« AnteriorContinuar »
was only withheld from his inability HARRIET VERNON;
to provide for me as a wife.
I was not convinced that such OR,
were his sentiments until a few CHARACTERS FROM Real Life. days previous to his quitting Enge
land, and after I had engaged myA NOVEL,
self to the colonel. It was then my
resolution to forget him' failed me: In a Series of Letters.
had I been indifferent to him, my
reason and prudence would have con BY A LADY.
quered my own inclination. (Continued from p. 245.)
After disclosing my mind to Mrs. Ambrose, and she had written to
her brother, think, Madam, what LETTER XXII.
uneasiness I must feel with respect to
what his sentiments might be of my Miss Maria Vernon to Miss West. conduct. I dreaded above all things
he should think me capricious, or My dear Madam,
ungrateful. In proportion to the THE last week has made a con uneasiness was the joy I experienced siderable alteration in my affairs. in the perusal of the inclosed letter I dread to lay before you my cona written to myself, and another to his duct, lest I should incur blame from sister, 'both which could only be a quarter I am most solicitous to
dictated by the most generous of obiain approbation from.
I likewise inclose the
of (Miss Vernon then relates what my answer, which I hope you will passed between Mrs. Ambrose and approve. As I was fully resolved herself to the same effect, written to disclose the whole affair to my by that lady to her brother, and then brother, let'what would be the conproceeds:]
sequence, I entreated Mrs. Ambrose Thus called upon, what could I to suffer me to return home for that do, my dear madam, but lay be purpose. I would have wished to fore this worthy lady the state of have left Harriet behind; but her my heart without reserve? She used sisterly affection would not permit many arguments to induce me to her to leave me, aud we returned conquer this unfortunate attachment, together. We were surprised, on enas she thinks it; but, alas ! I had tering the parlour, to find our broargued them before without success. ther traversing the room, in a seem
Were I not sensible I could not, ing passion, with a letter in his in my present state of mind, make hand. the colonel happy as a wife, I would So!' exclaimed te, here's a bave resolved to make the sacrifice fine week's work turned out! I have
my advice, and married him while hold on the colonel, as there was no he was in the mind, it would now witness to a promise of marriage. have been too late to alter it. I It would be tedious to relate all knew it would come to this.'
that passed. I found it impossible to I then proceeded to tell him, as persuade him of the truth of what I well as I was able, the whole truth, had told him ; more especially, as not omitting my attachment to Mr. Harriet, to whom I referred, mainWentworth; but when I had finish- tained an obstinate silence. Never ed, and expected nothing less than was I angry with the dear girl bea dismission from his favour, he an fore. She insists on it she was right, swered me in the following man for she argues it was necessary to ner :- Was you born a fool, Ma- my interest that my brother should ria; or do you think I was;'
persist in his error. ·Had he believed Neither, brother,' said I, trem- you,' said she, the consequence bling.
would have been that you must • Well, then, unless you was born have been thrown on the world, or an absolute idiot, it is impossible the colonel, for a support.'-- I see the you could have acted as you pre- truth of her remark, but I was tend; and unless I had been born the anxious to vindicate the honour of same, it is impossible you can make my gencrous friend: unworthy should me believe it, when I have besides I be of that generosity were I capable in my possession such a letter as of bestowing a thought on my own this from the colonel. 'Here, read interest.—How totally devoid of deliit,' said he. Does he not say, in cacy must my brother be to believe direct terms, he has altered his mind it impossible that a young woman as to making you his wife? If your could act as I have done; and what story was true, would not any man an idea must lae have of the world have complained to me of such ill- to suppose there is not such a chatreatment on your side; or, eveh racter in it as the generous colonel suppose he was disposed to have Ambrose ! made you appear not so blameable as • I shall,' said my brother, 'anin such a case you would have been, swer this letter immediately, in a think you he would have taken all manner the gentleman, perhaps, may the blame on himself? No, no; I not like; and this evening I will know the world better : you must bring home from the club my friend not think to impose on me.'
lawyer Dixon, who will give me bis “To what purpose, brother, should opinion in this matter gratis. · la I impose on you?"
the mean time, I recommend to you, Nay, that I cannot answer; but if you value my favour, to speak the I suppose, as he says you declare truth, to acknowledge you are made yourself satisfied in the matter, you a fool of. You are not the first have between you agreed to trump woman that has been served the up this story to amuse me: but I same, though they may, like yon, be am not to be made a dupe of; the too proud to own it. I am sorry for law shall direct who is the dupe.' you, and should be more so if you Frightened to death with this
were open and above board, and had threat, I was about to fall on my not attempted to impose such an imknees and entreat him to alter his probable tale upon me, who know purpose; but Harriet whispered me
ihe world as well as any man upon it was impossible the law could lay 'Change.'
