صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

“ How lost her?" exclaimed Bellasis. further explanation was thus interrupted.

Why, if so be that you be her sweet- Bellasis was for a moment at a loss in what heart, do you see, young gentleman," re- manner to act. Returning to M,, E-, plied the phlegmatic Davy, “damme she's his solicitor, he demanded his legal opinj. off."

on. Mr. E- replied, that Sir George “ Off! where, with whom ?"

had not acted beyond the authority given “Why, with some one," replied Davy; || himn by the will, jo appointing a personal “ but as I am an honest Welchman, do guardian to Agnes; and that Mirabel you see, young gentleman, and have been being thus appointed, had the legal distrusted in this affair, you shall get no more posal of her person during her minority; from me."

that however evident the nature of the Bellasis thought this but a hint, and of conspiracy, it was so strictly according to fered his purse.

the forms of law, that the courts could give No, no, young gentleman," replied no relief. honest Davy; “ you have none of those Bellasis, agitated at once by contending varlets to deal with. You shall know no- emotions, by jealousy, love, and indigna. thing from me; and, if I can help it, you | tior. at such barefaced violation of all that shall know nothing from any other of tbe was honourable and just, hastened to the servants. I beckoned you here, friend, lodgings of Mirabel in Albany-buildings. to teach you better than to seek the secrets | The Baronet, as he suspected, was absent; • f the family by pumping the servants." had departed, as it was supposed, for the

Bellasis was in a too great agony of im. || country. Bellasis endeavoured, by indipatience to attend to the propriety of this rect inquiries, to discover his route; but advice; but before he could determine | his servants appeared ignorant, and Bel. what farther to do, Sir George himself | lasis was compelled to return as much in passed him.

Bellasis immediately ad. the dark as ever. dressed him with some abruptness. Sir The more he reflected upon this affair, George demanded cooly upon what autho- l the more was he moved to indignation. sity he so anxiously concerned himself | He kuew that the character of Mirabel with regard to Agnes?

was that of a polished ruffian, a profligate “By the right of a friend, Sir George, who, possessed of the advantages of natural and one who is not ignorant of your cha- courage and a daring spirit, neglected noracter,” replied Bellasis.

thing towards ike accomplishment of his “Mr. Bellasis,” replied Sir George, | designs; the more he thought upon this “ when I have leisure from other business subject the more did he treinble for I shall answer the latter part of what you || Agnes. have said. With regard to Agnes, you He was walking by the side of the Sermust address me in another mannes before, pentine River, in Hyde Park, as he was as her guardian, I shall think it necessary | making these resections. The day was to return you any answer.”

gloomy, a dripping mist obscured every Bellasis could scarcely restrain his in- thing; Bellasis saw no one in the Park but dignation from breaking forth into open himself. The sound of something falling violence.

into the water at length aroused him from “ As to the fortune of Miss Harrowby," bis reflections. Bellasis looked around, replied Sir George, ' perhaps if questioned and within a few yards before him (he in a proper manner, and for a proper being concealed amongst the trees) saw a purpose, I may answer. With regard to

woman already floating on the surface. her person, her legal guardian is Sir Harry Forgetting every thing in the impulse of Mirabel. He may have found it necessary | humanity, he rushed forward, and after to remove her to prevent ber from any some difficulty drew the body to the bank. imprudent union. You must know that It was already insensible, and apparently I cannot interpose whilst he acts only in lifeless. She had been seen, moreover, by the discharge of his duty."

other persons at a distance, who now hasBefore Bellasis could answer, Sir George tened to the assistance of Bellasis. Every was joined by some gentlemen, and all thing was put in practice to recal her to

sensation, and these buinane efforts al || Fears succeeded lier return to conscious. length succeeded; she opened her eyes, ness." Why did you preserve me,” said bui again, overpowered by the light, closed she, in accents still broken and abrupt. them.

Fears again checked her utterance. Bel.. In the mean time some of the party , lasis cxerted every effort to console her; more considerate than the others, had for a long time every effort was fruitless. procured a coach as near the spot as was It was not till her first passion of despair possible; the poor wretch was lifted inte had subsided by indulgence, that her grief it, and no ore seemed inclined to think perroitted itself a vent in words.-" I am farther about her. The coachman before I miserable," at length said she; "alas so he would move, demanded who was to pay iniserable that I must even call my benehim his fare. Every one disappeared factor my persecutor. Yes, Sir, if I owe insensibly at this deinand. Bellasis alone

to you the preservation of my life, I can followed her into the coach, and promised only accuse you that in so preserving it to satisfy the fellow's deinand.

you but prolonged my misery; had it not “ Wbere am I to drive, Sir?" de been for your mistaken bumanity this manded the fellow.

heart would ere this have ceased to beat." This difficulty had not yet occurred to Bellasis saw that this was not the mo. Bellasis, he knew not how to answer. ment to gratify his curiosity. The coach.

