صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

"If it were not confiftent with the ftricteft purity of character, I fhould answer no; but "when I reflect upon the innocence, the fim"plicity, the moral beauty of the choice you make, I then regard the duty you owe to "yourself as fuperior to all others, which are "falfely called natural; whereas, if you follow "this in preference, you obey nature herself: "If you were of an age too childish to be al"lowed to know what fuits you beft, or, if 66 being old enough to be intitled to a choice, you wanted wit to make one, there would be no doubt in the cafe; nay, I will go fo far as "to fay, that if Clemens was a "ment fuperior to your own, I fhould be << ftaggered with his oppofition; but if truth "may ever be spoken, it may on this occafion, "and who is there that does not fee the weak"nefs of the father's understanding; who but "muft acknowledge the pre-eminence of the



man of judg

daughter's? I will speak yet plainer, most "incomparable Sappho, it is not fitting that "folly fhould prefcribe to wisdom: The quef"tion therefore is come to an upshot, Shall "Sappho live a life the defpifes and detefts, to "humour a father, whose weakness she pities, but whofe judgment fhe cannot respect?" "No," replied Sappho, "that point is de



[ocr errors]


"cided; pafs on to the next, and speak to me (c upon the practicability of executing what I am refolved to attempt.' "The authority "of a parent," refumed Mufidorus, "is fuch «C over an unprotected child, that reason will "be no defence to you against obftinacy and "coercion. In the cafe of a fon, profeffion "gives that defence; new duties are imposed by "a man's vocation, which fuperfede what are "called natural ones; but in the inftance of a daughter, where fhall fhe fly for protection against the imperious controul of a parent, "but to the arms -? I tremble to pronounce "the word; your own imagination must com "plete the fentence"-" Oh! horrible!" cried Sappho, interrupting him, "I will never marry; "I will never fo contaminate the spotless luftre "of my incorporeal purity: No, Mufidorus, "no-I'll bear my blushing honours still about

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

me. "And fit you fhould," cried MufidoFus, "what dæmon dare defile them? Perish "the man, that could intrude a fenfual thought "within the sphere of fuch repelling virtue !"But marriage is a form; and forms are pure; "at least they may be fuch; there's no pollu"tion in a name; and if a name will shelter sc you, why fhould you fear to take it?""I perceive," anfwered Sappho," that I am


" in a very dangerous dilemma; fince the very "expedient, which is to protect me from vio"lence of one fort, expofes me to it under "another shape too odious to mention.""And is there then," faid Mufidorus fighing, "is there no human being in your thoughts in "whom you can confide? Alas for me! if you "believe you have no friend who is not tainted "with the impurities of his fex: And what is "friendship? what, but the union of fouls ? "and are not fouls thus united already mar"ried? For my part, I have long regarded our


pure and spiritualized connection in this light, "and I cannot foresee how any outward cere<< mony is to alter that inherent delicacy of "fentiment, which is infeparable from my foul's "attachment to the foul of Sappho : If we are "determined to defpife the world, we should also << defpife the conftructions of the world: If re"tirement is our choice, and the life and "habits of Clemens are not to be the life and "habits of Sappho, why fhould Mufidorus, "who is ready to facrifice every thing in her "defence, not be thought incapable of abufing "her confidence, when he offers the protection "of his name? If a few words muttered over


us by a Scotch blackfmith will put all our "troubles to reft, why fhould we refort to dangers


"dangers and difficulties, when so easy a re"medy is before us?-But why should I seek "for arguments to allay your apprehensions, "when you have in me fo natural a fecurity for "my performance of the ftricteft ftipulations ?"

"And what is that fecurity?" fhe eagerly demanded. Mufidorus now drew back a few paces, and with the moft folemn air and action, laying his hand upon his heart, replied, "My CC age, madam!"—" That's true," cried Sappho; and now the conversation took a new turn, in the courfe of which they agreed upon their plan of proceeding, fettled their rendezvous for the next day, and Mufidorus departed to prepare all things neceffary for the security of their expedition.



Tange Chloën femel arrogantem.


"O Cupid, touch this rebel heart!"


PON the day appointed, Sappho, with her father's confent, set out in a hired post-chaise upon a pretended visit to a relation, who lived about twenty miles from town on the northern road: At the inn where fhe was to change horfes, fhe difmiffed her London poftillion with a fhort note to her father, in which fhe told him the fhould write to him in two or three days time: Here she took poft for the next stage upon the great road, where fhe was met by Mufidorus, and from thence they preffed forward with all poffible expedition towards Gretna Green.

The mind of Sappho was vifited with fome compunctions by the way; but the eloquence of her companion, and the respectful delicacy of his behaviour, foon reconciled her confcience to the step she had taken: The reflections which paffed in Mufidorus's breaft, were not fo eafily quieted: The anxiety of his thoughts, and the fatigues

« السابقةمتابعة »