So saying, he walked out of the Maria startled at his entrance, and, room. Wbat answer could' I have attempting to courtseys was forced made to such a speech? Had he to lay hold on the back of the chair. staid, I could only have answered Jerry looked scared, and instantly by my tears. I inclose you a copy of left the room ; while I just nodded the colonel's letter to my brother: my head to the strange figure, and you will see how desirous he is to took my seat close to Maria, a little acquit me in his eyes.-Harriet says, behind her, as I agreed, 'that I might I must not persist any further in jog her elbow when she behaved my intention of undeceiving our amiss; and a sad piece of work had brother; and indeed, such is his I to keep her in order. My brother obstinacy in any opinion he adopts, and his learned friend placed themthat I believe it would be a vain selves in two arm-chairs opposite attempt. No consideration, how- us. And now, after a few obever, can induce me to accuse the servations on the weather, we thus colonel,
began :I dread this lawyer's visit. Har Lawyer Which of the young riet says she has no doubt but it women before me is the person who will be managed very well: she will is deceived by colonel Ambrose, by inform you of all the particulars.
promise of marriage ?' I now lay down my pen, with the Erother. The tallest of thetwo.' request of a line from you as soon
Harriet.-'Must westand up, sir?' as convenient. Your leiters I con
Lawyer. - No, I can perceive the sider as an invaluable treasure, but difference. If the aforesaid colonel at this time they will be particu. Ambrose has made you a promise of larly acceptable to your ever obliged marriage before a witness, or has
certified under his hand, either by MARIA VERNON. letter or note, sealed or unsealed,
such to be his intention; and whereLETTER XXIII.
as, he has now declared by his letter
that he has altered his mind, withMiss Harriet Vernon to Miss West. out assigning any cause or impe
diment to warrant the said altera
tion; it is my opinion an action will I FIND Maria has promised your lie against him, and that damages good mother that I should inform may be obtained to a large amount.' you of all the particulars respecting
Brother (rubbing his hands),-I this terrible law-suit about to com
thought so, I thought so; I told mence against the poor colonel.
Let me shake you by the I will endeavour to fulfil her pro- hand, neighbour Dixon. You unmise, though it really was a scene
derstand the law as well as any man which requires an abler pen than in England.--How much do you mine to do it justice. I believe I think ihese damages will amount
Harriet.' But suppose, sir, we young lady, and she declares herself cannot produce the witness, or the perfectly satisfied in the matter.'— letter you allude to?'
[He does not specify what matter he Brother.-Suppose yourself a wrote to the young lady about: we are fool. What business have you to to conjecture that it was to decline the start difficulties !'
marriage; but as he does not in direct Lawyer.—' Can you swear, young terms say so, this paragraph likewise woman, that colonel Ambrose ever is of no importance.] As that is promised you marriage?'
the ,case, and she is the principal Maria.-Yes, sir, I can.' person concerned, I see not why the
Lawyer. - Can you recollect the affair should be talked of. I hope to exact terms he made use of on the have the pleasure of meeting you and occ:sion!'
your sisters as old friends when I Maria.-'I cannot say I do.' come to town; in the mean time,
Brother.- Did he say, Will you I am, sir.' Why, really, Mr. marry me, in plain terms ??
