Зображення сторінки

deed if ever he even occasionally went to his own home, it was only to see his wife distracted with grief, at the sight of the man with whom she had lived with so much conjugal felicity for so long a time; now torn from her bosom by this artful foreigner, and all his children neglected by him, while the youngest was still hanging on her breast.

Érs. Wor. Poor woman, she must have been the object of universal pity.

Mrs. Lov. Yes Madam, of all that had any pity in them, while he now began to be not less the object of universal abhorrence and contempt.

Mrs. Wor. Could he continue in a place where the odium excited against him, must, one would suppose, have been so very universal ?

Mrs. Lov. No Madam, nor did he design it from the first: for though this artful French woman wanted to deceive people, by assuming the most tragical and frantic airs of grief, and by giving it out, that she could never live in a house, where she saw her dear husband die in such agonies ; consequently must sell all, and leave the place, and retire into her own country; yet this was the very thing that Mr. Sharp was aiming at, to accomplish the rest of his plan. For immediately upon her requisition he had à pretext to sell off all her household property, and furniture, with all possible speed, and after this, nothing would do, but that Mr. Sharp should attend this abominable wretch, to the water side, leaving behind him a promise to return. To this Mrs. Sharp was obliged reluctantly to submit.

She having some faint hopes that she might yet live to see better days; when the object that ensnared his affections should be removed from them. But in this she was also mistaken. He went, cruel wretch, to return no


Mrs. Wor. This was completely enough to break her heart.

Mrs. Lov. But Madam, there was more heartbreaking work after all this, for he absolutely con


trived to avail himself of all the property she brought with her into the family, by a most vile swindling trick.

Miss Wor. What was the trick ?

Mrs. Lov. They say, that some sort of lawyers are up to every thing, and as he was frequently in the habit in his professional line, of buying and selling estates, when these vile designs first entered into his head, before the death of Mr. Dupee, he told his wife that he had an opportunity of buying an estate with her fortune, to a very considerable advantage; which he shonld settle on her and their family, and though she had then her fears, lest she should soon be deprived of the remaining share of his affections, sooner than give him 'any pretext against her; she reluctantly submitted, and completely ruined herself thereby. This advantageous purchase he gave her to understand, was fully accomplished. And after his departure she naturally enquired, where this imaginary estate for herself and children was to be found; but think what her feelings must have been upon the painful discovery, that all was an entire cheat, and that she had nothing left, for herself and family, but a little pocket-money, the furniture of the house in which she lived, and a few outstanding debts, while these were scarcely sufficient to discharge the debts the vile wretch had left against her, for their housekeeping expences.

Mrs. Wor. Were not these rather to be conceived as debts belonging to her husband ?

Mrs. Lov. But as she and her children partook of the benefit of them, she honorably discharged them, till she had scarcely any thing left for herself, but what must soon be exhausted. She has indeed a little plate, and a few valuable trinkets, and some of these it seems she has already parted with, and when these are gone, she has nothing but poverty and distress before her.

Mrs. Wor. Have they not heard any thing of him since his departure ?

Mrs. Lov. Not a tittle ; and it is now three months since; she never expects to hear from him again.

Miss Wor. Vile fellow. No matter for that, if the

poor forsaken woman and her children can only be supported.

Mrs. Lov. I hope she will ; for several people have already sent her some presents, and my dear George says, he will give her a trifle.

Mrs. Wor. And I dare say, my dear Samuel will add another trifle-But did Mrs. Sharp shew any such tempers at home, so as to give a pretext to her husband, not to be su fond of her company as formerly.

Mrs. Lov. I never heard that she did ; she is said to be a woman of very engaging manners, and of an amiable temper, though I dare say, he would find no very comfortable reception on his return, when he had neglected his own family fire side, evening after evening, to hear her distressful sigls, and to see tears of grief, every now and then starting from her eyes, while he had no other excuse for himself, than that of taking the opportunity of gaining better instruction in the French language, which it seems he knew well enough before.

Mrs. Wor. The more innocent and excellent her character is made to appear, it is hoped the more ready people will be to come forward towards her support.

Mrs. Lov. Ak Madam! but after having lived in comparative affluence, to be reduced to live in a state of entire dependence upon the bounty of others, is a very painful event. She has not been accustomed to any way of getting her own livelihood, nor would her little family allow her to do it if she hadi it in her power; in short, she cannot help herself, while she feels it a mortifying thought to be helped by others, though one of her faithful servants says, she cannot leave her, if she works for nothing, while the prattle of her little children cuts her to the heart. At one time they will be asking her, Wbere is Papa

VOL. 11.


yone? why don't he bring us pretty things as he used to do? and when at times they see her in tears, they will ask, What makes you cry, Mamma? you say we are naughty if we cry. Then again when their mother provides them with but a scanty meal, being apprehensive that her little remaining stock will soon be exhausted, they will be asking with artless surprize, why they are allowed so little ; and what is become of the good things they formerly used to have ?

Miss Wor. What painful feelings such sort of questions must excite in a mother's breast!

Mrs. Lov. Yes: and what additional pain must she have felt, when she began to find it necessary to part with the furniture out of her house, at different times, to provide even such scanty meals as these, while she was painfully at a loss to know how to provide a sufficiency to pay the taxes, as they were demanded of her. The most disconsolate widow upon earth has not half the cause of grief as has fallen to the lot of this afflicted woman; what less can be expected, than that grief should send her to the grave with a broken heart? even a detail of such uncommon sufferings, is quite sufficient for any person of common humanity to narrate.

Mrs. Wor. Perhaps you had better defer the rest of the narration, until another opportunity, lest it should be too much for your spirits.

Mrs. Lov. I have but little further to observe concerning her-Oh here is my dear George, and Mr. Worthy riding up to the door; I am glad they have returned so soon.

No sooner had they alighted, than the conversation became too desultory to demand the reader's attention, nor is it necessary that the narration respecting Mrs. Sharp should be continued, as all that is material has been sufficiently made known. I shall only observe that though the Lovelys could not but be charmed with the affectionate hospitality of the Worthys; yet but little was said respecting Mr.

Lovegood, only from general hints: and as he was scarcely from home on the Saturday, the first time they saw him, was in his official duty on the Sunday morning. Mr. Worthy however stepped aside for a short time, to the Vicarage, to tell him what sort of guests had been providentially brought to his house, together with a short detail of their history, supposing that Mr. Lovegood, with his wonted wisdom and readiness of mind, might know how to improve the event, by introducing such wise, though indirect remarks, as might be best calculated to do them good. The result of that day's services, it is to be hoped, will prove sufficiently interesting to captivate the reader's attention, and to improve his mind.

« НазадПродовжити »