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of the family were compelled to bow to the will of the heir apparent, which, of course, on one side inspired jealousy and envy, and, on the other, pride and overbearance. Still a heart like my father's, formed for all the softer sentiments, could not sometimes avoid feeling acutely pained by the division of those links which nature designed to be united, and he frequently expressed his sensations in spite of wounded pride. Two years, however, passed in uninterrupted felicity, except when intruding thoughts respecting the haughty conduct of my uncle intervened; and during that period I made my appearance on the theatre of life.
Though little had seemed wanting to complete the felicity of iny parents, yet a new tide of happiness flowed into their breastsa new cement appeared to unite the bonds of wedlock-a new source was bestowed upon them of increasing bliss.. They vied with each other in marks of parental tenderness; I was scarcely suffered to be one moment out of their sight; and so much was I the idol of my father's affection, that my nurse regularly followed him on the parade. This mode of conduct in a man less dignifiedly brave than my father, would have exposed him alike to censure and ridicule; but his valor was too well known, and his character too
kishlu anulanded. for ́any re
life; but destiny throws a veil over futurity, and presumption alone can foretel, the succeeding years of a child. Siniling was the prospect which then surrounded me, (and the perspective was equally bright); yet, as Cato observes, Clouds and darkness rested upon it, though Providence dispersed them, when in mercy he saw right.
Moral reflections, I fear, my readers will consider as obtrusive; and therefore I will return to my narration; yet not supposing a little novelty would be offensive. Calibs, who certainly gave rise to these adventures, has hazardously trod upon much more hallowed ground, and not only introduced moral, but religious subjects. Whether a theme of that sacred import ought to be blended with a novel, or whether it ought to be confined to theological works, I shall not take upon myself to answer, though I mean to avoid treading in the hallowed path.
Though a cessation of arms had induced several officers in my father's regiment to solicit permission to visit their native country for a certain period, yet as private intelligence had reached England of the hostile intentions of some of the neighbouring princes, they received orders to return; and,. soon after their arrival, several different provinces were openly engaged in war. My father's long residence in, and perfect acquaint
it's success the teriniuatiou of the enterprise he was undertaking war in a great measure seemed to should terminate his military ca? depend,' he undertook it with a reer. Carefully, however, did Tre zeal and alacrity which did honor conceal the violence of those struga to himself as well as bis men. My gles which took place between a poor mother, who was then far ad- sense of honor and connubiat'and vanced in a second pregnancy, paternal regard; and, whilst his not only foresaw the danger which spirits were actually depressed by attended it, but was oppressed by the foreboding representations of one of those foreboding presenti, his beloved Caroline, he'appeared ments of it's fatality, for which with all the cheerfulness of a man there is no possibility of ac- 'unexposed to danger. counting
*tivitwithstanding, Although proud of that fame pointed out the necessity of prewhich the object of her affection cantion, and, previous to taking had already purchased, yet she leave of his fanily, hệ settled 'ati could not support the idea of his his worlally concerns, leaving' iny undertaking so dangerous an en- respected mother aid a Colonel terprise ; she did not, it is true, Gordon joint guardians of my inwish him to resign his commission, fancy, as well as of that of the litor do any thing that could throw tle unborn. Over the parting the slightest stigma upon' his scene which took place between name, but, as there were many my beloved parents I shall drář older, and more experienced of the veil of concealinent, though it ficers at Calcutta, she wished him, has frequently been related to me under a pretence of doubting his by an old and confidential serown abilities, to decline the em- vant. ploy; and, in the words of the All that valor 'could perform, fair Andromache, oft said to him, or cool intrepidity accomplish,
was done by the troops which my q! stay my Hector here, and guard father commanded; and, though thy Troy;
many 'hundred lives were sacri
upon the occasioni, victory'at or, in another part of that beauti- length declared for the English.
' ful picture of wedded love,
My brave father was wounded by • Thy wife, thy infant, in thy dangers inencement of the engagement,
a dart from the enemy at the coinshare; · 0! prove a husband's, and a father's but not finding it deep, and not care!'
apprehending it's bareful influ
ence, undauntedly led on his men; In these scenes of bloodshed but after victory was decided, and and slaughter where my respected he was giving orders respecting father had justly reaped honor, the wounded prisoners, an unifame, and fortune,' he had no be- versal faintness overspread his ing to consider but himself; but frame; the surgeon was sumiuoncircumstances were now totally ed, who instantly pronounced that different, and his manly heart the dart by which he had been
, trembled when he reflected upon wounded was poisoned. the pangs his adored Caroline
Pity and consternation ran would endure, if fate decreed the through the whole army-perer
was a man more deservedly beloved; all human help, however, proved vain and fruitless, for he expired in less than two hours. Upon the first shout of victory, a messenger had been dispatched to Calcutta, with intelligence of the commander of the expedition's safety and health; for of so slight a nature did my father consider the wound which proved mortal, that he did not even mention it. Judge then of my ill-fated mother's feelings, when a second messenger was sent, conveying the melancholy and unexpected information of my ever-to-be-lamented father's death! Her situation at that period rendered such a shock peculiarly afflictive: I had scarcely completed my second year, and in a few weeks she expected to give birth to another helpless mortal, whom fate had never destined to receive a father's protecting care.