Vernon, this is, as I observed before, Maria. - Those were not his a bad business, and I fear nothing words; but it certainly was his can be done in it. This letter proves, meaning.'
indeed, an intention to marry one of Lawyer.' And you can swear your sisters, but it by no means you understood that to be his in- proves a promise. Really, sir, I fear tention?'
nothing can be done; that is, I mean Maria.-Undoubtedly I did.' nothing can be s•id with any serLawyer.-'Can you produce a tainty. If you will incur the expence witness, or promise under his hand?' of a law-suit, I will undertake to reMaria.- No, I cannot.'
tain able counsel, and it may be Lawyer.— A sad business this! brought to a favourable issue. I I fear nothing can be done.'
have no objection to undertake the Brother. I fear no such a thing. cause.' This letter from the colonel proves Brother. You undertake the all that is necessary: read it, Mr. cause! You understand not so much Dixon.'
of the law as myself. I see, by your The lawyer took it, and thus read manner of reading the colonel's leto it, with his remarks, to the court : ter, you do not. I tell you, Sir,
• Sir, you will be surprised at the that letter is proof sufficient, if you contents of this letter, which is to do not purposely explain away its inform you that I have altered my meaning.' mind with regard to marrying your Lawyer. Sir, my practice has sister. (Now this implies it was his been very extensive, and intention to have married one of Brother._Don't tell me of your your sisters, but it does not specify extensive practice: the more shame which, or prove a promise of mar for you, then.' riage to either of the said young wo. Lawyer.- Sir, I shall not stay in men.] It is my intention to follow your house to be insulted. I have your example, and continue a ba- given my opinion, for which I expect chelor. Now, I hope you will not the accustomed fče.' take amiss this alteration in my sen Lrother.--Expect, then; and ex
Simonto and IA
Lawyer.- Sir, I cannot stay to on her situation. But I will not urgue this point at present: I have dwell on this subject; I will not business of great importance with accustom myself to look only on the some clients, who are now waiting dark side of the picture. In the for me at the City coffee-house.' present case, I will hope every thing
Brother. Your servant, sir: I from time; I will hope that Mr. bave business too, so we are on a
Wentworth will return in a few par on that point.'
years from India, possessed of wealth So saying, our wise brother took and a heart all Maria's; that nohimself 'out at one door, while the thing will prevent their union, and sagacious lawyer went out at the that the generous colonel will be hapa other, without deigning to look at Ma- py in the possession of some other deria or me, who were not a little rea' serving woman, who, in his estimajoiced at their departure, and the tion, will compensate the loss he now breaking up of the court.
laments. What a pleasing picture My brother did not return home have I drawn, and what a happy till late, and had, he informed us, person will your Harriet be if these been to Doctor's-commons; but find her wishes should be realised! I ing that no counsel could be procured cannot conclude this letter better under a guinea, he had wisely deter. than by transcribing the following mined to drop the matter. We said lines to Hope, from an admired poem Little; and after listening attentively by miss Bowdler. for an hour to invectives against the
• Friend to the wretch whose bosom knows expences of law-suits, and the ima
no joy! positions of the professors of the Parent of bliss beyond the reach of fate! law, we went quietly to bed.
Celestial hope! thou gift divine! Maria is much easier and hap- When pains torment, and cares annoy,
Sweet balm of grief! 6 still be mine. pier, she declares, than she has been Thou only can their force abate, for some months. I have brought And gild the gloom which shades this mortas her to acquiesce in my advice to let the matter rest, and not endeavour • Though oft thy joys are false and vain, to undeceive our brother in the
Though anxious doubts attend thy train,
Though disappointment mock thy care, strange opinion he has adopted.
And point the way to fell despair; Were it possible to undeceive him, yet still my secret soul shall own thy power I am certain the consequence would
lo sorrow's bitterest pang, in pleasure's gago be dreadful to Maria. I am sure,
est hour.' dear Susan, you will join me in love I was just going to seal my letter, ing and admiring our friend the when a knock at the door announced colonel ; and regretting that it was the arrival of a visitor. Dorcas hob. not in Maria's power to bestow on bled up stairs to me to inform me him that heart he was so desirous Mr. Colonel was come, and that 10 possess, and which he so highly miss Maria was in such a taking, dezerves, The probability of her she never saw the like. ever being united to Weniworth, I - Where is she?' said I. think, is but little : it must be many · dear, lack a-day! she did but years before he can acquire sufficient just spy nion through the window, to enable him to return to his na and down she ran into the kitchen, tive country; to say nothing of his declaring she could not stay in the not being equally attached to her parlour. She told me to run up I am really distressed when I reflect to you, though goodness knows I