of a heart so pure, and a sister [Page 232] such as she herself could wish to be that brother's other half—Very true, Lou­isa! It is the old story: I am Sir Ar­thur's vapouring hussey! But I comfort myself with reflecting that, after the bat­tle is won, the rashness of the attack is never remembered; or, if it be, it is al­ways applauded; and that all generals, great or small, confide in their own plans, till defeat has proved them to be abor­tive. Something must be ventured, ere any thing can be won.

Not knowing what might be the no­tions of Sir Arthur, or even of Mrs. Clifton, concerning the silence they might think it necessary to keep, I for­bore to mention their plan, of which my friend, with her consistent frankness, in­formed me, till our last conference: but I then thought it an indispensable duty [Page 233] to relate the truth; otherwise it might have come, at some unlucky moment, in the disguise of falsehood, and have done mischief. Secrets are indeed ab­solutely contrary to my system. 'Tis pride or false shame that puts blinds to the windows either of the house or of the mind. Let the whole world look in, and see what is doing; that if any thing be wrong, it may have an opportunity to reprove; and whatever is right there is some hope it may imitate. Clifton was pleased to find himself treated with un­disguised sincerity. Yes, Louisa, fear not: you will find him your brother, in virtue as well as in blood.

Ever and ever most affectionately, A. W. ST. IVES.

LETTER LIX.
SIR ARTHUR ST. IVES TO THE HONOURABLE MRS. CLIFTON.

DEAR MADAM,

OUR plan has succeeded to our wish: Mr. Clifton is as I may say quite smitten with my daughter. And indeed I do not wonder at it; for, though she is my child, I must say, she is the sweetest, most charming, lovely girl I [Page 235] ever beheld! She has always been my darling! I have a true fatherly fondness for her; and, though I own it will not be very convenient to me, I mean imme­diately to raise twenty thousand pounds, to pay down as her portion. If at my death I should have the power to do more, she shall not be forgotten: but I promise nothing.

As I remember, dear madam, this was the sum which you said was necessary, to redeem certain mortgages, pay off en­cumbrances, and enable Mr. Clifton to appear in England, in a manner be­coming the heir of the Clifton family. And this sum I think it very fit the daughter of Sir Arthur St. Ives should receive. I shall accordingly write to my agent, and put every thing immediately [Page 236] in train; after which, you shall hear from me without delay.

If any alteration should have happen­ed in your own views, or affairs, which may impede or forward our plan, you will be kind enough to inform me.

I am, madam, with the truest respect, your very obedient humble servant, A. ST. IVES.

LETTER LX.
COKE CLIFTON TO THE HONOURABLE MRS. CLIFTON.

I WRITE to you, dear and honoured madam, with a grateful and happy heart, to thank you for a project so maternally and wisely conceived in my favour, and of which I have just been informed, by the frank-hearted and lovely Anna St. Ives. Of all the blessings for which, [Page 238] madam, I hold myself indebted to you, this last, of discovering and endeavouring to secure for your thankful son a gem so precious, a lady so above all praise, I esteem to be the greatest.

You, dear madam, are acquainted with the propriety with which she thinks and acts, on every occasion; and I have no doubt will join with me, in applauding the entire undisguisedness of relating all that had passed, which appeared to her delicate mind at this moment to be ab­solutely necessary.

After obtaining her consent for that purpose, I have spoken to Sir Arthur; who, at my request, has promised imme­diately to write to you. And, it being a project, dear madam, a kind one, of your own forming, I have no fear that it should [Page 239] be discountenanced by you. My only doubt is of delay. Let me entreat you, my dear mother, to remove all impedi­ments with every possible speed; and not to lose a moment in writing to me, as soon as you and Sir Arthur have arranged the business, that I may solicit her, from whom I am certain to receive all possible bliss, to name a time, when suspense shall joyfully end.

Do not, dear madam, let impatience seem a fault in me. Remember the lady; who she is, and all she is; and think, if her perfections could make the impres­sion which they seem to have done upon your heart, what must they have made upon mine! I, who, with all the fire of youth and constitutional eagerness, in [Page 240] consequence of your own wise plan, am become a wishing and expecting lover!

My sister, I am sure, is too generous, the happiness of her friend and brother being pledged, not to join me in the re­quest I now make: and I certainly will not forget a kindness which, I acknow­ledge, I know not how I shall ever repay.

I am, dear madam, your ever affec­tionate and dutiful son,
C. CLIFTON.
END OF VOLUME III.

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