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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 vifions, with which Sappho hitherto had indulged her imagination, now began to vanish, and a gloomy profpect opened upon her; in place of a comforter and companion by the way to footh her cares, and fill her mind with soft healing fentiments, fhe had a wretched object before her eyes, tormented with pain and at the point of death.
The house, in which fhe had taken fhelter, was of the meaneft fort, but the good people were humane and affiduous, and the village afforded a medical affiftant of no contemptible skill in his profeffion: There was another confolation attended her fituation, for in the fame inn was quartered a dragoon officer with a small recruiting party; this young cornet was of a good family, of an engaging perfon and very elegant address; his humanity was exerted not only in confoling Sappho, but in nurfing and cheering Mufidorus. Thefe charitable offices were performed with such a natural benignity, that Sappho must have been moft infenfible if fhe could have overlooked them; her gentle heart on the VOL. III. P contrary
contrary overflowed with gratitude, and in the extremity of her diftrefs fhe freely confeffed to him, that but for his fupport she must have funk 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 fituation, began to waver in her refolution, and to put some questions to herself, which reafon could not readily answer. Her thoughts were so distracted and perplexed, that fhe faw no refource but to unburthen them, and throw herself upon the honour and discretion of Lionel, for fo this young officer was called. This fhe had frequently in mind to do, and many opportunities offered themfelves for it, but ftill her fenfibility of fhame prevented it. The conftant apprehenfion of pursuit hung over her, and fometimes fhe 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 Mufidorus, that he expected to congratulate her on his recovery in a very few days"and then, Madam," added he, "my forrows "will begin where your's end; be it fo! if you << are happy, I muft not complain: I prefume "this gentleman is your father, or near rela“tion ?”
"tion ?"-"Father!" exclaimed Sappho :-She
"You are truly generous," replied Sappho; "there is no fuch man; the hand you hold is yet "untainted, and till now has been untouched; "release
"release it therefore, and I will proceed.-My "innocence has been my error; I have been the "dupe of fentiment: I am the only child of a "fond father, and never knew the bleffing 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 fole adviser and di"rector; for my father is immerfed in business: "From him, and from the duty which I owe "him, I confess I have feceded, and my defign "was to devote myself to retirement. My "fcheme I now perceive was visionary in the << extreme; left to my own reflections, reafon "fhews 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 fhall fend by exprefs, to relieve him "from the agonies my filly conduct has occa"fioned.". "What have now difclofed to you "me," faid Lionel, "with a fincerity that does " equal honour to yourself and me, demands a "like fincerity on my part, and I must therefore "confefs to you, that Mufidorus, believing him"felf at the point of death, imparted to me (c not only every thing that has paffed, but all "the future purposes of this treacherous plot, "from which you have so providentially escaped;
"these I fhall not explain to you at present, but you may depend upon it, that this attack upon "his life has faved his confcience. I cannot as "a man of honour oppose myself to your refolu"tion of returning home immediately; and yet "when I confider the ridicule you will have to "encounter from the world at large, the reflec-" "tions that will arife 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 reinftated in your heart, I' "cannot refift the impulfe nor the opportunity "of appealing to that nature against a feparation "fo fatal to my peace: Yes, lovelieft of women, "I must appeal to nature; I muft hope this "heart of your's, where fuch refined fenfations. "have refided, 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 illufton, what had your "father fuffered? If I am honoured with your hand in marriage, what can he complain of? P 3