« السابقةمتابعة »
was due to her beauty and accomplishments. She heard me, not without emotion; and, as she seemed unable to give an immediate answer, I interpreted her silence favourably; and, seizing her hand, pressed my suit with all the earnestness of which I was capable. She soon recovered her tranquillity, and withdrawing her hand, answered with her usual unaffected modesty, but with a firmness I had never before observed, “That she was obliged to me for my favourable opinion; but as our affections were not in our power, and as the mode of life to which I had been accustomed was little suited to her inclinations, or to create that respect for the sex which she hoped to find in a husband, it was impossible I could ever be her’s. In vain did I join with her in blaming my past conduct; in vain did I assure her of the settled purpose I had formed to alter my mode of life; that I had actually done so; that as all my wishes were centered in an union with her, it should be the future business of my life to promote her happiness. She remained inflexible ; she doubted not, she said, the sincerity of my intentions; but her resolution was taken ; and she repeatedly assured me, that her motives made it unalterable. Some of the family coming in, I retired in a state of mind which I shall not attempt to describe.
This incident, Mr. MIRROR, has made me look into myself, into my past conduct, and into the errors or misfortunes, call them by what name you please, which have been the chief cause of my present anxiety and uneasiness. That I was the heir of an opulent fortune, was no fault of mine; neither can I be answerable for having succeeded to it at the early age of eighteen, when the passions were contending for gratification, when the means were in my power, and novelty heightened the enjoyment. The societies I frequented were composed of the first names of the kingdom, both for rank and fortune ; our knowledge of men was not confined to the narrow circle of our own country; we were acquainted with the faces of the principal potentates of Europe, and with those of many of their ministers; we could discourse of music and painting in the language of a connoisseur, and re-echo the opinions we had heard of the most celebrated singers of Florence, Naples, and Rome. Was I to blame for accommodating myself to the established manners of my country, in that rank of life to which I belonged ? Even the attention that was paid to my education, before the death of an excellent father, has been a source of misfortune; it can only be from the impressions I then received, that I acquired a confused idea of a conduct more becoming a being who found himself capable of reasoning and reflection. This idea often obtruded itself in the hours of languor and inactivity, and sometimes even embittered the cup of enjoyment. Restrained, for a time, by those habits which remain after the passions that produced them are extinguished, I at last found means to break the charm, and to form plans of rational and domestic enjoyment.
Disappointed in these, I feel the most poignant regret that I was not born a younger brother, and compelled to seek that distinction from merit which I enjoyed from fortune; or that my father had not allowed me to remain equally ignorant and uncultivated as the generality of my companions, whose affections centre in themselves, whose ambition consists in frequenting the best company, and whose knowledge is confined to the kitchen or the gaming-table. Displeased with myself, disgusted with the world, and rejected by Cordelia, I am preparing to sink at once into retirement and oblivion. What my occupations are to be, I know not; an hundred schemes have been formed and rejected. If it be in your power to suggest any thing I can steadily adhere to, and which will make me less contemptible in my own eyes, you will do good to one; but if you can exhibit in your Mirror a preventive to the errors by which I have been undone, you may do good to thousands.
I am, &c.
N 68. SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 1780.
I can make speeches in the senate too, Nacky.
OTWAY'S Venice Preserved.
One morning, during my late visit to Mr. Umphraville, as that gentleman, his sister, and I, were sitting at breakfast, my old friend John came in, and delivered a sealed card to his master. After putting on his spectacles, and reading it with attention, “Ay,' said Umphraville, this is one of your modern improvements. I remember the time when one neighbour could have gone to dine with another without
now, forsooth, you must announce your intention so many days before ; and, by-and-by, I suppose, the intercourse between two country-gentlemen will be carried on with the same stiffness of cere
monial that prevails among your little German princes. Sister, you must prepare a feast on Thursday; Colonel Plum says he intends to have the honour of waiting on us.' • Brother,' replied Miss Umphraville, you know we don't deal in giving feasts; but if Colonel Plum can dine on a plain dinner, without his foreign dishes and French sauces, I can promise him a bit of good mutton, and hearty welcome.'
On the day appointed, Colonel Plum arrived, and, along with him, the gay, the sprightly Sir Bobby Button, who had posted down to the country to enjoy two days shooting at Colonel Plum's, where he arrived just as that gentleman was setting out for Mr. Umphraville's. Sir Bobby; always easy, and who, in every society, is the same, protested against the Colonel's putting off his visit, and declared he would be happy to attend him.
Though I had but little knowledge of Sir Bobby, I was perfectly acquainted with his character; but to Umphraville he was altogether unknown, and I promised myself some amusement from the contrast of two persons so opposite in sentiments, in manner, and in opinions. When he was presented, I obseryed Umphraville somewhat struck with his dress and figure; in both which, it must be owned, he resembled a monkey of a larger size. Sir Bobby, however, did not allow him much time to contemplate his external appearance; for he immediately, without any preparation or apology, began to attack the old gentleman on the bad taste of hishouse, and of every thing about it. Why the devil,' said he, don't you enlarge your windows, and cut down those damned hedges and trees that spoil your_lawn so miserably? If you would allow me, I would undertake, in a week's vime, to
give you a clever place. This is, for all the world, just such a chateau as my friend Lord (you know Lord the finest fellow on earth) succeeded to last year by the death of an uncle, a queer old prig, who had lived locked up in his castle for half a century :-he died damned rich though; and
knew for certain that his breath was out, he and I went down to take possession; and in a strange condition, to be sure, we found things; but, in less than a month, we turned all topsy-turvy, and it is now in the way of being as fine a place as any in England.'— To this Umphraville made no answer; and indeed the Baronet was so fond of hearing himself talk, and chattered away at such a rate, that he neither seemed to desire nor to expect an answer.
On Miss Umphraville's coming in, he addressed himself to her; and after displaying his dress, and explaining some particulars with regard to it, he began to entertain her with an account of the gallantries in which he had been engaged the preceding winter in London. He talked as if no woman could resist his persuasive address and elegant figure-as if London were one great seraglio, and he himself the mighty master of it.-- This topic he was so fond of, that he enlarged upon it after Miss Umphraville had retired, and used a grossiereté of expression in his descriptions, which, of late, has been very much affected by our fine gentlemen ; but which shocked Umphraville, to whom it was altogether new, and who has ever entertained the highest veneration for the sex.
To put an end to this conversation, Colonel Plum, who seemed to be tired of it, as we were, mentioned the rery singular situation this country was in when the combined fleets of France and Spain lay off Plymouth; and took occasion to observe, that, if