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tenderness, which pity for the sufferings of the guiltless had extorted from her; that with a heart naturally susceptible of compassion, the had a further interest in the sufferings of the young man in question, as a relict of her valued friend Mr. Ratcliffe, who had protected him from his infancy, lov'd him as a son, and left the strongest testimony in his favour, describing him as endow'd with every good and virtuous quality, that can centre in the human heart : that for these reafons she had determin'd to stand in the place of her deceas'd friend towards an unfortunate youth, who seem'd destin'd to be the victim of suspicion, and to meet punishment where he merited praise.”
"'Tis one thing," said my Lord, “ to protect ; to caress him is another: you, or I, or any body may relieve a beggar, but who embraces him ? Your purse you may pour into his hands, but your person you had no right to throw into his arms, seeing that I have a claim upon that, so long as it is my lot to be call'd your husband, and your privilege to bear my. name and title.” .. " True, my lord,” she replied, “ your right and title to my poor person is absolute and ex
clusive, clusive, and had my heart been made of sterner stuff, I should not have yielded it even to pity, as you saw; to impurity it has never been surrender'd since you call'd it your's. If your sense of pity cannot find excuse for mine, I must submit to my fate; I have no other means of softening your displeasure.”
“ Sincerity will soften it,” said my Lord; « confession will in part atone for the injury which my honour has receiv’d, because to own your faults is one step towards repenting of them : confess then that you are in love with this young fellow, that you was captivated with his person, that you was surpriz’d into a weakness, which your constitution must apologize for.-Nay, start not, Madam! nor affect to be offended at what I suggest, for that you have lov'd is well known, and that you can go great lengths for those you love is not to be denied; why then may I not presume that your nature is the same, kind, soft and yielding as it ever was ? A father's authority could not restrain you, why should I suppose a husband's can? Let me know therefore the extent of my disgrace, and I will then decide as shall be best both for myself and you: till then you must give me leave to suspect the worst, and to
conclude conclude against you as much from your filence and reserve as from my own reason and observation.”
« In one word then, my lord, and I call Heaven to witness to the truth of what I say, I am as incapable of theidea you annex to my tenderness for this young man, as I am of murder, incest, blasphemy, or any crime the most dire and detestable that only beings totally abandon'd can commit: the criminality you fufpect me of wou'd be such as but to think of makes my blood shudder and my heart shrink back with horror." : “Hold, Madam; not so strong in your ex. pressions, if you please ; moderate the energy of your language, if you wish that I should credit the fincerity, or even understand the meaning of it: let me have a plain answer to a plain queftion-Did you ever see this young man before ?"
“ I saw him about twelve years ago, foon after my father's death, when he was a child under the care of Mr. Ratcliffe.”
“ Is he the bastard son of parson Ratcliffe?"
“ That is a plain question truly, my lord : your delicacy might have couch'd it in politer
« Very true, Madam, I fhould have been more select in my expreflions, as I might have recollected that none are so affectedly regardful of the forms of delicacy as chose, who have bidden adieu to the essentials of it.” ." "Tis well, my lord; I shall give you no further opportunity of infulting me, by answering to no further questions: here ends our conference; proceed against me as you please; be as cruel as your heart will let you ; there is a friend at hand that will soon rescue me from your tyranny."
"Say you fo, Madam! Who is that friend ?”
Danger approaches, and the Doctor is dismiss’d. IN this manner the fad and heavy hours
dragged Nowly on at Crowbery castle. Domestic altercations, jealousies, and complaints on the part of Lord Crowbery, pressed down the fpirits,' and now began to fap and undermine the constitution of his unhappy lady.
Her confinement was become no less a matter of necessity than of obedience; she took her meals, and passed her whole day, in her separate apartment; and as great pains were bestowed in keeping the affair of Blachford's plot and its providential issue from her knowledge, it was not till after the dialogue recited in the preceding chapter had taken place, that she came to the knowledge of that disgraceful business. · His Lordship's suspicion pointed at Zachary as the informer on this occasion; and though a pretty strict watch was kept upon him in his visits, probably the suspicion aforesaid was not ill placed, for our honest Doctor had great attachment to his noble patient, and very little to her ignoble lord : our hero also had an interest in his heart; Blachford he detested, and though he did his duty to him faithfully and skilfully, for he had now performed the operation of the trepan, yet if he had been dressing the wounds of a wretch condemned for murder, he probably could not have felt less sympathy for the sufferings of his patient. The impression, which the story of Blachford's plot made upon Lady Crowbery's mind, was such as left a strong persuasion of my Lord's participation in that base attempt, and from this momer