To any of the hospitals," continued man demanded further orders. Bellasis the fellow, or to the nearest work- was by this time so attracted towards the house?"

ohject of his humanity that he ordered The unhappy woman again openel her the fellow, without further hesitation, to eyes, they were soft, beautiful, and ap- drive to Norfolk-street, in the Strand, his parently expressive of innocence; she own lodgings. sighed deeply, but scemed fast reco

" Father of mercies!” exclaimed the vering.

unhappy girl, “ in what have I merited “ No," said Bellasis ; " she appears this fullness of misery? Sir," continued not accustommed eithe; to hospitals or she, “ if with the form you have the feel. workbouses."

ings of humanity, suffer me to leave you “ Search her pockets, master," added here. I am indeed too miscrable to live. the coachman, “ you may perhaps find I cannot, indeed I cannot, support the insomething which will inform you who famy which is about to fall on me. Sink. she is, and whence she comes, and some ing under the weight of other grief I can. money perhaps to pay her fare without not support the addition of the loss of paying it yourself."

reputation, and the contempt of those by Drive on," said Bellasis, “the air whom I was once beloved and estcemed." seems to revive her; I will satisfy you for “ Fear nothing," said Bellasis; you

shall not return to your friends and family “That's enough, Sir,” replied the fel. unless it is your own wish. I presage that low, “though you were to bid me drive you are inore unfortunate than criminal; to Botany Bay; shall I drive you straight and if by your narrative this should appear forwards?"

your situation, your grief shall not be ag. Bellasis replied in the affirmative, and gravated

gravated by disgrace." the fellow obeyed. The woman gra.

The coach by this time had stopped at dually recovered, and as the expression Bellasis's lodgings. The house was kept of her features returned, discovered a face by the widow of an Officer, who chiefly most expressively beautiful. Her mien, supported herself by her pension and the her air, her shape, were above the com- letting of her lodgings. Being a woman mod model. She was scarcely, except in of humanity, and knowing the real worth the tallness of her person, arrived at wo- of the character of Bellasis, a very short manhood; ber age did not appear to ex- expianation was necessary to procure her ceed seventeen; her hair was auburn; her concurrence in the admission and relief of complexion most spotlessly fair. Bellasis the unfortunate stranger. By her ready regarded her with wooder,

assistance the vnhappy girl was soon se

you fare."

leased from her wet habits; this was no arrival soon verified the report. Vain of sooner effected, than declining to rest hero my accomplishments I was eager to proself, according to the proposal of the good 'duce them before Sir Harry Mirabel." widow, she requested that she might speak “ W'ho?" exclaimed Bellasis; but re. with her benefactor, and that the good pressing himself, and apologizing for the lady herself would accompany him. interruption, he requested her to proceed.

Bellasis obeyed the sumnions ; if he had “ Mirabel at length called at our farm. been before struck with the beauty and I must confess that his handsome person, symmetry of the lovely unfortunate, he and elegant manners, impressed me forwas now still more astonished; the good cibly, and I could not avoid forming a wish widow had habited her in a muslin dress that my fate had destined me such a hus. of one of her daughters, and when she rose band. I was flattered to see that Mirabiel upon the entrance of Bellasis, he thought was still more forcibly struck with me; that he had never beheld such true grace, his visit was long, and under different preand natural beauty. Seating herself, she texts repeated twice the same day; bis thus addressed him and the good widow : eyes wandered fiom every other object to

“I owe you more than I fear I shall ever fix only upon me. be enabled to repay. In the moment of “ Amongst other things my father was despair I was about to commit a crime at distinguished among the neighbouring which my memory now shudders. I could gentlemen as a most excellent agriculturist, wish at once to testify my gratitude, and and his opinion was not unfrequently conby relating the cause of my attempt, con sulted upon this subject. My father, like vince you that it is not misery of an ordi- most men excellent in one thing, was more nary nature which could have thus hur- than ordinarily proud of this reputation, ried me beyond the bounds of my duty to aud was never so much flattered as when my Maker. Listen to a narrative which consulted in this his favourite study. will move your compassion.

