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shew you what his letter further contains.'-He then produced bills of exchange which the old Count had remitted for very considerable sums.—. The purpose of this remittance,' says he, “is to purchase a set of jewels, in addition to the family stock, of a newer fashion, with a recommendation to bestow them upon some English woman, if I should be happy enough to engage the affe&tion of such an one in this kingdom, and behold how the descrip. tion of my father's wish tallies with the adorable person, who has now honoured me with her hand !
He then read the following paragraph from his father's letter, translating it as he went on- If you should chuse a wife in England (which I know it is your wish to do), I charge you to be as attentive to the charms of her mind, as to those of her person : Let her temper be sweet, her manners elegant, her nature modest, and her wit brilliant but not satirical ; above all things, chuse no woman who has not a sensibility of soul, in which the delicacy of the sex consists. If you are fortunate enough to match with such an one, bring your spouse to Strasbourg, and I will jointure her in my rich ba. rony of Lavasques ; in the mean time, I remit you the inclosed bills for five thousand pounds sterling, to lay out in such jewels and bijouterie, as befits a person of your rank and fortune to bestow upon the lady of your heart, in a country where those things are in perfection. As for the lady's fortune, I make no stipulations on that score; but it is an indispensable condition, that she be a woman well-born, thoroughly accomplished, and above all of the Protestant communion, according to the re. ligious principles of our noble house. When the Count had read this paragraph, turning to Melissa, he said — Behold the full completion of my father's model in this lovely person !
The union of this happy couple being thus de. cided upon, no time was to be lost in carrying it into effect, for the Count was hastening homewards, and Melissa had no objection to be before-hand with her sister: of her mother there was no doubt to be had, or if there was, her fortune was in her own power, and she of full age to chuse for herself. Secresy, however, was resolved upon for various reasons, and the joy of surprising Maria was not amongst the least. The uncle of Parthenissa, who was an attorney, was instructed to make a short deed, referring it to the old Count at Strasbourg to complete Melissa's settlement, when she arrived at that city; this worthy gentleman was accordingly let into the secret, and at the same time undertook to get the licence, and to prepare the parson of Me. Jissa's parish for the ceremony. The adjusting so many particulars drew the business into such length, that the evening was now far spent, and as Melissa was in the habit of sharing occasionally the bed of her beloved friend, she dispatched a messenger to her mother, signifying that she should sleep at Parthenissa's that night.
When this matter was settled, Parthenissa quitted the room to give her orders for supper, and the happy lovers were left to themselves for no inconsiderable time. The enamoured Count lost not a moment of this precious interval, and with the help of Dryden, Otway, and Rowe, kept up his rhap. sodies with great spirit: now it was that Love, which Melissa had so long kept at a distance, took full revenge, and like a griping creditor, exacted his arrears with ample interest from his vanquished debtor. When Parthenissa returned, she strove to make her presence as little interruption as possible to these tender endearments, by rallying Melissa on her prudery, and frequently reminding her, that
contracted lovers were in effect man and wife ; in short, nothing could be more considerate and ac. commodating than this amiable friend.
An elegant but small repast was now served, at which no domestic was admitted; the Count was in the happiest flow of spirits ; Melissa's heart could not resist the festivity of the moment, and all was love and gaiety, till night was far spent and the hour reminded them of separating. Parthenissa again retired to prepare her chamber, and Melissa was again left with her lover. How it came to pass that Parthenissa omitted so necessary a point of ceremony, as that of informing Melissa when her chamber was ready, I cannot pretend to account, but so it was, and that young lady, with a negligence, which friendship is sometimes apt to contract, re. tired to her repose, and never thought more of poor Melissa, who was left in a situation very new to her, to say no worse of it, but who had sweetness of temper nevertheless to let her friend off with a very gentle reproof, when after a long time past in expectation of her coming, she was at length obliged to submit to the impropriety of suffering Count Ranceval to conduct her to her bed-chamber door,
The next day produced the licence, and Melissa was, or appcared to be, as impatient to conclude the ceremony as Count Ranceval himself. This is to be imputed to the timid sensibility of her nature, which rather wished to precipitate an awful act, than to remain in terror and suspense. Awful as it was to Melissa, it was auspicious to the happy Count, for it put him in possession of his amiable bride. The mother was let into the secret, and with joy consented to give Melissa away, and receive Countess Ranceval in return. The matter passed in secret as to the neighbourhood, and Parthenissa's uncle, to accommodate the parties, sate up all night to com.
plete the deed, which gave the Count possession of the lady's fortune, and referred her for a settlement to be made at Strasbourg in the barony of Lavasques.
A very happy company were now assembled at dinner, consisting of the bride and bridegroom, Parthenissa, her uncle, and the old lady, when a coach and six drove to the door, and, as if fortune had de. termined to complete the domestic folicity of this family in the same moment, Maria, who was now Lady L , followed by her aunt and his lordship, ran into the room, and falling on her knee, asked a blessing of her mother, whilst Lord L- , presented himself as her son-in-law, having driven from the church-door to her house to pay his duty on this occasion, meaning to return directly, for which purpose the equipage was ordered to wait.
Whilst Maria approached to embrace Melissa, and to present to her a very fine bridal favour, embroidered with pearls, Count Ranceval whispered his lovely bride, that he must hastily retire, being suddenly seized with a violent attack of the tooth, ach ; being a perfect man of fashion, he contrived to retire without disturbing the company, and putting up his handkerchief to his face to prevent the cold air aflelling the part in pain, ran up to his Lady's bed-chamber, whilst Parthenissa and her uncle very considerately retired from a family party in which they were no longer interested.
Melissa received the bridal favour from Maria with a condescending inclination of her body, with. out rising from her seat. You must permit me, sister,' says she,' to transfer your present to the noble personage who has just left the room ; for having now the honour and happiness to share the name and title of Count Ranceval, I have no longer any separate property; neither can I with any be. coming decorum as Countess Ranceval, and a brido
myself, wear the pretty bauble you have given mc, and which I can assure you I will return with in. terest, as soon as I go to London, in my way to Strasbourg, where the Count's immense possessions principally lie.'
Good heavens ?' exclaimed Maria, 'how de. lighted am I to hear you have married a man of such rank and fortune! What a blessing to my mo. ther, to me, to my lord !'--So saying, she threw her arms round her neck and embraced her, she next embraced her mother, and turning to Lord Lsaid, "My lord, you will congratulate the Coun. tess.'- I hope so,' replied Lord
e very thing that contributes to the happiness of this house will be matter of congratulation for me ; but let me ask where Count Ranceval is ; I shall be proud to pay my compliments to him, and by the glimpse I had of his person, think I have had the honour of seeing him before.'-- Very likely,' answered Melissa, the Count has been some time in London.' - I think so,' said Lord L , but I am impa. tient to make my bow to him.'-. I hope he will soon come down,' replied Melissa, but he is sud. denly seized with a dreadful tooth-ach, and gone up stairs in great pain.'— Alas poor Count,' said Lord L- , o'tis a horrid agony, and what I am very subject to myself, but I have a nostrum in my pocket which is very safe, and never fails to give ease ; permit me, dear sister, to walk up stairs with you, and relieve the Count from his distress.'
So saying, he followed Melissa up stairs, and was accompanied by the whole party. Upon their en. tering the chamber, Count Ranceval made a slight bow to the company, and again put up his haud. kerchief to his face; as soon as Lord L- approached him, he said — I believe I can soon cure this gentleman.'—Whereupon, natchivg the hand.