Imagens das páginas

friend-before you loved me he was anxious for my happiness, and often visited me, to lament with and console me. I cannot see him turned out of your house without feeling for him what he once felt for me."

Lord Elmwood turned aside to conceal his sensations-then raising her from the floor, he said, "Do you know what he has asked of me ?"

"No,"-answered she in the utmost ignorance, and with the utmost innocence painted on her face;" but whatever it is, my lord, though you do not grant it, yet pardon him for asking." "Perhaps you would grant him what he has requested?" said her father.

"Most willingly-was it in my gift."

"It is," replied he. "Go to him in the library, and hear what he has to say; for on your will his fate shall depend."

Like lightning she flew out of the room; while even the grave Sandford smiled at the idea of their meeting.

Rushbrook, with his fears all verified by the manner in which his uncle had left him, sat with his head reclined against a bookcase, and every limb extended with the despair that had seized him. Matilda nimbly opened the door and cried, "Mr. Rushbrook, I am come to comfort you."

"That you have always done," said he, rising in rapture to receive her, even in the midst of all his sadness.

"What is it you want?" said she. "What have you asked of my father that he has denied you ?"

"I have asked for that," replied he, "which is dearer to me than my life."

"Be satisfied then," returned she, "for you shall have it."

"Dear Matilda! it is not in your power to bestow."

"But he has told me it shall be in my power; and has desired me to give or refuse it you, at my own pleasure."

"O Heavens!" cried Rushbrook in transport, "has he?"

"He has indeed-before Mr. Sandford and Miss Woodley. Now tell me what you petitioned for ?"

"I asked him," cried Rushbrook, trembling, "for a wife."

Her hand, which had just then taken hold of his, in the warmth of her wish to serve him, now dropped down as with the stroke of death-her face lost its colour-and she leaned against the desk by which they were standing, without uttering a word.

"What means this change?" said he ; "Do you not wish me happy ?"

"Yes," she exclaimed ; "Heaven is my witness,-But it gives me concern to think we must part."

"Then let us be joined," cried he, falling at her feet" till death alone can part us."

All the sensibility-the reserve-the pride, with which she was so amply possessed, returned to her that moment. She started back, and cried, "Could Lord Elmwood know for what he sent me?"

"He did," replied Rushbrook-"I boldly told him of my presumptuous love, and he has given to you alone the power over my happiness or misery. Oh! do not doom me to the latter."

Whether the heart of Matilda, such as it has been described, could sentence him to misery, the reader is left to surmise-and if he supposes that it could not, he has every reason to suppose that their wedded life, was--a life of happiness.

He has beheld the pernicious effects of an improper education in the destiny which attended the unthinking Miss Milner-On the opposite side, what may not be hoped from that school of prudence-though of adversity--in which Matilda was bred ?

And Mr. Milner, Matilda's grandfather, had better have given his fortune to a distant branch of his family-as Matilda's father once meant to do -so that he had given to his daughter-A PRO












Saturday, October 6, 1759.


No. I.

THERE is not, perhaps, a more whimsically dismal figure in nature, than a man of real modesty who assumes an air of impudence; who, while his heart beats with anxiety, studies ease, and affects good humour. In this situation, however, a periodical writer often finds himself, upon his first attempt to address the public in form. All his power of pleasing is damped by solicitude, and his cheerfulness dashed with apprehension. Impressed with the terrors of the tribunal before which he is going to appear, his natural humour turns to pertness, and for real wit he is obliged to substitute vivacity. His first publication draws a crowd; they part dissatisfied; and the author, never more to be indulged with a favourable hearing, is left to condemn the indelicacy of his own address, on their want of discernment.

For my part, as I was never distinguished for address, and have often even blundered in making my bow, such bodings as these had like to have totally repressed my ambition. I was at a loss whether to give the public specious promises, or give none; whether to be merry or sad on this solemn occasion. If I should decline all merit, it was too probable the hasty reader might have taken me at my word. If, on the other hand, like labourers in the magazine trade, I had, with modest impudence, humbly presumed to promise an epitome of all the good things that ever were said or written, this might have disgusted those readers I most desire to please. Had I been merry, I might have been censured as vastly low; and had I been sorrowful, I might have been left to mourn in solitude and silence: in short, whichever way I turned, nothing presented but prospects of terror, despair, chandler's shops, and waste paper.

In the debate between fear and ambition, my publisher, happening to arrive, interrupted for a while my anxiety. Perceiving my embarrassment about making my first appearance, he instantly offered his assistance and advice. "You must know, sir," says he, "that the republic of letters is

at present divided into three classes. One writer, for instance, excels at a plan or a title-page, another works away the body of the book, and a third is a dab at an index. Thus a magazine is not the result of any single man's industry, but goes through as many hands as a new pin before it is fit for the public. I fancy, sir," continues he, "I can provide an eminent hand, and upon moderate terms, to draw up a promising plan to smooth up our readers a little, and pay them as Colonel Charteris paid his seraglio, at the rate of three halfpence in hand, and three shillings more in promises."

He was proceeding in his advice, which, however, I thought proper to decline, by assuring him, that as I intended to pursue no fixed method, so it was impossible to form any regular plan; determined never to be tedious in order to be logical, wherever pleasure presented I was resolved to follow. Like the Bee, which I had taken for the title of my paper, I would rove from flower to flower, with seeming inattention, but concealed choice, expatiate over all the beauties of the season, and make my industry my amusement.

This reply may also serve as an apology to the reader, who expects, before he sits down, a bill of his future entertainment. It would be improper to pall his curiosity by lessening his surprise, or anticipate any pleasure I am able to procure him, by saying what shall come next. Thus much, however, he may be assured of, that neither war nor scandal shall make any part of it. Homer finely imagines his deity turning away with horror from the prospect of a field of battle, and seeking tranquillity among a nation noted for peace and simplicity. Happy, could any effort of mine, but for a moment, repress that savage pleasure some men find in the daily accounts of human misery! How gladly would I lead them from scenes of blood and altercation, to prospects of innocence and ease, where every breeze breathes health, and every sound is but the echo of tranquillity!

But whatever the merit of his intentions may be, every writer is now convinced, that he must be chiefly indebted to good fortune for finding readers willing to allow him any degree of reputation. It has been remarked, that almost every character,

« AnteriorContinuar »