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Jenetta Mannering, you have not forfeited my esteem; or rather, if yesterday you made me to doubt, to-day you have regained my confidence. But why,' he said, 'why do I see the daughter of the late pious Mrs. Mannering, the spiritual pupil of the excellent Mr. Barret, why do I see her not only living in a scene of vanity, and associating with the votaries of fashion, but herself acting the most conspicuous part in these scenes of folly? Excuse this strong expression; butyou, Jenetta, were not thus educated; you have no excuse to plead of this kind. What am I to think? What can I think?' So saying, he rose and walked to the window: but returning again in a moment, and taking my hand, he looked earnestly in my face, as if soliciting an explanation.
"As soon as I could command my feelings sufficiently, I explained to him the change of my situation; informing him that I was now, and had been for some years, in an entirely worldly family, by whose evil example I had been drawn away from the path of duty; adding, what I then believed to be true, that my heart was still with the Lord and his people.
"He might have urged the possibility of a mistake; for it is possible to love certain individuals of the people of the Lord for qualities which are amiable and excellent in them, without having any real love or feeling of religion. Innumerable are the arts which Satan uses in order to keep up the illusions of sin: and none perhaps are stronger than that particular temptation under which I then lay, a natural and unsanctified sentiment of regard for a certain pious individual leading me to suppose that the dread of having forfeited his regard was a revival of religious feeling. Whether Theophilus understood what was passing in my mind or not, I cannot tell; but through the whole of this interview he looked inexpressibly serious, and cautioned me with such earnestness against yielding to the temptations of the world, that I inwardly resolved to renounce every worldly pleasure at once, and to devote myself entirely to God, still, as I say, being unacquainted with the motives which secretly actuated me.
"Our conversation was protracted for a length of time, both seeming unwilling to separate. At length, Theophi lus seeing my aunt and cousins coming up to the door of the house, arose in haste, and pressing my hand within his, 'Jenetta,' he said, 'my dear Jenetta, I must go; but I shall hope to see you again before I leave England. An aunt of Mr. Barret lives in a small house near your town in Staffordshire; she has invited me to her house: I hope to be with her about Christmas, sooner I think I cannot. I shall then see you again.' So saying, he left me in a state of mind much more tranquil than that in which he had found me.
Vol. II. K
"I do not trouble my reader with a recapitulation of all the silly remarks of my cousins on this visit of Theophilus. 1 was too happy at the moment to care for any thing that might be said; and even the continued attentions of Sir Timothy were a circumstance of utter unimportance to me.
"While the conversation of Theophilus was still fresh in my mind, my Bible and hymn-book became again my frequent companions: and the artificial flowers and topknots of various description fell from my now humbled head. Impressions, however, which are not made by a divine hand, are never to be depended upon: so in a few weeks no further effect remained on my mind from the visit of Theophilus, than that which was merely the produce of natural and common causes; namely, an awakening and renewal of mere earthly attachment.
"Very shortly after Theophilus had quitted Cheltenham, we returned home; where the conduct of Sir Timothy towards me was related to such of the family as we had left behind. Sir Timothy was now gone again to London.
"On hearing her sisters' report, Miss Dolly was all amazement; but Geoffry, laughing, said,'I have no idea of Sir Timothy's having any more serious thoughts of my cousin Jenetta, than he had of my sister Jane.'
"' Then what,' said Bessy, 'could induce him to behave as he did in the presence of Miss Hawkins V
"' I don't pretend,' replied Geoffry,' to account for all the caprices of Sir Timothy. Miss Hawkins, perhaps, had offended him, and he wished to pique her pride; but I would venture to make any bet, that Sir Timothy, though he had no objection to be seen with little Jenetta Mannering, the farmer's grandaughter, at Cheltenham, where no one knew her, would not be seen with her in the streets of this town for a thousand pounds.'
"' I am not anxious to be seen with him in any street of any town,' I replied, somewhat offended by this remark of Geoffry's. 'I am quite as indifferent to Sir Timothy as he can be to me.'
"' I don't know that,' said Geoffry: 'young ladies like a title and a coach and four.'
"' At any rate,' I answered,'even if I should like a title and a carriage and four, I may not like the man to whom they belong.'
"' The man!' said Geoffry; 'who cares in these days for what the man is 1 The question now is, among the young ladies, what he has.'
"' And very proper too,' I answered,'when the present race of young men have so little personal merit to distinguish them one from another.'
