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THE

NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.

THE GURNEY PAPERS.NO. XVII.

THERE is nothing in the world like a confidante, somebody into whose ear one can pour his sorrows, and who is sufficiently devoted to him to listen with interest to the recital of the calamities by which he is oppressed and afflicted. As the world goes, and as man is constructed, the friend who will suffer this, and not offer advice, unless specially requested, is one of the greatest treasures to be found on earth.

In my present position such a person was absolutely indispensable to me. In the announcement contained in Nubley's letter I saw the inevitable destruction of all my hopes and expectations; and, moreover, the fiat for my immediate relinquishment of all those present luxuries and comforts which my poor deluded brother's liberality had permitted me to enjoy.

Why not confide the affair to your wife?” naturally enough would

say the first person to whom I stated the critical peculiarity of my position. In many, in most cases perhaps, nothing could be wiser or more reasonable for a man to do; but in mine, such a course would have been as dangerous as ineffectual. Harriet's feelings upon the subject were so uncontrollably violent, and her prejudices so unconquerably strong, that, possessing neither the power to check the progress of the great event which was to overwhelm us, nor the ability of suggesting the means whereby we were, if possible, to escape the ruin which threatened, she would have fallen into a paroxysm of rage at the successful duplicity of Mrs. Brandyball, and the lamentable credulity of her victim: there would have been a scene, terrible to witness, whence no possible advantage could result. Her affection fur me would have blinded her to every other feature of the case, and, in all probability, to ensure her tranquillity I must have consented at once to cut the knot, abandoned Ashmead, and finally and entirely renounce all farther connexion with my nearest relation.

Now, after all, although it was perfectly true that nothing could be more unpleasant to us, or perhaps more indiscreet in Cuthbert, than the alliance he was about to enter into, it was equally true that he had an indisputable right to do as he liked with the fortune he had himself acquired by long toil in distant lands, and that, however absurd and even dangerous to his future happiness the course he had chosen to adopt might appear to us, still, if he felt that his comfort would be secured by a second marriage, what possible right had I to rise up in May.-Vol. LIII. NO. ccix.

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rebellion against my own brother, and dictate to him the disposition of his accumulated wealth, or involve myself in an unnatural quarrel upon a point with which, if selfishness was not the ground of my opposition, I could have no possible right to interfere ?

Ay, but,” Harriet would have said, “ you mistake the matter, dear Gilbert. It is not selfishness, nor covétousness, nor any interested feeling, which should prompt you to break off this ridiculous match if possible. Your uncompromising hostility to it is induced by a love for him, who has no living relative but yourself, and to whom you are bound by ties of blood, affection, and gratitude.”_" Mighty well, Harriet,” I might have replied; "but supposing Cuthbert on his arrival in England had exerted his influence over me-much greater, for a thousand reasons, than mine could now be over himto break off my marriage with a young lady of no fortune, upon the ground of some personal pique, or dislike, or upon the general score of imprudence. How should we have regarded his interference then ?This, in reasoning, was all philosophical enough, and in principle equally just; but still, if, as Harriet would have contended, Cuthbert was not a free agent, and if he had been deluded and worked upon by a dangerous designing woman, there did exist a sufficient difference between the two cases to permit, at least, the trial of remonstrance, with the view of ascertaining the exact proportions in which self-will and the influence of another person were combined for the effectuation of the " great end ” about to be achieved.

In the difficulties by which I was surrounded, it struck me that the very best course I could adopt before I either answered Nubley's letter or decided upon any practical measure, would be to consult my worthy father-in-law, although I took the step with the extremely unsatisfactory conviction on my mind that whatever was decided upon would prove useless and ineffectual. Judge then my surprise, when having invited the reverend gentleman to a conference, at finding him perfectly aware of the intended union, the fact having been that morning communicated to him by Sniggs, who had received the intelligence, sub rosû, from Mrs. Brandyball

, in a letter, the main object of which it appeared was to detach poor little Jane from Ashmead, and secure her return to Montpelier in time for the wedding.

“But how,” said I to Wells,“ how came this intriguing apothecary, who appears to be preferred in the confidence of my brother to his oldest friend Nubley, to have been authoritatively made acquainted with an important and decided change in our family, even before myself—what can have induced him to impart this private and confidential communication to

you. Sniggs shall speak for himself,” said my father-in-law. good deal affected by the letter and its contents, and nothing but a fear of misapprehension hindered him from coming with the news to you direct. When I got your summons, I wrote to him to desire him to call at the same time, concluding, from the tone of your note, that you had heard of the affair from Nubley, and therefore anxious that our Galen here should have the credit of his first intention.”

“ But, Sniggs,” said I, “ has behaved

“Let him explain himself,” said Wells," we are none of us perfect. I think, when he states his case, you will be inclined to entertain a better opinion of his conduct than you now hold."

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