« السابقةمتابعة »
it: the word, that pledges the honour of a gentleman to me, I shall not difpute; I am ready to acquiesce in it; but I am not willing to make a tender of my confidence to a perfon, who exacts such high demands upon me, until I am convinc'd he is entitled so to do ; let us, therefore, interchange explanations with each other, before you require, or I render, satisfaction for what you seem to treat as an affront. Inform’d as I am, I am to consider you as a child of fortune, newly emerg’d from the lowest state of human wretchedness; your looks, your language and demeanour, certainly are not those of a mean uneducated person; give me therefore your name, condition and pretensions, and I will give you mine; then, if you tell me Lady Crowbery has receiv'd the ring I sent her by your hands, and treated it as a bawble not worthy her remembrance, and the fender of it as an object not deferving her enquiry, I think I must be compell’d, hard as it will be even then, to say that I believe
Our Henry's candour saw the reasonablenefs of this ftipulation, and the dilemma was a very awkward one to which he was reduced by it ; sensible that he could not justly press his requisitions any further, yet unwilling to sub
mit to the indignity of being doubted"I am not at liberty,” he replied “to give you the information you require; I must leave you, therefore, to draw your own conclusions, and we must part, as we met, strangers to each other. Your disappointment about the ring certainly has an anxiety in it, that goes deeper than to the mere fact of my delivering it or not to the Lady Crowbery; but whatever my curiosity on that account may be, I have no right to be inquisitive as to your secrets, so long as I withhold my own. When you appeal to the Lady, you will find. I have told you truth; but I did not recollect to tell you, that she never saw the ring I gave her; it was wrapt in paper, and the, being in hafte, put it into her pocket without examination; if then there is any mystery about it, and more was annexed to it, than as a common trinket dropt from her finger, you have the satisfaction of knowing there was no time for her to develope it, neither have I set eyes on her since.”
" It is enough,” exclaimed the stranger; “ I am fatisfied, completely satisfied, and afk your pardon for my hesitation in giving credit to you: had you told me this at first, I shou'd not have express’d mylelf as I did.” Anger, which in Henry's bofom had no
: lasting lasting tenure, instantly disappeared upon this apoiogy, and he began to explain as much of his own history as was proper to be told. This was attentively listened to by his companion, who owned having been betrayed into wrong notions, as to his connection with Lady Crowbery, report having stated to him, that her Lord was jealous of her on his account, and not without grounds -" these you have now,” added he, “ very naturally accounted for, and 'tis too clear, that the man is by nature a sufe picious tyrant, and that he uses her most harshly: Alas! poor Lady, how I pity her hard lot; but how, in the name of wonder, cou'd she ever consent to join herself to such a husband, whose person she cou'd not like, and whose manners cou'd never have been suitable to a woman of her taste and elegance? I am not acquainted with Lord Crowbery, but I have had a glimpse of his person, and some traits of his character; I own I cou'd not have suppos'd Cecilia Adamant, one of the richest heiresses, and most accomplish'd young women of her time, wou'd have condescended to the proposals of such a suitor.”-Henry said, he supposed it was a match of her father's making, and such marriages, he observed, wcre not apt to be happy.
“I can readily believe," replied the stranger, « that her father forced this odious Lord upon her; for, if I am rightly inform’d of Sir Andrew's character, he was capable of some violence, and not very well dispos’d to consult his daughter's inclinations ; lhe, perhaps, might yield to his authority, and consent to be miserable for life, rather than disobedient in any one act of it. From my soul I compassionate her! And now she is dropping into a decline, and must go to Lisbon; this I gather from the person himself, who advis'd it: mark, therefore, the issue of these matches of compulsion. What has not that parent to answer for, who forces a child, against the natural bent of her affection, into the arms of a man, whom her heart revolts from! But it is a painful subject, and we will say no more on it.”
“ Agreed !” cried Henry, rising from his seat; “let us dismiss this melancholy topic; besides, my time is expir’d, and I have business I must now attend to.”
END OF BOOK THE FIFTH.
BOOK THE SIXTH.
· CHAPTER 1.
The Author hints at a Reform in the Constitution
of a Novel.
IT is my wish to devote these short pre
fatory Efays to our fraternity of Novelists, if haply my good will can strike out any thing for their use and profit ; it is, therefore, in the friendly spirit of criticism, that I protest against a practice, which some few of the corps have lately taken up, of adulterating their compoGtions with a dash of politics, which I conceive to be a kind of fraud upon their customers, that not only brings disgrace and loss upon themselves individually, but is injurious to the trade in general. I shall not point out the particular offenders, as they are sufficiently noted by those, who have read their productions; and, if they have but wisdom enough to reform, I should be loth that past errors should be rem-mbered to the prejudice of their future fortune.