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The Man of the World by Henry Mackenzie



PART I.

PART II.

PART I.

INTRODUCTION.

Though the world is but little concerned to know, in what situation the author of any performance that is offered to its perusal may be, yet I believe it is generally solicitous to learn some circumstances relating to him: for my own part, I have always experienced this desire in myself; and read the advertisement at the beginning, and the postscript at the end of a book, if they contain any information of that sort, with a kind of melancholy inquietude about the fate of him, in whose company, as it were, I have passed some harmless hours, and whose sentiments have been unbosomed to me with the openness of a friend.

The life of him who has had an opportunity of presenting to the eye of the public the following tale, though sufficiently chequered with vicissitude, has been spent in a state of obscurity, the recital of which could but little excite admiration, or gratify curiosity: the manner of his procuring the story contained in the following sheets, is all he thinks himself entitled to relate.

After some wanderings at that time of life which is most subject to wandering, I had found an opportunity of revisiting the scenes of my earlier attachments, and returned to my native spot with that tender emotion, which the heart that can be moved at all, will naturally feel on approaching it. The remembrance of my infant days, like the fancied vibration of pleasant sounds in the ear, was still alive in my mind; and I flew to find out the marks by which even inanimate things were to be known, as the friends of my youth, not forgotten, though long unseen, nor lessened, in my estimation, from the pride of refinement, or the comparison of experience.

In the shade of an ancient tree, that centered a circle of elms, at the end of the village where I was born, I found my old acquaintance, Jack Ryland: he was gathering moss with one hand, while the other held a flannel-bag, containing earth-worms, to be used as bait in angling. On seeing me, Ryland dropped his moss on the ground, and ran with all the warmth of friendship to embrace me. "My dear Tom, said he, how happy I am to see you! you have travelled no doubt a woundy long way since we parted. —You find me in the old way here. —I believe they have but a sorry notion of sport in Italy. —While I think on't, look on this me now; I'll be hang'd if the sharpest-ey'd trout in the river can know it from the natural. It was but yesterday now— You remember the cross-tree pool, just below the parsonage—there I hook'd him, play'd him half an hour by the clock, and landed him at last as far down as the church-way ford. As for his size—Lord! how unlucky it is that I have not my landing-net here; for now I recollect that I mark'd his length on the outside of the pole; but you shall see it some other time."

Let not my reader be impatient at my friend Ryland's harangue. I give it him, because I would have characters develop themselves. To throw, however, some farther light upon Ryland's:

He was first-cousin to a gentleman who possessed a considerable estate in our county, born to no fortune, and not much formed by nature for acquiring one; he found pretty early that he should never be rich, but that he might possibly be happy; and happiness to him was obtained without effort, because it was drawn from sources which it required little exertion to supply: trifles were the boundaries of his desire, and their attainment the goal of his felicity. A certain neatness at all those little arts in which the soul has no share, an immoderate love of sport, and a still more immoderate love of reciting its progress, with the addition of one faculty, which has some small connexion with letters, to wit, a remarkable memory for puzzles and enigmas, made up his character; and he enjoyed a privilege uncommon to the happy, that no one envied the means by which he attained what every one pursues.

I interrupted his narrative by some enquiries about my former acquaintance in the village; for Ryland was the recorder of the place, and could have told the names, families, relations, and inter-marriages of the parish, with much more accuracy than the register.

"Alackaday! said Jack, there have been many changes among us since you left this: here have died the old gauger, Wilson, as good a cricket-player as ever handled a bat; Rooke, at the Salutation, is gone too; and his wife has left the parish and settled in London, where I'm told she keeps a gin-shop in some street they call Southwark; and the poor parson, whom you were so intimate with, the worthy old Annesly!" —He looked piteously towards the church-yard, and a tear trickled down his cheek. —"I understand you, said I, the good man is dead!" — "Ah! there is more than you think about his death, answered Jack; he died of a broken heart!" I could make no reply but by an ejaculation, and Ryland accompanied it with another tear; for, though he commonly looked but on the surface of things, yet Ryland had a heart to feel.