* Mirabel was not long unacquainted “My father is a farmer in Norfolk; the with this ambition, this ruling passion of industry of his family before him had put the good man, and availed himself of it to him into the possession of a small estate of accomplish his designs. Under the prehis own of about sixty pounds a year; a tence of consulting his opinion upon some farm of about two hundred more, held one or other of his fields, - what course under a gentleman in the neighbourhood, was best suited to this that was foul, or that made altogether a very ample income for which was sterile, he was with him almost one accustomed to habits of economy. I every hour in the day. My father, doubly was his only daughter.

Mattered as being consulied not only in Fortunately, at least as I then thought his peculiar talent, but by his landlord, it, a maiden lady boarded with my father was never so happy as in the society of for the benefit of the sea-air ; for want of Mirabel; who, upon his part, appeared *any other companion, perhaps, I soon be. equally attracted towards my father. came her favourite. She instrueted me “I need not say that Mirabel had thus in the English language, drawing, and frequent opportunities of addressing bimsomething of music. I had thus an edu. self particularly to me. I cannot deny cation far superior to my rank iu life, a that his conversation was peculiarly pleamisfortune, inasmuch as by giving me a sing to me, and that he had made no indistaste to my situation it perhaps facili- | considerable impression upon me before I tated my subsequent ruin. My benefac. was sensible of it. Mirabel was too artful tress died when I had reached the age of to awake me to a sense of my danger by sixteen, leaving me five hundred pounds, any premature declaration. All his ac. the half of her whole property.

tions indeed were those of a lover, but the “ Now commences the career of my word love had never escaped his lips. misfortunes. My father's landlord bad | The praises of my father, who considered not visited his estates since he became of Mirabel as a model of perfection, further age; it was at length reported that he was confirmed me in the dangerous indulgence coming down to reside, and his subsequent of these sentiments; every thing thus cor

spired to render me the victim of a seduc. ll thus in the presence of Heaven I swear tion as atrocious as it was deliberate. eternal love, and eternal fidelity,' - And

“ Mirabel at length saw that the time with these words he threw his arms around was arrived in which he inight venture to me, wbo was in too mucb confusion to prespeak more openly without any fear of vent him. — Pardon me,' said he, again counteracting his purpose. I need not releasing me; ‘pardon me, I know not say that in the more remote counties of what I do.' England the season of harvest is considered

“ With this abruptness, this studied ar. as the period of general mirth, when all dour, did he avow a passion but too acceptdistinctions of master and man are forgot, able to me; he continued in this sirain, and cach happy in the bounty of nature, and repeated so often that I hated him, endeavour to promote the general mirth. that he at length extorted a confission Alas! in what glowing colours does my that he was not indifferent to me; le presfancy at this moment paint my former sed me still further with his importuni!ies, happiness, when in the days of innocence, and at length brought me to acknowledge and in the checrfulness of early life, I list that I loved him. ened to the harvest carrol, when the cheer “I know not how long our conversation ing horn welcomed the last labours of the would have continued, had not the voice reapers, and the fields and woods re-echoed of my father summoned us to the supperwith the harvest-home. Alas! these scenes table.- Say nothing to your father of are for me no more, my innocence is fied, what has passed, Mary; conside in my my taste is corrupted, and my chcerfulness, love and my honour, every thing will lurn the harmony of a guiltless mind, is gone for | out in time to our satisfaction; but it re. ever.

quires time, and must not be hurried. “But let me endeavour to banish the The prejudices of the world are against memory of bliss, which can now only ag-me, a world that is unacquainted with your gravate my present misery. To return, worth and accomplishments. But it shall therefore, to my narrative.--It was not long continue in this ignorance; too evening at the termination of the wlieatlong has this thatched roof concealed you harvest, that Mirabel chose for the decla- from that admiration and love to which ration of his passion. My father gave a your beauty and merit entitle you, and supper and fiddlers to his men, in an orch which will follow you wherever

you

shall ard which adjoined his house. Mirabeli be seen.' called in, and invited me to join the happy “ It would be almost endless to recount daucers. I did not refuse the invitation ; || the various means to which Mirabei had we danced till we were wearicd. As the recourse to confirm his impression upon evening was warm, and the moon shonc

my heart. I must not however omit one, with its harvest ray, Mirabel led me in. A few days after the scene I have now sensibly into the garden, the gate of whichi mentioned ny father's lease termirated, opened into the orchard.

