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fatigues of the journey, brought fo violent an attack upon him, that when he was within a stage or two of his journey's end, he found himself unable to proceed; the gout had seized upon his ftomach, and immediate relief became necessary : The romantic visions, with which Sappho hitherto had indulged her imagination, now began to vanish, and a gloomy prospect opened upon her; in place of a comforter and companion by the way to footh her cares, and fill her mind with soft healing sentiments, she had a wretched object before her eyes, tormented with pain and at the point of death,
The house, in which she had taken shelter, was of the meanest sort, but the good people were humane and affiduous, and the village afforded a medical assistant of nô contemptible skill in his profession: There was another consolation attended her situation, for in the same inn was quartered a dragoon officer with a small recruiting party; this young cornet was of a good family, of an engaging person and very elegant address; his humanity was exerted not only in consoling Sappho, but in nursing and cheering Mufidorus. These charitable offices were performed with such a natural benignity, that Sappho must have been most insensible if she could have overlooked them; her gentle heart on the VOL. III.
contrary overflowed with gratitude, and in the extremity of her distress she freely confessed to him, that but for his support she must have sunk outright. Though the extremity of Mufidorus's danger was now over, yet he was incapable of exertion; and Sappho, who was at leisure to reflect upon her situation, began to waver in her resolution, and to put some questions to herself, which reason could not readily answer.
Her thoughts were so distracted and perplexed, that she saw no resource but to unburthen them, and throw herself upon the honour and discretion of Lionel, for so this young officer was called. This she had frequently in mind to do, and many opportunities offered themselves for it, but still her sensibility of shame prevented it. The constant apprehenfion of pursuit hung over her, and sometimes she meditated to go back to her father; in one of these moments she had begun to write a letter to Clemens to prepare him for her return, when Lionel entered the room and informed her that he perceived fo visible an amendment in Musidorus, that he expected to congratulate her on his recovery in a very few days— " and then, Madam,” added he,“ my
sorrows « will begin where your's end; be it so! if you
are happy, I must not complain: I presume “ this gentleman is your father, or near rela
« tion?""Father !” exclaimed Sappho :
-She cast her eyes upon the letter 'The' was inditing, and burst into tears. Lionel approached, and took her hand in his; she raised her handkerchief to her eyes with the other, and he proceeded “ If my anxious solicitude for an unknown lady, « in whose happiness my heart is warmly inte“ rested, exposes me to any hazard of your dis“ pleasure, stop me before I speak another word; “ if not, confide in me, and you shall find me “ ready to devote my life to serve you.
The “ mystery about you and the road you are upon “ (were it not for the companion you are with) s would tempt me to believe you was upon a
generous errand, to reward some worthy man, “whom fortune and your parents do not favour; “ but this poor object above stairs makes that “ impoffible. If however there is any favoured “ lover, waiting in secret agony for that expected “ moment, when your release from hence may “ crown him with the best of human blessings, " the hand, which now has hold of your's, shall u be devoted to his service : Command me “ where you will; I never yet have forfeited my “honour, and cannot wrong your confidence." "You are truly generous," replied Sappho ; " there is no such man; the hand
hold is yet “untainted, and till now has been untouched ;
“ release it therefore, and I will proceed.-My “ innocence has been my error ; I have been the “ dupe of sentiment: I am the only child of a “ fond father, and never knew the blessing of a “mother ; when I look back upon my education, “ I perceive that art has been exhausted, and “ nature overlooked in it. The unhappy object “ above stairs has been my sole adviser and di“rector; for my father is immersed in bufiness: “From him, and from the duty which I owe “ him, I confess I have seceded, and my design
was to devote myself to retirement. My “ scheme I now perceive was visionary in the
extreme ; left to my own reflections, reafon “ shews me both the danger and the folly of it: « I have therefore determined upon returning to “ my father, and am writing to him a letter, “ which I shall send by express, to relieve him “ from the agonies my filly conduct has occa“ fioned.”—“What you have now disclosed to " me,” said Lionel, “ with a fincerity that does
equal honour to yourself and me, demands a
like fincerity on my part, and I must therefore “confess to you, that Musidorus, believing him“self at the point of death, imparted to me
not only every thing that has passed, but all “the future purposes of this treacherous plot, from which you have so providentially escaped;
< these I shall not explain to you at present, but
you may depend upon it, that this attack upon « his life has saved his conscience. I carinot as " a man of honour oppose myself to your resolu« tion of returning home immediately; and yet " when I consider the ridicule you will have to
encounter from the world at large, the reflec“stions that will arise in your mind, when there “ is perhaps no friend at hand to affuage them, " but above all when I thus contemplate your
charms, and recollect that affectation is ex“ pelled, and nature reinstated in your heart, I I cannot resist the impulse - nor the opportunity " of appealing to that nature against a separation " so fatal to my peace : Yes, loveliest of women, “I must appeal to nature; I must hope this “heart of your's, where such refined sensations “ have resided, will not be shut from others of a
more generous kind.' What could the name " of Mufidorus do, which Lionel's' cannot? “Why should you not replace an unworthy “ friend with one of fairer principles ? with one " of honourable birth, of equal age, and owner " of a heart, that beats with ardent paffion to
wards you? Had you been made the facrifice
of this chimæra, this illufion, what had your ų father fuffered? If I am honoured with your a hand in marriage, what can he complain of ?