"In the middle of yon clump of alders, said he, you may remember a small house, that was once farmer Higgins's; it is now occupied by a gentlewoman of the name of Wistanly, who was formerly a sort of servant-companion to sir Thomas Sindall's mother, the widow of sir William; her mistress, who died some years ago, left her an annuity, and that house for life, where she has lived ever since. I am told that she knows more of Annesly's affairs than any other body; but she is so silent and shy, that I could never get a word from her on the subject: she is reckon'd a wonderful scholar by the folks of the village; and you, who are a man of reading, might perhaps be a greater favorite with her; if you chuse it, I shall introduce you to her immediately." I accepted his offer, and we went to her house together.

We found her sitting in a little parlour, fitted up in a taste much superior to what might have been expected from the appearance of the house, with some shelves, on which I observed several of the most classical English and French authors. She rose to receive us with something in her manner greatly above her seeming rank; Jack introduced me as an acquaintance of her deceased friend, Mr. Annesly. "Then, Sir, said she, you knew a man who had few fellows!" lifting her eyes gently upwards. The tender solemnity of her look answered the very movement which the remembrance had awaked in my soul, and I made no other reply than by a tear. She seemed to take it in good part, and we met on that ground, like old friends, who had much to ask, and much to be answered.

When we were going away, she begged to have a moment's conversation with me alone; Ryland left us together.

"If I am not deceived, Sir, said she, in the opinion I have formed of you, your feelings are very different from those of Mr. Ryland, and indeed of most of my neighbours in the village; you seem to have had a peculiar interest in the fate of that worthiest of men, Mr. Annesly. The history of that life of purity which he led, of that calamity by which it was shortened, might not be an unpleasing, though a melancholy-recital to you; but in this box which stands on the table by me, is contained a series of letters and papers, which, if you will take the trouble of reading them, will save me the task of recounting his sufferings. You will find many passages which do not indeed relate to it; but, as they are often the entertainment of my leisure hours, I have marked the most interesting parts on the margin. This deposit, Sir, though its general importance be small, my affection for my departed friend makes me consider as a compliment, and I commit it to you, as to one in whose favor I have conceived a prepossession from that very cause."

Those letters and papers were the basis of what I now offer to the public: had it been my intention to make a Book, I might have published them entire; and I am persuaded, notwithstanding Mrs. Wistanly's remark, that no part of them would have been found more foreign to the general drift of these volumes, than many that have got admittance into similar collections: but I have chosen rather to throw them into the form of a narrative, and contented myself with transcribing such reflexions as naturally arise from the events, and such sentiments as the situations alone appear to have excited. There are indeed many suppletory facts, which could not have been found in this collection of Mrs. Wistanly's; these I was at some pains to procure through other channels: how I was enabled to procure them the reader may conceive, if his patience can hold out to the end of the story; to account for that now, would delay its commencement, and anticipate its conclusion, for both which effects this introductory chapter may have already been subject to reprehension.

CHAP. I.

In which are some particulars previous to the commencement of the main story.

Richard annesly was the only child of a wealthy tradesman in London, who, from the experience of that profit which his business afforded himself, was anxious to have it descend to his son. Unfortunately the young man had acquired a certain train of ideas which were totally averse to that line of life his father had marked out for him. There is a degree of sentiment, which, in the bosom of a man destined to the drudgery of the world, is the source of endless disgust: of this young Annesly was unluckily possessed; and as he foresaw, or thought he foresaw, that it would not only endanger his success, but take from the enjoyment of prosperity, supposing it attained, he declined following that road which his father had smoothed for his progress, and at the risk of those temporal advantages which the old gentleman's displeasure, on this occasion, might deny him, entered into the service of the church, and retired to the country on one of the smallest endowments she has to bestow.

That feeling which prevents the acquisition of wealth, is formed for the support of poverty; the contentment of the poor, I had almost said their pride, buoys up the spirit against the depression of adversity, and gives to our very wants the appearance of enjoyment.

Annesly looked on happiness as confined to the sphere of sequestered life. The pomp of greatness, the pleasures of the affluent, he considered as only productive of turbulence, disquiet, and remorse; and thanked heaven for having placed him in his own little shed, which, in his opinion, was the residence of pure and lasting felicity.

With this view of things his father's ideas did by no means coincide: his anger against his son continued till his death; and, when that event happened, with the preposterous revenge of many a parent, he consigned him to misery, as he thought, because he would not be unhappy in that way which he had insisted on his following, and cut him off from the inheritance of his birth, because he had chosen a profession which kept him in poverty without it.

