Зображення сторінки
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Lov. After this wretched bit of forwardness, ige norance, and self-conceit, was proposed to me, to supplant my dearest Ann, for the sake of money and blood, my uncle presently perceived how much I was disgusted at her, and told me, (I shall not repeat the disgustful oaths he made use of on this occasion) what a brewery blackguard I was, not to behave more civilly to one of Lady Georgiana's rank; that if I married her, I might, if I pleased, keep the other girl as my mistress ; and he was sure a sum of money, which he was ready to advance, would accomplish his wishes and mine; or that he had been dreadfully mistaken in the disposition of women, as far as ever he had to do with them.

Wor. Then your uncle supposed that all other. people were as unprincipled as himself; and that every female character was of the same description, as those low objects of his brutal desires with whom he had been connected: though I confess it scarcely seems possible that you could have a stronger inducement presented before you, to behave dishonorably to the good lady, to whom it seems you were so solemnly betrothed.

Lov. Indeed Sir, it seemed next to nothing to me, after a second interview with Lady Georgiana, and Lord Gambleton's other two daughters : for my uncle insisted upon it, that I should go with him to return the visit; and O, the horrid conversation I there heard ! the worst that could be, from a proud unprincipled Peer, and a worthless extortionate miser.

Wor. I am afraid Sir, I shall ask too much if I. request you to proceed.

Lov. O no Sir! the Right Honourable had nothing to say, but that from his free living, according to the rapk of life he was obliged to fill, and through some gaming debts, he had diminished his fortune ; and that he could get no more from his tenants, as tliat he had racked up their rents to the utmost penny he could demand : and therefore, as courtly favor ge

[ocr errors]

Rerally shone on noble blood, it might prove a convenient match to both families. As for loving one girl better than another, that they conceived to be all nonsense : and though it seemed necessary to propose the eldest first, yet if I proved rather squeamish about Lady Georgiana, there was Lady Augusta, and Lady Catharine, though there is scarce a pin to chuse between them; if any thing, I think the preference might have been given to the eldest, but I am sure bad was the best. Still it was by no means against their noble blood that I was disgusted ; let people be as honorable in character and conduct as they are by birth and title, and some such honorable characters are not wanting among the nobility of our land, and I would always esteem them worthy of doable honor ; but when these three empty scraps of vanity, were to be brought into competition with my dearest Ann, I confess they appeared the most odious creatures I ever beheld.

Wor. I am sure Sir, that you, as a man of thought, must have felt very severely on this occasion. You cannot be ignorant of the style of education among young persons of rank : look at the plain, honest, country milk-maid ; next contrast her with the vain baubles turned out, not only from the families of too many of the Right Honourables of the day, but from most of our modern boarding-schools; these from being first mere babies, afterwards get something above it as they grow up towards childhood ; then they are sent to those destructive places of female education, where they are a second time reduced almost to a state of baby-hood ; and in this fool's paradise, they seem happy to live through all" their lives, fifty times more offensive babes, than if they had never left their cradles.

Lov.Yes Sir, and three such as these were then presented before me, on account of money and blood, to be preferred to the excellent and intelligent person I now enjoy.

Wor. I should suppose however, you must have suffered much, before you could have been extricated from these difficulties.

Lov. Indeed Sir, no person could have been called to a more severe contest than I have sustained, between my affection, my judgment, and my worldly interest; for my uncle's principles were perfectly libertine. He would ever be saying, that “the end of life is for every man to gratify himself, as best suited with his natural appetites and dispositions." He was perpetually reading heaps of French publications on that subject : but here was my difficulty; what he liked best, I was to like best also, or else suffer the vengeance of his high displeasure. He had fully imbibed the sentiments belonging to their system of mock liberty, that men should be left to live as they list, without the least controul.

Wor. What government can subsist, where every one is governed by his own abominable lusts and passions ! But your mother thus joining with your uncle's views, must have been another very considerable impediment in your way.

Lov. Indeed it was ; for she began immediately to act so cruelly and disgustingly to my wife, that she was soon obliged to discontinue all her visits to our house, though before these golden promises were made, it was a settled business that a marriage should take place.

Wor. Well Sir, under such circumstances as you have related, neither your father nor your mother ought to have refused their consent; and I am sure, when they had once solemnly given it, they had no right to retract it; and on account of such motivés so improperly retracted, it would be equally unjust in either of you to have renounced the pure and chaste promises of a mutual connexion, which subsisted between you. It were well, if both parents and children, would duly consider the proper limits of their reciprocal duty towards each other; but for want of this, how frequently do children and parents distract their own minds, and destroy the peace of


il connected with them! But what was the result of these matters?

Lov. Sir, my uncle for once gained a victory over his covetousness, by straining a point in conuexion with Lord Gambleton, to see if they could not bribe her, by the promise of a thousand pounds, provided she would be off from the engagement. The accomplishment of this business was to be put into the hands of my mother, and she the more eagerly entered into it, as her head was filled with a set of splendid dreams, that if they could blend the two families into one, whether it might not be possible to procure another patent of peerage, on behalf of the female line, through which the noble blood was still to flow; and nothing pleased the pride of my poor mother, like the idea that her only son might by this match wear a coronet; and upon these chimerical principles of happiness, we were called to sacrifice our affections and solemn engagements with each other.

Wor. The feelings of both your minds, must have been seriously disgusted by such base contrivances; and at the same time so artfully calculated to tempt both of yor lo violate the solemn promises which had subsisted between yourselves. But how did Mrs. Lovely receive the proposal?

Lov. Sir, the immediate answer my wife sent, (for we were not then together,) was just what I should have expected from the independent dignity, chastity, and goodness of her mind : “That to pawn her affections for the lucre of gain, was so much beneath every feeling she possessed, that she at once rejected it with entire disdain ; and that if they could find a chapman in me, for the sake of such rewards to give her up, after the most sacred promises which had passed between us, she should ever esteem it a most merciful deliverance to escape from one of so mean a mind; and that it would be nothing with her, whether I married any of Lord Gambleton's daughters, or any one else I might ehuse to prefer, though

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

she herself had not the most distant idea, that I could act a part so unfeeling, so ungenerous, and so vile. Dear Sir, who could not but admire a mind replete with such dignity of thought, and with such a generosity of heart?

Wor. But I hope Sir, that this spirited letter so far settled matters, as that you got rid of these importunities, that you might marry according to your wish ?

Lov. No Sir, my uncle still kept up his expectations, that either by craft or cruelty, they might prevent our union; and in order to accomplish this, the next plan was to send me into the south-west of Ireland, where he had an estate, that I might see after his tenants, and collect some arrears of rent, with a merciless, crafty, hard-hearted, wretch of a lawyer, at my elbow, to watch all my motions; and with se cret instructions to try to debauch my morals and conduct as fast as he could: but in this, I thank God, he could not succeed ; and there I was ordered to continue till my uncle followed me, which as he said, would be in a few weeks.

By this plausible pretext, in first making me the steward of what, according to his promise, I was afterwards to possess, I conceived it my duty to follow his directions. But this was all done, to try if possible, to break the heart of my dearest Ann. Being bowever, suspicious of their designs, I made it a point to call on her before I went; and after I had told her the difficulties I had to encounter with, I pledged myself, in the most solemn manner, before her and her par

ents, that whatever might be the consequence, we would unite for life.

Wor. Sir, I love you to my heart for your fidelity.

Lov. But o Sir! I shall never forget what we all felt on this occasion; though what I did was under a positive and deliberate determination, that I had rather a thousand times support myself, as the servant of my father's brewery, or even by daily labor, with such a wife, thản be united to the best of the three

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »