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er the superstructure le lastag which is built on such a slight foundation. I leave you to the stings of your own conscience. I am the injured.
The Gentleman s Reply. MY DEAR MARIA,
For by that name I must still call you ; has cruelty entered into your tender nature, or has some designing wretch imposed on your credulity? My dear, I am not what you have represented. I am neither false nor perjured; I never proposed marriage to Miss Benson; I never intended it; and my sole reason for walking with her was, that I had been on a visit to her brother, whom you know is my attorney.. And was it any fault in me to take a walk in the fields with him and his sister ? Surely prejudice itself cannot say so: but I am afraid you have been imposed upon by some designing person, who had private views and private ends to answer by such business. But whatever may have been the cause,
I am entirely innocent; and to convince you of my sincerity, beg that the day of marriage may be next week. My affections never so much as wandered from the dear object of my love; in you are centred all my hopes of felicity; with you only can I be happy. Keep me not in misery one moment longer, by entertaining groundless jealousies against one who loves you in a manner superior to the whole of your sex; and I can set at defiance even malice itself. Let me beg your answer by my servant, which will make me either happy or miserable. I have sent a small parcel by the bearer, which I hope you will accept, and believe me, my dear,
LETTER 127. From a young Officer, ordered to his regiment in Minorca, to @ .
young Lady whom he had courted. MY DEAR,
I can scarce hold my pen. An order has just now arrived from the war office, by which I am obliged to set sail tomorrow for Minorca, without having the pleasure of seeing you. What unhappiness to us, and devastation among the human race lias the ambition of princes, and the perfidiousness of ministers occasioned! Husbands obliged to leave their wives, and their dear little children ; every relation is broken ; and we may well say with Addison
What havoc has ambition made ! But what is this to my present purpose ? Like all others in a state of Jistraction, I am obliged to write nonsense, if any thing can be so called where the name of my dear charmer is found. Did you know, my dear, what a struggle I have between love and duty, you would consider me as an object of compassion. I am bound by the most solemn oaths to be yours, and at the same time duty obliges me to draw my sword in defence of the rights of my injured country; and, whatever dangers may wait for me, I would meet them with the greatest cheerfulness were sure of possessing one place in your heart. But why do I say one ? 1 must brve all or none; I cannot bear the most distant thought that you would place your affectious on another. No, my dear, wcre that to hap pen, I woulů act the part of Genera Campbell, at the fatal battle of Fontenoy, by rushing on the sword of the enemy to put an end to a wea. ry existence. I should cheerfully lay down my life, which could be of sinall value, were i to be separated from yo!. But why do I doubt! I know my charmer is as virtuous as she is beautiful, and that nothing but my own conduct can ever make her discard me.
But is not absence death to those who love? However, I have the pleasing reflection yet left, that whilst I am in a distant part of die world, attending my duly, I shall be remembered by her whose prayers: for my preservation will be acceptable to that God who loves virtue, ivho is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. Nothing in this world can ever be so dear to me as you are. Believe all I say, and I am happy. I I do any thing that may appear wrong, inform me of it, and it sliall be my first care to confess my fault and amend. I desire your advice in every thing ; but, alas ! separation will render it difficult, though not impossible. Not having had time to settle with our agent, I have left an order for that purpose. Let me beg that you will visit my dear mother; she will estecm it as a respect shown to me. I have often told you what an excellent woman she is, and I am fully persuaded you will find her so; yes, more so than I ever mentioned. We are to stop at Gibraltar, where I hope to have a letter from you. If it comes too late the Governor will forward it to Minorca. Once more, my dear, farewell; continue to be mine, and all the vicissitudes and dangers of war will appear as trifles; and, when peace shall again bless the nations, I will fly on the wings of love to the arms of my dearest angel, and spend with her the remainder of my days.
am your sineere lover. LETTER 128.
The Lady's Answer DEAR CHARLES,
If your hand could scarcely hold the pen, I am afraid this will appear unintelligible, being wet with tears from beginning to end. When your letter arrived we ivere drinking tea, and my father reading the newspaper, wherein it was said that all the officers in the army were ordered to join their regiments. I was a good deal alarmed, but some hopes remained, till the fatal letter convinced me that my suspicions were too well founded. Alas ! how vain are human expectations! In the morning we dream of happiness, and before evening are really miserable. I was promising to myself that one month would have joined our hands, and now we are separated, perhaps for years, if not forever. For, how do I know but the next post may bring me an account of your being killed in battle, and then farewell every thing in this world. My pleasing prospects will then vanish, and, although unmarried, will remain a widow till death. And is it possible you can doubt ore moment of my sincerity; or do you think that those affections can ever be placed on another which were first placed on you, from a convincing proof of your accomplishments and merit ? No, my dear, my fidelity to you main as unspotted as this paper, before it was blotted with ink and be dewed with tears I know not how others love, but my engagements
are for etern ty. You desire me to remind you of your duty. I know not of any faults, nor am I disposed to look for them. I doubt net but the seligious education you have received in your youth will enable you to resist the strongest temptation; and, like that everlasting honor to the army, Col. Garılner, although not afraid to fight yet you will be afraid
However terrifying it may be to meet death in the field, yet it is far more awful to appear before a just God whom we have offended by our iniquities. I have been reading Hume's History of England, who says, that at the battle of Hastings, when the Saxon monarchy was overthrown by the Normans, the latter, though under arms all night, yet were servent in their devotions, whilst the English, who thought themselves secure of victory, were spending their time in riot and drunkenness. But, alas ! the next day exl::bited a different scene. The Nor mans became conquerors, after killing many thousands of the enemy; and such are commonly the fatal effects of debauchery. There is not one body of people in the world accused of irreligion more than the military, and from the very nature of their employinent none are more obliged to practice every Christian duty. They see thousands of their fellow creatures hurried into eternity, nor do they know but the next may be themselves. My dear Charles, never be ashamed of religion. A consciousness of your integrity will inspire you with real courage in Ule day of battle ; and if you should at last die in defence of the just rights of your country, the divine favor will be your comfort through eternity. In the mean time my prayers shall constantly be for your safety and preservation, and my earnest hopes fixed on your happy re
I have obtained leave of my parents to reside with your mother during the summer, which will at least be some consolation to me in your absence. Let me hear froin you as often as possible, but never doubt of my fidelity. Consider me as already yours and I am satisfied. Fare. well, my dear, and may the wisdom of God direct you, and his providence be your guard, is the sincere prayer of her who prefers you before all the world.
I can no longer do so great violence to my own inclinations, and injustice to your charms and merits, as to retain within my own breast those sentiments of esteem and affection with which you have inspird me.
I should bave hazarded this discovery much sooner, but was restrain, ed by a dread of meeting censure for my prosumption iň aspiring to a lady whom beauty, wit, and fortune have conspired to raise so higla above my reasonable expectations.
You liave judgment enouglı, both of your own good qualities, and the characters of those with whom you converse, to make a proper estimate of my sincerity on this occasion. I am above deceit, and liave not herefore, at any period co our acquaintance, pretended to be a man of creater property thail & ,hich conduct í hicve will tend to convince you of my general sincerity. Believe mo, my dearest Annette, were our circumstances reversed, I should hardly take to myself the credit of doing a generous action, in overlooking the consideration of wealth, and making you an unreserved tender of my hand and fortune. I shall await your answer in a state of unpleasant impatience, and therefore rely on your humanity not to keep me long in suspense.
I am, madam, your most humble servant.
Giving you credit, as I do, for an elevation of mind capable of the most generous sentiments, I cannot believe you guilty of the meanness of speculating on the heart of a lady with a view to her property. Knowing your accomplished manners, and cultivated understanding, I feel the greatest obligation to you for the polite and affectionate declaration con. cained in your letter. In an affair of so much importance, however, I must refer myself entirely to the discretion of my father. At the same time 1 must caution you against feeling hurt at minute inquiries, and resolute objections, which perhaps may be made; young people think too little of wealth, old ones perhaps too much; but I know my father's prudence and kindness so well, as to pledge myself to abide by his final decision, whatever pain it may cost me. Yet I advise you not to despair of success, as you will find a warm and zealous advocate in
Your sincere friend and humble servant.
LETTER 131. From a Gentleman of some fortune, who had seen a Lady in pub.
lic, to her Mother. MADAM,
I shall be very happy if you are not altogether unacquainted with the name which is at the bottom of this letter, since that will prevent me tho necessity of saying some things concerning myself which had better be heard from others. Hoping that it may be so, I shall not trouble you on that head; but only say, that I have the honor to be of a family not mean, and not wholly without a fortune.
I was yesterday, madam, at the rehearsal at St. Paul's, and have been informed that a lady who commanded my attention there has the aappiness to be your daughter. It is on account of that lady that I now write to you ; but I am aware you will say this is a rash and an idle manner of attempting an acquamtance. I have always been of opinion that nothing deserves censure which is truly honorable and undisguised. I take the freedom to tell you, madam, that I believe she is worthy of a much better offer ; but I am assured my happiness will depend upon her accepting or refusing this. In the first place I request to know whether the lady be engaged, for I am an entire stranger ; and if she be not, I beg, that after having informed yourself who it is that wishes to be in. groduced to her, you will do me the favor of letting me be answered. I am very much an enemy, madam, to the asual nonsense upon these occasions; but it would be injustice to myself to conclude without saying that niy mind would be very ill at easc until I know now this audress is roccived. I have the honor to be, madam, with the greatest respect,
Your very obedient humble servant.
The Mother's Ansider. SIR,
The letter which you have done me the honor to write to me speaks you a gentleman and a man of sense. I am sorry to acquaint you, tha: after such a prepossession in your favor, I am for more than one reason desirous to decline the offer you are pleased to make of an alliance in my family. My daughter is very dear to me, and I think she has cast an eye elsewhere: I think there is something indelicate and improper in this wild manner of engaging in an attachment, and in pleading in favor of it. 'I wish you had known my daughter more before you had spoke so much, aad had met with me among my acquaintance to have mentioned it. I am convinced, sir, I do not think more of you than I may with justice, when I confess to you that I believe you would be mons than an equal match for my daughter; for though she has (and suffer me, sir, although sbe is my child, to say it) great merit, her fortune, al. though not quite inconsiderable, is not great. You will see, sir, that I waver in my opinion upon this subject; but you must attribute it to the true cause; and believe that every thing which has, be it ever so remote, a tendency to my danghter's welfare, will make me very cautious of determining. To give you my final sense, (at least what is final to me at present) I have not a thought of asking who it is that has thus favored us, nor would advise my daughter to remember it. I thank you, sir, in her name as well as my own, for the honor you intend us, and am, sir,
Your most obedient servant.
LETTER 133 Mom a young Tradesman to a Gentleman, desiring permission to
visit hrs Daughter. BIR,
I flaster myself that the integrity of my intention will exciise the freedom of these few lines, whereby I am to acquaint you of the great regard and esteem I have for your daughter. I would not, sir, attempt any indirect address, that should have the least appearance of inconsistency with her duty to you, and my honorable views to her, choosing by your infuence, if I may approve myself to you worthy of that bonor, to commend myself to her approbation. You are not insensible, sir, by the credit I have hitherto preserved in the world, of my ability, by God's blessing, to make her happy. This rather emboldens me to request the favor of an evening's conversation with you, at your first convenience; when I will more fully explain myself, as I earnestly hope, to your satisfaction, and take my encouragement or discouragement from your own mouth. I am, sir, in the mean time, with great respect,
Your humble servant