Scarcely had my distracted mother heard the appaling intelligence of her beloved husband's death, than she declared her resolution of going immediately to the camp. In vain did her brother urge her to relinquish a resolution which could answer no other purpose that that of giving an additional shock to her feelings; and in vain did her friends persuade her to be guided by his opinion; she was inflexible even to obstinacy, and she returned with the messenger who had been sent. Accompanied by her brother, and
fits, from which she was as repeatedly roused by the acuteness of bodily suffering, as the anguish of her mind brought on the pangs of child-bearing.
How to act in this dreadful situation my uncle knew not; however, her increasing tortures demanded immediate attention, and, upon arriving at the camp, she was conveyed, almost lifeless, into the first tent that afforded relief and succour. Surgeons of course were numerous, and the most eminent instantly sent for; when, after enduring for fortyeight hours the most exquisite tortures, she was delivered of a still-born child.
That fond affectionate mother was no sooner made acquainted with that circumstance, than she returned the Almighty thanks, exclaiming, I bless thee, O my God! for this mark of thy mercy! I shall soon join the spirits of my husband and infant in the realms of eternal bliss! My boy, that dear pledge of conjugal affection,' continued she, I leave, my dearest brother, to your fatherly care; inspire him with veneration for his father's virtues; but do not encourage in his youthful bosom a desire of glory, or a propensity for ....'
Here a sudden faintness overwhelmed her, and her spotless spirit took it's flight. Grief and horror so completely annihilated my respected uncle's faculties, that he was unable to make any
fail making an impression upon
The last sad ceremony paid to
My father, as has been observed, previous to his taking command of the post of danger, had arranged all his temporal concerns, and by that arrangement had left me under the protection of my mother and uncle by the sudden death of my amiable mother, my uncle of course became sole guardian of my infancy, and for some years he scrupulously fulfilled the important trust. I had just completed my fifth year, when the ill health of my uncle compelled him to try the effects of his native air, though he had previously resolved to send me to England, for the superior advantages of education. Nothing material occurred during our voyage, except that my uncle, or father, as I always termed him, found a material alteration in his health, even before he reached England; and a two months residence in Bath immediately after his arrival perfectly re-established it.
Industry and application, united to good abilities. had enabled my
venturers, and of the latter description was the honorable Mrs. S, the widow of the youngest son of a nobleman, whose husband had died insolvent. Mrs. S however, had contrived to preserve her jointure in spite of law and lawyers; and what was stillmore surprising, contrived to support five children and a dashing equipage with six hundred a-year!
The Hon. Mrs. Shad, just laid aside her first mourning, when my uncle opportunely ar rived at Bath, and, as fame soon magnified his ample fortune, she resolved to commence an attack. Nature had been very bountiful to me as a little fellow, and the heat of climate had not robbed me of that glow of health which added beauty to a set of features tolerably well formed. My uncle's partiality was so strong and truly parental, that he seldom permitted me to be out of his sight; yet he sometimes trusted me with a confidential domestic to play at trap-ball in some adjoining fields. With this circumstance Mrs. S soon made herself acquainted, and sent her youngest son Adolphus (a boy about two years older than myself), to play upon the same spot; and, as had been predicted, we soon formed an acquaintance, and soon afterwards my new friend invited me to his mother's house.
Cakes, sweetmeats, oranges, &c. &c. were profusely bestowed upon me, and not in vain; for, when I returned home, I could
nest visit. Had I been in league with Mrs. S, I could not have promoted the success of her schemes more effectually than I did, by the artless effusions of a grateful heart; for never was a doating father more tenderly attached to the child of his old age, than my uncle was to me, his adopted son.
est of whom was at Eton; a se cond at a school of less consequence; two girls under the care of a private governess, and Adolphus, the boy who had actually paved the way to his mother's prosperous alliance.
Bath was not a place to trifle with interest or happiness. Mrs. Swas certain; and she was resolved not to let a man of my supposed father's property slip through her fingers-I say supposed father, because he always introduced me as his offspring, and I was too young to retain any recollection of my real parent; the servants, likewise, had received orders never to mention him from the time my uncle had resolved to adopt me as his own. Mrs. Sheard from her son, that my uncle frequently walked into the field where we played trap-ball, and resolved to adopt that method of forming a personal acquaintance with him. Prepared to admire a being who had displayed so much disinterested kindness to the object of his affection, he accosted her with a mixture of politeness and gratitude; whilst the delighted Mrs. S protested I was the loveliest creature upon earth, and concluded her highfinished compliment, by protesting I was the image of my father.
Not to fatigue my readers by a tedious recital of the artful widow's plans upon my uncle, I shall merely inform them that they ultimately succeeded, and that the Honorable Mrs. Sin a very short period became the wife of the affluent Mr. Melville. children has
Though my reputed father had resided so many years in a country where pomp and ostentation are peculiarly displayed, yet he had a natural antipathy to every species of parade. The wedding was consequently completely private, in compliance with the bridegroom's wishes; yet Mrs. S―― took care her own servants should publish it, though she artfully pretended to condemn their prattling. On the following day, congratulation followed congratulation, and my poor uncle was forced to submit to a form completely painful to him; in short, the bride's acquaintances, or rather friends, appeared so completely numerous, that he began to think their never would be an end to their visits. The attachment between the new-married pair had been carried on with such unwearied assiduity, that neither had time to converse upon their future destination, or domestic plans as love, all-powerful love, was the constant topic of conversation, and totally banished every other subject. My new mother's astonishment and embarrassment were therefore both excited, when my father, three days after their union, proposed immediately quitting Bath: For my dear Maria,' said he, this eternal round of congratulation exhausts my spirits, and interferes with all rational comfort; we will therefore, if you please, leave these curious friends of yours, and enjoy each other's