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into nights, I would rather my life should atone for the offence, than that Lady Crowbery's peace or reputation should be sacrificed through my ill-conduct or neglect.”
“ Very well,” replied Jemima, “ then it is in your power to decide upon the fate of that lady, who is so infinitely dear to you, by proportioning your attentions to the value that you set upon my secrecy." .
« Prove me then," he cried; “ tax me to the extent of my capacity in any honest fervices, and mark if I decline the trial.”
“ Honest services !” she repeated ; " what are they? I have made a fair confeffion to you, Henry, and I will not be trifled with.” . “I presume," answered he, “ you have a sense of that religion you profess so zealously; you have a proper feeling for the dignity and delicacy of your sex; you have a recollection of those solemn promises, to which you pledg’d your faith at the altar ".
“ I have a proper sense,” replied Jemima, " of your folly and impertinence, in preaching to me, who am establish'd by faith beyond the reach of guilt or the poffibility of falling."
“But I,” interpos'd Henry, “who cannot boast such an all-availing faith, do not possess
fó qualifying a confidence; therefore I must request you will with patience hear a few words from me. The principles which nature and education have instill'd into my heart, are such as teach me to believe no faith can purify the soul which guilt defiles. This doctrine was impress’d upon me by that best of friends, for whose lamented loss I am now in mourning. He was a father to me in effect, though of my real parents I am ignorant. Ac his death I became destitute, and in that state of absolute distress was found and reliev'd by your worthy husband : Shall I repay him with the blackest treachery? To him I owe the happy chance that cast me on the protection of Lady Crowbery; she was the friend and patroness of my deceas'd benefactor, the Reverend Mr. Ratcliffe ; for his fake she bestow'd these bounties upon me, in tender recollection of his valued memory, and in pity for the relict of his care ; whilft I was kneeling at her feet in grateful acknowledgment of her goodness, she threw her charitable arms upon my neck in pure benevolence."-" You own it then !” interpos'd Jemima; “ 'tis enough. Give me only to know that a woman of Lady Crowbery's cast, soft, sentimental, full of ten, x
der passions, and neglected by her husband, goes the length of taking a young fellow like you in her arms; and I will take upon me to say, such a woman can have but one possible motive for what she does. Talk not to me of benevolence and charity: would she embrace a beggar? would she press age and ugliness to her bosom ? No, no, Henry, you cannot impofe upon me, nor do I believe you are yourself impos'd upon: you are at once the irresistible conqueror of us both, and the only difference between us is, that I have the sincerity to avow a passion for you, and she has the hypocrisy to disguise it.”
This faid, she turned towards him, and with outspread arms was proceeding to embrace him, when starting back, he exclaimed ~ Hold, Madam! I am not faint enough to subscribe to your opinions, nor quite so much of a sinner as to suit your purposes."
He now sprung out of the room, and left her in that state of mind, which is as little intitled to pity as it is calculated to excite envy.
Miscellaneous Matters. A S our hero Nowly directed his steps to
wards the hospitable cottage, pondering the preceding dialogue in his mind, a thousand distracting thoughts took possession of him by turns : sometimes he reproached himself for not having attempted to soothe Jemima with hopes and promises ; at other times he almost doubted if he ought not to have sacrificed every scruple for Lady Crowbery's fake; again his spirit rose against such gross impurity, and the fallacy of the maxim of doing evil that good might come' struck him in full force. “ If innocence,” he cried, “ can be no otherwise protected than by the commission of guilt, let it shift for itself.” To appeal to the Doctor was to rouse a suspicion in Jemima, that he had betrayed her to him, and that he forefaw would be the certain way to drive her upon retaliation; besides, he knew the amount of Zachary's authority, and how little good was to be looked for from his interference : to apprize Lady Crowbery of her danger was his anxious wish, but by what means he knew not, for neither interview nor letter seemed
either easy or safe to undertake. Ezekiel's fidelity could not be doubted, but as a counsellor in this case, few men could be found less qualified.
Henry had now crossed the green, and was making towards the cottage, when he heard himself accofted by a man in a plain drab ridingcoat, and booted, who asked him if that great house at a distance belonged to Lord Crowbery? Henry, who had just then little or no attention for any thing but the thoughts he . was immersed in, ftared rather wildly at the stranger, and in a peevish kind of tone answered, that he knew nothing at all of the marter.-" That is rather extraordinary,” replied the stranger, “ for I think I faw you come from the house, where Lady Crowbery has been; and if you are bound to that cottage, you are going where she is."..-And what is that to you, Sir?” demanded Henry, in the same tone, and abruptly turned away from him. He now quickened his pace, and, entering the cottage kitchen, found there Ezekiel and Dame May, who immediately gave him the signal for silence, telling him, in a whisper, that Lady Crowbery and Miss Manftock were in the inner room conferring with