"Much more than I have related might be added to the same purpose, which passed on this subject in our family discussions. Suffice it to say, that my aunt and cousins adopted Geoffry's opinions; and, whether to mortify me or not I cannot determine, used frequently to say to me, 'You must not buoy up your mind with the idea of marrying Sir Timothy; for we are well assured that he won't know you, even with the help of his quizzing-glass, at the time of the races.'
"I cannot suppose that my reader will imagine for one moment that my heart was concerned in the least degree about the conduct of Sir Timothy. But if my affections were wholly unmoved on the occasion, not so was my vanity—than which, perhaps, there is not a more powerful passion of the unregenerate heart. And, alas! even in those who are regenerate, in those whose affections are, we trust, renewed, how often do we see the triumph of this evil passion over every better feeling! How often is the usefulness of the Christian teacher marred by this execrable weakness! and how frequently do we see, even in the minister of God, the Divinity plucked from his throne, while the idol man is presented in his place, to receive the homage and adulation of the people! But no more of this. Suffice it to say, that while my whole heart was secretly devoted to Theophilus, 1 looked forward with anxiety to the races as a time when my triumph over my cousins would, I trusted, appear complete.
"At length the time approached: the town filled; and Sir Timothy was said to be in the country. On the eve of the first day, Frank informed us that he was in town, and that he had brought an entirely new and most beautiful open carriage.
"On this occasion, my cousins looked at me. I knew what was passing in their minds, but I took no notice.
"Early the next day, Sir Timothy passed our door twice. Once he stopped, and, speaking to my cousins, who stood at the window, asked them if they meant to go to the course ?—to which they replied in the affirmative. He bowed, and walked on.
"During that morning, I had much to suffer from the ridicule of my cousin Geoffry. I use the word suffer, because my vanity did really make me suffer on the occasion; for I now began to apprehend that I should be mortified.
"' Cousin,' he said, 'you must be content with a hack-chaise to the races; it is mortifying, but it cannot be helped: if I had an open carriage and four to lend you, it should be at your service.'
"' Do you not know,' I replied, 'that I don't approve of races; I never went to them but once, and I had no pleasure when there.'
"We dined early that day; and while we were at dinner, the ordinary broke up, and we perceived the carriages of the great people beginning to be in motion. My cousins ran to the window, and I was watching an opportunity of escaping unobserved to my own room, when the young people exclaimed,'Sir Timothy's carriage! It is just coming up the street! How beautiful! how dashing! Here it comes! It is drawing up to the door: it stops!' At that moment we heard a thundering knock, and I felt my heart beat with a violence which the occasion did not warrant—but happy would it have been for me, humanly speaking, happy certainly as far as my temporal concerns were affected; happy would it have been for me, if it had then ceased to beat for ever. Nevertheless, he who brings the greatest good out of evil, prolonged my life, in order to pour blessings upon me, for which I never shall cease to praise him throughout the endless circles of eternity. But to return to my narrative.
"The thundering at the door was followed by Sir Timothy, who, entering the room with a hasty and familiar air, said,' Come, Jenetta, are you ready 1—may I hope for your company on the course in my barouche V
"I waited only to throw a hasty glance of triumph round the room, and, running up stairs, appeared again in a few moments prepared to accompany Sir Timothy, who, as he handed me to his carriage, said,'Charming girl! how well you look!'
"We were now whirled through the streets as rapidly as four horses could carry us; the course was about two miles from the town, and Sir Timothy, as we went along, calling to his horses in the appropriate language of the stable, swearing he would be in before a certain young lord who had left the town a few minutes before him. We proceeded very well till we came to a certain part of the road where, by means of a narrow lane, a shorter cut is obtained to the race-ground. By taking this road, Sir Timothy hoped to cut out his rival; and, accordingly, he called out to his outriders,' Dash on! dash on to the left!' when, with a sudden whirl, we found ourselves carried out of the crowd into the lane. Through this we went tearing on with sufficient success, the hedges, trees, and cottages seeming to fly from us as we passed, and certain overhanging boughs more than once striking me on the face. At length, we came to the brow of a little hill, from which we saw the race-ground before us at no great distance. Here the horses would have relaxed their pace; but Sir Timothy crying out with an oath, 'Dash on !' we began to descend the hill at a pace which made me tremble. At length, the carriage pressing on the horses, they became restive; the leaders began to rear, and Sir Timothy to rave. I called on him aloud to take care, and looked around for some one to help; but my cries were vain. Of this scene I remember no more than seeing the horses rear, and perceiving the figure of a young man, who, running out from a house on the way-side, jumped over the hedge, and ad