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but not dispel, Ned proceeded to the place of meeting with an aching heart and dejected countenance. We found the whole party assembled to receive us, and though my friend's embarrassment disabled him from uttering any one of the ready-made speeches he had digested for the purpose, yet I saw nothing in Mr. Somerville's countenance or address, that could augur otherwise than well for honest Ned; Mrs. Goodison was as gracious as possible, and Constantia's smile was benignity itself. Honest Abrahams, who has all the hospitality as well as virtues of his forefathers the patriarchs, received us with

open arms, and a face in which wide-mouthed joy grinned most delectably. It was with pleasure I observed Mr. Somerville's grateful attentions towards him and his good dame; they had nothing of ostentation or artifice in them, but seemed the genuine effusions of his heart: they convinced me he was not a man innately morose, and that the resentment, so long fostered in his bosom, was effectually extirpated. Mrs. Abrahams, in her province, had exerted herself to very good purpose, and spread her board, if not elegantly, yet abundantly; Abrahams, on his part, kept his wine and his tongue going with incessant gaiety and good-humour, and whilst he took every opportunity of drawing forth Ned's honest heart and natural manners to the best advantage, I was happy in discovering that they did not escape the intuition of Somerville, and that he made faster progress towards his good opinion, than if he had exhibited better breeding, and less sincerity of character.

In the course of the evening the old gentleman told us he had determined upon taking his daughter and Constantia into the country with him, where he flattered himself Mrs. Goodison would recover her health and spirits sooner than in town, and at the

same time gave us all in turn a pressing invitation to his house.—Abrahams and his wife excused them, selves on the score of business; but Ned, who had no such plea to make, or any disposition to invent one, thankfully accepted the proposal.

The day succeeding and some few others, were passed by Mrs. Goodison and Constantia at Mr. Somerville's in the necessary preparations and arrangements previous to their leaving London; during this time Ned's diffidence and their occupations did not admit of any interview, and their departure was only announced to him by a note from the old gentleman, reminding him of his engagement; his spirits were by this time so much lowered from their late elevation, that he even doubted if he should accept the invitation ; love however took care to settle this point in his own favour, and Ned arrived at the place of his destination rather as a victim under the power of a hopeless passion, than as a modern fine gentleman with the assuming airs of a conqueror. The charms of the beautiful Constantia, which had drawn her indolent admirer so much out of his character and so far from his home, now heightened by the happy reverse of the situation, and set off with all the aids of dress, dazzled him with their lustre: and though her change of fortune and appearance was not calculated to diminish his passion, it seemed to forbid his hopes: in sorrow, poverty, and dependance she had inspired him with the generous ambition of rescuing her from a situation so ill proportioned to her merits, and, though he had not actually made, he had very seriously meditated a proposal of marriage: he saw her now in a far different point of view, and comparing her with himself, her beauty, fortune, and accomplishments with his own conscious deficiencies, he sunk into despair. This was not unobserved by Constantia, neither did she want the

XXXVIII.

2 D

penetration to discern the cause of it. When he had dragged on his wretched existence for some days, he found the pain of it no longer supportable, and, ashamed of wearing a face of woe in the house of happiness, he took the hardy resolution of bidding farewell to Constantia and his hopes for ever.

Whilst he was meditating upon this painful subject one evening during a solitary walk, he was surprised to hear himself accosted by the very person, from whose chains he had determined to break loose; Constantia was unattended, the place was retired, the hour was solemn, and her looks were soft and full of compassion. What cannot love effect? it inspired him with resolution to speak: it did more, it supplied him with eloquence to express his feelings.

Constantia in few words gave him to understand that she rightly guessed the situation of his mind; this at once drew from him a confession of his love and his despair of the former he spoke little and with no display; he neither sought to recommend his passion, or excite her pity; of his own defects he spoke more at large, and dwelt much upon his want of education; he reproached himself for the habitual indolence of his disposition, and then, for the first time raising his eyes from the ground, he turned them on Constantia, and after a pause exclaimed, “Thank heaven! you are restored to a condition, which no longer subjects you to the possible sacrifice I had once the audacity to hint at. Conscious as I am of my own unworthiness at all times to aspire to such a proposal, let me do myself the justice to declare that my

heart was open to you in the purest sense; that to have tendered an asylum to your beloved mother, without insnaring your heart by the obligation, would still have been the pride of my life, and I as truly abhorred to exact, as you could disdain to grant, an interested surrender of your

hand;

in your

and now, lovely Constantia, when I am about to leave you in the bosom of prosperity, if I do not seem to part from you with all that unmixt felicity, which your good fortune ought to inspire, do not reproach me for my unhappy weakness; but recollect for once

life that your charms are irresistible, and my soul only too susceptible of their power and too far plunged into despair, to admit of any happiness hereafter.'

At the conclusion of this speech Ned again fixed his eyes on the ground: after a short silence-1 perceive,' replied Constantia, 'that my observations of late were rightly formed, and you have been torturing your mind with reflections very flattering to me, but not very just towards yourself : believe me, Sir, your opinion is as much too exalted in one case, as it is too humble in the other. As for me, having as yet seen little of the world but its miseries, and being indebted to the benevolence of human nature for supporting me under them, I shall ever look to that principle as a greater recommendation in the character of a companion for life, than the most brilliant talents or most elegant accomplishments : in the quiet walks of life I shall expect to find my enjoyments.' Here Ned started from his reverie, a gleam of joy rushed upon his heart, by an involuntary motion he had grasped one of her hands; she perceived the tumult her words had created, and extricated her hand from his Permit me,' said she, 'to qualify my respect for a benevolent disposition by remarking to you, that without activity there can be no virtue: I will explain myself more particularly; I will speak to you with the sincerity of a friend

-You are blessed with excellent natural endowments, a good heart and a good understanding ; you have nothing to do but to shake off an indolent habit, and, having youth at your command, to em

ploy the one and cultivate the other : the means of doing this it would be presumption in me to prescribe, but as my grandfather is a man well acquainted with the world and fully qualified to give advice, I should earnestly recommend you not to take a hasty departure before you have consulted him, and I may venture to promise you will never repent of any confidence you may repose in his friendship and discretion.'

Here Constantia put an end to the conference and turned towards the house: Ned stood fixed in deep reflection, his mind sometimes brightening with hope, sometimes relapsing into despair: his final determination, however, was to obey Constantia's advice, and seek an interview with Mr. Somerville.

NUMBER XLVI.

The next morning, as soon as Ned and Mr. Somerville met, the old gentleman took him into his library, and when he was seated, “Sir,' said he, “I shall save you some embarrassment, if I begin our conference by telling you that I am well apprized of your sentiments towards my Constantia; I shall make the same haste to put you out of suspense, by assuring you that I am not unfriendly to your wishes.'

This was an opening of such unexpected joy to Ned, that his spirits had nearly sunk under the surprise; he stared wildly without power of utterance, scarce venturing to credit what he had heard : the blood rushed into his cheeks, and Somerville, seeing his disorder, proceeded: “When I have said this on my own part, understand, young gentleman, that I only engage not to obstruct your success; I do not,

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