Confident of a renewal from the apparent " How lovely is the vight,' said he; 'friendship of Mirabel, my father affrnded • would to Heaven that I was happy enough cheerfully on the day previous to its exto enjoy it.'-And are you not happy? said | piration. His downcast looks and evident 1.- No,' replied he; and cursed be the agitation on his return, sufficiently signiprejudices of the world which make me fied to me that he had met a repulse." miserable; cursed be my own imprudence “ Yes, Mary,' replied he in answer to that has hurried me to the precipice; and my inquiries, “I must leave a farm which cursed. No,' resumed he, to my as has been my father's before me, and which tonishment at his abruptness; •blest, for my father bimself received from my grande ever blest, be your perfect beauty, since it fa: her, having been in our family al:o. is united to a heart as perfect. Yes, sweet. gether near a hundred and thirty years. est Mary, I love, I adore you; Heaven It enabled them by its profits to purchase alone knows the sincerity of my passion. I the small estate which has descended to In vain have I struggled against it; my mc, and it was enabling me, by my further passion bears every thiog before it, and industry, to lay up a store for thee. It is

one

a farm by which any one with attention to corrupt the former simple manners of and suitable husbandry must prosper. But our nation with tlic degraded stupidity of we must leave it, my girl, though being | Freuch philosplay, were preferred even to born in this house, as well as yourself, I those of Mrs. Wollstonecraft, as foolish as cannot help considering it as my paternal Hagicious, and Miss Williams, who, forhome. Yet Sir Harry is not in fault; he getting the natural humanity of her sex, Bad promised it to another long before he triumphs in the victims of democracy, and knew me, and the honour of a gentleman bails with transported emotion the Age of is his oath. Let us prepare to quit it.' Reason and of Liberty. Would to Hea

“ The melancholy despondency with | ven that the loo mild laws of our country which my father was affected upon the loss || had enacted some restraint on writers like of this farm, which, according to his own these, whose meritricious style, and fallawords, from the length it had remained in cious reasoning, however despised by those our family, appeared almost an inheritance, of solid judgment, are yet infinite in the determined me to make a trial of my in- production of mischief, and by inculcating terest with Mirabe!.”

the dishelief of a state of futurity, reinove “ Yes,' said he, in answer to my applica- | one of the most salutary sestraiots upon tion, before I had well even binted it, 1 the excesses of the passions. had indeed promised it, but-but--your “But that I may not unnecessarily prowish is sufficient; can I refuse that you tract my narrative, it will be sufficient to should dispose of a part of what you must say, in one word, that Mirabel was himself shortly possess the whole. Yes, dearest even in the slightest step of his progress. Mary, never will my heart own a moment's | The period of sleep-shearing in the ease till I throw myself and fortune at country is a period of festivity, and more your feet. My future prospects of farther | particularly was so with my father, who advancing myself in life, depend upon the prided bimself as an agriculturist upon

an , of whom I am the heir, my mother being persuaded, cares as little about any public his eldest sister in a family where there improvement as if he were a creature of were no males. I must not offend him by another world, under his usual pretext of an abrupt union. Such is the cause of my | zeal for the interests of agriculture, was delay, but you sce my house is repairing | present, and gave an entertainment in his Yes, dearest Mary, I must endeavour to pai kupon the occasion. I danced with him render it a worthy abode of a wife like as usual. The music, the season, the gethee. Return, and advise your father toneral festivity, produced a more than oidiapply once more. The lease shall be re nary effect upon my animal spirits ; Miranewed for double its former period.” bel perceived it, and removing me insen

" This was accordingly done. My vanity sensibly from the company, availed himwas highly flattered by my success in this self of it to plead the interests of his affair. I am persuaded that it was so in love. tended by Mirabel, and that he had never “Must it beindeed so long,' said he, 'bedesigned to displace my father, but only fore I can call you my own? My uncle canemployed the pretext of a promise that I not indeed live many monihs, and then I might act as I had done.

am free. Must I live thus despised even “ Nothing, in fine, was neglected which the for that period. Dearest Mary, would to imagination of the most arisul seducer Heaven that you could but know how could suggest. I had contracted a fondness || ardently Uove. Why am I thus bated?" for seading which a village circulating “ Hated," replied I; "why do you em. library could but ill supply. Mirabel | ploy sich language ? I do not hate you." daily and almost hourly sent me one or “This is the language of your tongue,' other of the most popular novels of the said he, how different are the sentiments day. Need I say that all these were se. | of your heart, and the evident conclusion to Jected with a view to his main purpose. be drawn from your actions. Yes, I am Thus the writings of the infamous H-, couvinced, Mary, that I am the object of and his companions, who have epdeavoured your hatred."

« السابقةمتابعة »