صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

to decline his hand. Do you think, if I were his, I should not live in continual dread of a separation from him, even by that inevitable stroke which, alone, could be the means of completing his existence ?



every mouth,

Sat. night, Mar. 18. As soon as I had seen Mrs. Jervois to her chair, I went to attend Lord W

He received me with great expressions of esteem and affection.

He commanded his attendants to withdraw, and told me, taking my hand, that

character rose upon

him from He was in love with me, he said. I was my mother's son.

He commended me for my economy, and complimented into generosity the justice I had done to some of my friends.

I frankly own, said he, that at your first arrival, and even till now, (that I am determined to be the man you, cousin, would wish me to be,) I had thought it but prudent to hold back: for I imagined, that your father had lived at such a rate, that you would have applied to me, to extricate you from difficulties; and particularly, for money, to marry your eldest sister, at least. I took notice, young man, proceeded he, and I heard others observe, that you had not eyes to see any of your father's faults; either when he was living or departed; and this gave me reason to apprehend, that you had your father's extravagant turn: and I was resolved, if I were applied to, to wrap myself close about in a general denial. Else, all I had been gathering together for so many years past, might soon have been dissipated; and I should only have taken a thorn out of the foot of another, and put it into my own,

And then he threw out some disagreeable reflections on my father's spirit.

To those I answered, that every man had a right to judge for himself, in those articles for which he himself is only accountable. My father, and your lordship, continued I, had very different ways of thinking. Magnificence was his taste: prudence (so your lordship must account it) is yours. There are people in the world, who would give different names to both tastes : but would not


lordship think it very presumptuous in any man to arraign you at the bar of his judgment, as mistaken in the measures of your prudence ?

Look you, nephew, I don't well know what to make of your speech; but I judge, that you mean not to affront me.

I do not, my lord. While you were apprehensive, that you might be a sufferer by me, you acted with your usual prudence to discourage an application. My father had, in your lordship's judgment, but one fault; and he was the principal sufferer by it himself: had he looked into his affairs, he would have avoided the necessity of doing several things that were disagreeable to him, and must ever be, to a man of spirit. His very timber, that required, as I may say, the axe, would have furnished him with all he wanted: and he paid interest for a less sum of money than actually was in the hands of his stewards, unaccounted for.

But what a glory to you, cousin

No compliment to me, my lord, I pray you, to the discredit of my father's memory. He had a right to do what he did. Your lordship does what you think fit. I too, now I am my own master, do as I please. My taste is different from both. I pursue mine, as he did his. If I should happen to be more right than my father in some things, he might have the advantage of me in others; and in those I happen to do, that are generally thought laudable, what merit have I ? since all this time (directed by a natural bias) I am pursuing my own predominant passion; and that, perhaps, with as much ardor, and as little power to resist it, as my father had to restrain his.

Bravo! bravo! said my lord.— Let me ask you, nephew -May all young men, if they will, inprove by travelling, as you have done ?- If they may, by my troth, nine parts in ten of those who go abroad ought to be hanged up at their fathers' doors on their return.

Very severe, my lord. But thinking minds will be thoughtful, whether abroad, or at home: unthinking ones call for our pity.

Well, sir, I do assure you, that I am proud of my nephew, whatever you are of your uncle : and there are two or three things that I want to talk to you about; and one or two that I would consult you upon. He

rang, and asked, what time dinner would be ready? In half an hour was the answer.

Mrs. Giffard came in. Her face glowed with passion. My lord seemed affected at her entrance. It was easy to see, that they were upon ill terms with each other; and that

my lord was more afraid of her, than she was of him.

She endeavoured to assume a complaisant air to me; but it was so visibly struggled for, that it sat very awkwardly on her countenance; and her lips trembled when she broke silence, to ask officiously, as she did, after the health of my sister Charlotte.

I would be alone with my nephew, said my lord, in a passionate tone.

You shall be alone, my lord, impertinently replied she, with an air that looked as if they had quarrelled more than once before, and that she had made it up on her own terms. She pulled the door after her with a rudeness that he only could take, and deserve, who was conscious of having degraded himself.

Foolish woman! Why came she in when I was there, except to shew her supposed consequence, at the expense of his honour? She knew my opinion of her. She would, by a third hand, once, have made overtures to me of her interest with my lord; but I should have thought meanly of myself, had I not, with disdain, rejected the tender of her services.

A damned woman! said my lord; but looked, first, as he would be sure she was out of hearing.

This woman, nephew, and her behaviour, is one of the subjects I wanted to consult you upon.

Defer this subject, my lord, till you have recovered your temper. You did not design to begin with it. You are discomposed.

And so I am: and he puffed and panted, as if out of breath.

I asked him some indifferent questions : to have followed him upon the subject at that time, whatever resodutions he had taken; they would probably have gone oft,



when the passion to which they would have owed their vigour, bad subsided.

When he had answered them, his colour and his wrath went down together.

He then ran out into my praises again, and particularly for my behaviour to Mrs. Oldham; who, he said, lived now very happily, and very exemplarily; and never opened her lips, when she was led to mention me, but with blessings heaped upon me.

That woman, my lord, said I, was once good. A recovery, where a person is not totally abandoned, is more to be hoped for, than the reformation of one who never was well-principled. All that is wished for, in the latter, is, that she may be made unhurtful. Her highest good was never more than harmlessness. She that was once good, cannot be easy, when she is in a state of true penitence, till she is restored to that from which she was induced to depart.

You understand these matters, cousin : I don't. But if you will favour me with more of your company, I shall, I believe, be the better for your notions. But I must talk about this woman, nephew. I ain calm now. I must talk of this woman now-I am resolved to part with her: I can bear her no longer. Did you not mind how she pulled the door after her, though you were present?

I did, my lord. But it was plain, that something disagreeable had passed before; or she could not so totally have forgotten herself. But, my lord, we will postpone this subject, if you please. If you yourself lead to it after dinner, I will attend to it, with all


heart. Well, then, be it so. But now tell me, Have you, nephew, any thoughts of marriage ?

« السابقةمتابعة »