Though Annesly could support the fear of poverty, he could not easily bear the thought of a dying father's displeasure. On receiving intelligence of his being in a dangerous situation, he hasted to London, with the purpose of wringing from him his forgiveness for the only offence with which his son had ever been chargeable; but he arrived too late: his father had breathed his last on the evening of the day preceding that on which he reached the metropolis, and his house was already in the possession of a nephew, to whom his son understood he had left every shilling of his fortune. This man had been bred a haberdasher, at the express desire of old Annesly, and had all that patient dulness which qualifies for getting rich, which, therefore, in the eyes of his uncle, was the most estimable of all qualities. He had seldom seen Richard Annesly before, for indeed this last was not very solicitous of his acquaintance; he recollected his face however, and, desiring him to sit down, informed him particularly of the settlement which his relentless father had made. "It was unlucky, said the haberdasher, that you should have made choice of such a profession; but a parson, of all trades in the world, he could never endure. It is possible you may be low in cash at this time: if you want a small matter to buy mournings or so, I shall not scruple to advance you the needful; and I wish you would take them of neighbour Bullock, the woollen-draper, who is as honest a man as any of the trade, and would not impose on a child." Annesly's eyes had been hitherto fixed on the ground; nor was there wanting a tear in each for his unnatural father: he turned them on this cousin with as contemptuous a look as his nature allowed them to assume, and walked out of the house without uttering a word.

He was now thrown upon the world with the sentence of perpetual poverty for his inheritance. He found himself in the middle of a crouded street in London, surrounded by the buzzing sons of industry, and shrunk back at the sense of his own insignificance. In the faces of those he met, he saw no acknowledgment of connexion, and felt himself, like Cain after his brother's murder, an unsheltered, unfriended outcast. He looked back to his father's door; but his spirit was too mild for reproach—a tear dropped from his look!

There was in London one person, whose gentle nature he knew would feel for his misfortunes; yet to that one, of all others, his pride forbade him to resort.

Harriet Wilkins was the daughter of a neighbour of his father's, who had for some time given up business, and lived on the interest of 4000 l. which he had saved in the course of it. From this circumstance, his acquaintance, old Annesly, entertained no very high opinion of his understanding; and did not cultivate much friendship with a man whom he considered as a drone in the hive of society: but in this opinion, as in many others, his son had the misfortune to differ from him; he used frequently to steal into Wilkins's house of an evening, to enjoy the conversation of one who had passed through life with observation, and had known the labor of business without that contraction of soul which it often occasions. Harriet was commonly of the party, listening with Annesly to her father's discourse, and with Annesly offering her remarks on it. She was not handsome enough to attract notice; but her look was of that complacent sort which gains on the beholder, and pleases from the acknowledgment that it is beneath admiration.

Nor was her mind ill suited to this "Index of the soul." Without that brilliancy which excites the general applause, it possessed those inferior sweetnesses which acquire the general esteem; sincere, benevolent, inoffensive, and unassuming. Nobody talked of the sayings of Miss Wilkins; but every one heard her with pleasure, and her smile was the signal of universal complacency.

Annesly found himself insensibly attached to her by a chain, which had been imposed without art, and suffered without consciousness. During his acquaintance with Harriet, he had come to that period of life, when men are most apt to be impressed with appearances; in fact, he had looked on many a beauty with a rapture which he thought sincere till it was interrupted by the reflexion that she was not Harriet Wilkins; there was a certain indefinable attraction which linked him every day closer to her, and artlessness of manner had the effect (which I presume, from their practice, few young ladies believe it to have) of securing the conquest she had gained.

From the wealth which old Annesly was known to possess, his son was, doubtless, in the phrase of the world, a very advantageous match for Miss Wilkins; but when her father discovered the young man to be serious in his attachment to her, he frequently took occasion to suggest, how unequal the small fortune he could leave his daughter, was to the expectations of the son of a man worth 30,000l. and with a frankness peculiar to himself, gave the father to understand, that his son's visits were rather more frequent than was consistent with that track of prudence which the old gentleman would probably mark out for him. The father, however, took little notice of this intelligence; the truth was, that, judging by himself, he gave very little credit to it; because it came from one, who, according to his conception of things, should, of all others, have concealed it from his knowlege.

But though his son had the most sincere attachment to Miss Wilkins, his present circumstances rendered it, in the language of prudence, impossible for them to marry. They contented themselves therefore with the assurance of each other's constancy, and waited for some favorable change of condition which might allow them to be happy.

The first idea which struck Annesly's mind on the disappointment he suffered from his father's settlement was the effect it would have on his situation with regard to Harriet. There is perhaps nothing more bitter in the lot of poverty, than the distance to which it throws a man from the woman he loves; that pride I have before taken notice of, which in every other circumstance tends to his support, serves but to wound him the deeper in this. That feeling now turned Annesly's feet from his Harriet's door; yet it was now that his Harriet seemed the more worthy of his love, in proportion as his circumstances rendered it hopeless. A train of soft reflexions at length banished this rugged guest from his heart—"'Tis but taking a last farewel!" said he to himself, and trod back the steps which he had made.

He entered the room where Harriet was sitting by her father, with a sort of diffidence of his reception that he was not able to hide; but Wilkins welcomed him in such a manner, as soon dissipated the restraint under which the thoughts of his poverty had laid him. "This visit, my dear Annesly, said he, flatters me, because it shows you leaning on my friendship. I am not ignorant of your present situation, and I know the effect which prudent men will say it should have on myself; that I differ from them, may be the consequence of spleen, perhaps rather than generosity: for I have been at war with the world from a boy. Come hither, Harriet; this is Richard Annesly: his father, it is true, has left him 30,000l. poorer than it was once expected he would; but he is Richard Annesly still! you will therefore look upon him as you did before. I am not stoic enough to deny, that riches afford numberless comforts and conveniences which are denied to the poor; but that riches are not essential to happiness I know, because I have never yet found myself unhappy; —nor shall I now sleep unsound from the consciousness of having added to the pressure of affliction, or wounded merit afresh, because fortune had already wounded it."

Liberal minds will delight in extending the empire of virtue; for my own part, I am happy to believe, that it is possible for an attorney to be honest, and a tradesman to think like Wilkins.

CHAP. II.

More introductory matter.

Wilkins having thus overlooked the want of fortune in his young friend, the lovers found but little hindrance to the completion of their wishes: Harriet became the wife of a poor man, who returned the obligation he owed to her and her father's generosity, by a tenderness and affection rarely found in wedlock, because there are few minds from whom in reason they can be expected.

His father-in-law, to whom indeed the sacrifice was but trifling, could not resist the joint request of his daughter and her husband, to leave the town and make one of their family in the country. In somewhat less than a year he was the grandfather of a boy, and, nearly at the same distance of time after, of a girl, both of whom in his opinion, were cherubs; but even the gossips around them owned they had never seen more promising children. The felicity of their little circle was now perhaps as perfect as the lot of humanity admits; nor would it have been easy to have found a groop, whose minds were better formed to deserve or attain it. Health, innocence, and good-humour were of their household; and many an honest neighbour, who never troubled himself to account for it, talked of the goodness of Annesly's ale, and the chearfulness of his fire-side. I have been often admitted of the party, though I was too young for a companion to the seniors, and too old for a playfellow to the children; but no age, and often indeed no condition, excluded from a participation of their happiness; and I have seen little Billy, before he could speak to be well understood, lead in a long-bearded beggar, to sing his song in its turn, and be rewarded with a cup of that excellent liquor I mentioned.

Their felicity was too perfect to be lasting. —Such is the proverbial opinion of mankind: the days of joy, however, are not more winged in their course than the days of sorrow; but we count not the moments of their duration with so scrupulous an exactness.

Three years after the birth of her first daughter, Mrs. Annesly was delivered of another; but the birth of the last was fatal to her mother, who did not many days survive it. Annesly's grief on this occasion was immoderate; nor could all the endeavours of his father-in-law, whose mind was able to preserve more composure, prevail upon him, for some days, to remember the common offices of life, or leave the room in which his Harriet had expired. Wilkins's grief, however, though of a more silent sort, was not less deep in its effects; and when the turbulence of the other's sorrow had yielded to the soothings of time, the old man retained all that tender regret, so due to the death of a child, an only child, whose filial duty had led him down the slope of life without suffering him to perceive the descent. The infant she had left behind her was now doubly endeared to its father and him, from being considered as the last memorial of its dying mother; but of this melancholy kind of comfort they were also deprived in a few months by the small-pox. Wilkins seemed by this second blow to be loosened from the little hold he had struggled to keep of the world, and his resignation was now built upon the hopes, not of overcoming his affliction, but of escaping from its pressure. The serenity which such an idea confers, possesses of all others the greatest dignity, because it possesses of all others the best-assured confidence, leaning on a basis that is fixed above the rotation of sublunary things. An old man, who has lived in the exercise of virtue, looking back, without a blush, on the tenor of his past days, and pointing to that better state, where alone he can be perfectly rewarded, is a figure the most venerable that can well be imagined: such did Wilkins now exhibit.

"My son, said he to Annesly, I feel that I shall not be with you long; yet I leave not the world with that peevish disgust, which is sometimes mistaken for the courage that overcomes the dread of death: I lay down my being, with gratitude, for having so long possessed it, without having disgraced it, by any great violation of the laws of him, by whom it was bestowed. There is something we cannot help feeling, on the fall of those hopes we had been vainly diligent to rear; I had looked forward to some happy days, amidst a race of my Harriet's and yours; but to the good, there can be no reasonable regret from the disappointment of such expectations, because the futurity, they trust in after death, must far exceed any enjoyment which a longer life here could have afforded. It is otherwise with the prospect of duty to be done; these two little ones, I leave to your tenderness and care; you will value life, as it gives you an opportunity of forming them to virtue —Lay me beside my Harriet!"

The old man's prediction was but too well verified; he did not long survive this pathetic declaration. His son-in-law was now exposed, alone and unassisted, to the cares of the world, increased by the charge of his boy and girl; but the mind will support much, when called into exertion by the necessity of things. His sorrow yielded by degrees to the thoughts of that active duty he owed his children; in time his fire-side was again cheared by their sports around it; and though he sometimes looked upon them with a tear, at the recollection of the past, yet would he as often wipe it from his eye, in silent gratitude to heaven, for the enjoyment of the present, and the anticipation of the future.

CHAP. III.

The openings of two characters, with which the reader may afterwards be better acquainted.

His son had a warmth of temper, which the father often observed with mingled pleasure and regret; with pleasure, from considering the generosity and nobleness of sentiment it bespoke; with regret, from a foreboding of the many inconveniences to which its youthful possession might naturally be exposed.

But Harriet was softness itself. The sprightliness of her gayest moments would: be checked by the recital of the distress of a fellow-creature, and she would often weep all night from some tale which her maid had told of fictitious disaster. Her brother felt the representation of worth ill-treated, or virtue oppressed, with indignation against the oppressor, and whished to be a man, that he might, like Jack the giant-killer, gird on his sword of sharpness, and revenge the wrongs of the sufferer; while his sister pressed his hand in hers, and trembled for the danger to which she imagined him exposed; nay, she has been afterwards heard to cry out in her sleep in a hurried voice, "You shall not go, my Billy, papa and I will die if you do."

A trifling incident, of which I find an account in one of their father's letters, will discriminate their characters better than a train of the most laboured expression.

At the bottom of his garden ran a little rivulet, which was there dammed up to furnish water for a mill below. On the bank was a linnet's nest, which Harriet had discovered in her rambles, and often visited with uncommon anxiety for the callow brood it contained. One day her brother and she were at play on the green at a little distance, attended by a servant of their father's, when a favorite terrier of Billy's happened to wander amongst the bushes where this nest was sheltered: Harriet, afraid or the consequences, begged the servant to run, and prevent his doing mischief to the birds. Just as the fellow came up, the dog had lighted on the bush, and surprised the dam, but was prevented from doing her much harm by the servant, who laid hold of him by the neck, and snatched his prey out of his mouth: the dog, resenting this rough usage, bit the man's finger till it bled, who, in return, bestowed a hearty drubbing upon him, without regarding the entreaties or the threats of his little master. Billy, enraged at the sufferings of his favorite, resolved to wreak his vengeance where it was in his power, and running up to the nest, threw it down, with all its unfledged inhabitants, to the ground. "Cruel Billy!" cried his sister, while the tears ran down her cheeks. He turned sullenly from her, and walked up to the house, while she, with the man's assistance, gathered up the little flutterers, and having fastened the nest as well as she could, replaced them safely within it.

When she saw her brother again, he pouted, and would not speak to her; she endeavoured to regain his favour by kindness, but he refused her caresses; she sought out the dog, who had suffered on her linnet's account, and stroaking him on the head, fed him with some cold meat, from her own hand: when her brother saw it, he called him away. She looked after Billy till he was gone, and then burst into tears.

Next day they were down at the rivulet again. Still was Harriet endeavouring to be reconciled, and still was her brother averse to a reconciliation: he sat biting his thumb, and looking angrily to the spot where his favorite had been punished.

At that instant the linnet, in whose cause the quarrel had begun, was bringing out her younglings to their first imperfect flight, and two of them, unfortunately taking a wrong direction, fell short into the middle of the pool. Billy started from the ground, and, without considering the depth, rushed into the water, where he was over head and ears the second step that he made. His sister's screams alarmed the servant, who ran to his assistance; but before he got to the place, the boy had reached a shallower part of the pool, and, though staggering from his first plunge, had saved both the linnets, which he held carefully above the water, and landed safely on the opposite bank. He returned to his sister by a ford below, and, presenting her the birds, flung his arms round her neck, and, blubbering, asked her, if she would now forgive his unkindness.

Such were the minds which Annesly's tuition was to form. To repress the warmth of temerity, without extinguishing the generous principles from which it arose, and to give firmness to sensibility where it bordered on weakness, without searing its feelings where they led to virtue, was the task he had marked out for his industry to accomplish. He owned that his plan was frequently interrupted on both sides by the tenderness of paternal affection; but he accustomed himself to remember, that, for his children he was accountable to God and their country. Nor was the situation I have described without difficulties, from the delicacy of preventing inclinations in the extreme, which were laudable in degree; "but here also, said Annesly, it is to be remembered, that no evil is so pernicious as that which grows in the soil from which good should have sprung."

CHAP. IV.

A very brief account of their education.

Annesly was not only the superintendant of his children's manners, but their master in the several branches of education. Reading, writing, arithmetic, the elements of mathematics and geography, with a competent knowlege of the French and Italian languages, they learned together; and while Billy was employed with his father in reading Latin and Greek, his sister received instruction in the female accomplishments, from a better sort of servant, whom Annesly kept for that purpose, whose station had once been superior to servitude, and whom he still treated more as a companion than a domestic. This instructress indeed she lost when about ten years old; but the want was more than supplied by the assistance of another, to wit, Mrs. Wistanly; who devoted many of her leisure hours to the daughter of Annesly, whom she had then got acquainted with, and whom reciprocal worth had attached to her with the sincerest friendship and regard. The dancing-master of a neighbouring town paid them a weekly visit for their instruction in the science he professed; at which time also were held their family-concerts, where Annesly, who was esteemed in his youth a first-rate player on the violin, used to preside. Billy was an excellent second; Mrs. Wistanly or her pupil undertook for the harpsicord, and the dancing-master played base as well as he could. He was not a very capital performer, but he was always very willing; and found as much pleasure in his own performance as the best of them. Jack Ryland too would sometimes join in a catch, though indeed he had but two, Christ-church bells, and Jack, thou'rt a toper; and Annesly alledged that he was often out in the last, but Jack would never allow it.

Besides these, there were certain evenings appropriated to exercises of the mind. "It is not enough, said Annesly, to put weapons into those hands which never have been taught the use of them; the reading we recommend to youth will store their minds with intelligence, if they attend to it properly; but to go a little farther, we must accustom them to apply it, we must teach them the art of comparing the ideas with which it has furnished them." In this view it was the practice, at those stated times I have mentioned, for Billy, or his sister, to read a select passage of some classical author, on whose relations they delivered opinions, or on whose sentiments they offered a comment. Never was seen more satisfaction on a countenance, than used to enlighten their father's, at the delivery of those observations, which his little philosophers were accustomed to make: indeed, there could scarcely, even to a stranger, be a more pleasing exhibition; their very errors were delightful, because they were the errors of benevolence, generosity, and virtue.

As punishments are necessary in all societies, Annesly was obliged to invent some for the regulation of his: they consisted only of certain modifications of disgrace. One of them I shall mention, because it was exactly opposite to the practice of most of our schools; while there, offences are punished by doubling the task of the scholar; with Annesly, the getting of a lesson or performing of an exercise was a privilege, of which a forfeiture was incurred by misbehaviour; to teach his children, that he offered them instruction as a favor, instead of pressing it as a hardship.

Billy had a small part of his father's garden allotted him for his peculiar property, in which he wrought himself, being furnished with no other assistance from the gardener than directions how to manage it, and parcels of the seeds which they enabled him to sow. When he had brought these to maturity, his father purchased the produce; Billy, with part of the purchase-money, was to lay in the stores necessary for his future industry, and the overplus he had the liberty of bestowing on charitable uses in the village. The same institution prevailed as to his sister's needle-work or embroidery. "For it is necessary, said Annesly, to give an idea of property, but let it not be separated from the idea of beneficence."

Sometimes, when these sums were traced to their disbursement, it was found, that Harriet's money did not always reach the village, but was intercepted by the piteous recital of a wandering beggar by the way; and that Billy used to appropriate part of his to purposes not purely eleemosynary; as, when he once parted with two thirds of his revenue, to reward a little boy for beating a big one, who had killed his tame sparrow; or another time, when he went the blamable length of comforting with a shilling a lad, who had been ducked in a horse-pond, for robbing the orchard of a miser.

It was chiefly in this manner of instilling sentiments, (as in the case of the charitable establishment I have mentioned) by leading insensibly to the practice of virtue, rather than by downright precept, that Annesly proceeded with his children; for it was his maxim, that the heart must feel, as well as the judgment be convinced, before the principles we mean to teach can be of habitual service; and that the mind will always be more strongly impressed with ideas which it is led to form of itself, than with those which it passively receives from another. When, at any time, he delivered instructions, they were always clothed in the garb rather of advices from a friend, than lectures from a father; and were listened to with the warmth of friendship, as well as the humility of veneration. It is in truth somewhat surprising, how little intimacy subsists between parents and their children, especially of our sex; a circumstance, which must operate in conjunction with their natural partiality, to keep the former in ignorance of the genius and disposition of the latter.

Besides all this, his children had the general advantage of a father's example: they saw the virtues he inculcated attended by all the consequences in himself, which he had promised them as their reward: piety in him was recompensed by peace of mind, benevolence by self-satisfaction, and integrity by the blessings of a good conscience.

But the time at last arrived, when his son was to leave those instructions and that example, for the walks of more public life: as he was intended, or, more properly speaking, seemed to have an inclination, for a learned profession, his father sent him, in his twentieth year, to receive the finishings of education necessary for that purpose, at one of the universities. Yet he had not, I have heard him say, the most favourable opinion of the general course of education there; but he knew, that a young man might there have an opportunity of acquiring much knowlege, if he were inclined to it; and that good principles might preserve him uncorrupted, even amidst the dangers of some surrounding dissipation: besides, he had an additional inducement to this plan, from the repeated request of a distant relation, who filled an office of some consequence at Oxford, and had expressed a very earnest desire to have his young kinsman sent thither, and placed under his own immediate inspection.

Before he set out for that place, Annesly, though he had a sufficient confidence in his son, yet thought it not improper to mark out to him some of those errors, to which the unexperienced are liable: he was not wont, as I have before observed, to press instruction upon his children; but the young man himself seemed to expect it, with the solicitude of one who ventured, not without anxiety, to leave that road, where the hand of a parent and friend had hitherto guided him in happiness and safety. The substance of what he delivered to his son and daughter (for she too was an auditor of his discourses) I have endeavoured to collect from some of the papers Mrs. Wistanly put into my hands; and to arrange, as far as it seemed arrangeable, in the two following chapters.

It will not, however, after all, have a perfectly-connected appearance; because, I imagine, it was delivered at different times, as occasion invited, or leisure allowed him; but its tendency appeared to be such, that, even under these disadvantages, I could not forbear inserting it.

CHAP. V.

Paternal instructions.—Of suspicion and confidence. —Ridicule.—Religion.—True pleasure.—Caution to the female sex.

You are now leaving us, my son, said Annesly, to make your entrance into the world: for, though from the pale of a college, the bustle of ambition, the plodding of business, and the tinsel of gaiety, are supposed to be excluded; yet as it is the place where the persons that are to perform in those several characters often put on the dresses of each, there will not be wanting, even there, those qualities that distinguish in all. I will not shock your imagination with the picture which some men, retired from its influence, have drawn of the world; nor warn you against enormities, into which, I should equally affront your understanding and your feelings, did I suppose you capable of falling. Neither would I arm you with that suspicious caution, which young men are sometimes advised to put on: they who always suspect will often be mistaken, and never be happy. Yet there is a wide distinction between the confidence which becomes a man, and the simplicity that disgraces a simpleton: he who never trusts is a niggard of his soul, who starves himself, and by whom no other is enriched; but he who gives every one his confidence, and every one his praise, squanders the fund that should serve for the encouragement of integrity, and the reward of excellence.

In the circles of the world your notice may be frequently attracted by objects glaring, not useful; and your attachment won to characters, whose surfaces are showy, without intrinsic value: in such circumstances be careful not always to impute knowlege to the appearance of acuteness, or give credit to opinions according to the confidence with which they are urged. In the more important articles of belief or conviction, let not the flow of ridicule be mistaken for the force of argument. Nothing is so easy as to excite a laugh, at that time of life, when seriousness is held to be an incapacity of enjoying it; and no wit so futile, or so dangerous, as that which is drawn from the perverted attitudes of what is in itself momentous. There are in most societies a set of self-important young men, who borrow consequence from singularity, and take precedency in wisdom from the unfeeling use of the Iudicrous; this is at best a shallow quality; in objects of eternal moment, it is poisonous to society. I will not now, nor could you then, stand forth armed at all points to repel the attacks which they may make on the great principles of your belief; but let one suggestion suffice, exclusive of all internal evidence, or extrinsic proof of revelation. He that would undermine those foundations upon which the fabric of our future hope is reared, seeks to beat down that column, which supports the feebleness of humanity;—let him but think a moment, and his heart will arrest the cruelty of his purpose;—would he pluck its little treasure from the bosom of poverty? would he wrest its crutch from the hand of age, and remove from the eye of affliction the only solace of its woe? The way we tread is rugged at best; we tread it, however, lighter by the prospect of that better country to which we trust it will lead; tell us not that it will end in the gulph of eternal dissolution, or break off in some wild, which fancy may fill up as she pleases, but reason is unable to delineate; quench not that beam, which, amidst the night of this evil world, has cheared the despondency of ill-requited worth, and illumined the darkness of suffering virtue.

The two great movements of the soul, which the molder of our frames has placed in them for the incitement of virtue and the prevention of vice, are the desire of honour, and the fear of shame: but the perversion of these qualities, which the refinement of society is peculiarly unhappy in making, has drawn their influence from the standard of morality, to the banners of its opposite; into the first step on which a young man ventures, in those paths which the cautions of wisdom have warned him to avoid, he is commonly pushed by the fear of that ridicule which he has seen levelled at simplicity, and the desire of that applause which the spirit of the profligate has enabled him to acquire.

Pleasure is in truth subservient to virtue. When the first is pursued without those restraints which the last would impose, every infringement we make on them lessens the enjoyment we mean to attain; and nature is thus wise in our construction, that, when we would be blessed beyond the pale of reason, we are blessed imperfectly. It is not by the roar of riot, or the shout of the bacchanal, that we are to measure the degree of pleasure which he feels; the grossness of the sense he gratifies is equally insusceptible of the enjoyment, as it is deaf to the voice of reason; and, obdurated by the repetition of debauch, is incapable of that delight which the finer sensations produce, which thrills in the bosom of delicacy and virtue.

Libertines have said, my Harriet, that the smiles of your sex attend them: and that the pride of conquest, where conquest is difficult, overcomes the fear of disgrace and defeat. I hope there is less truth in this remark than is generally imagined; let it be my Harriet's belief that it cannot be true for the honour of her sex; let it be her care that, for her own honour, it may be false as to her. Look on those men, my child, even in their gayest and most alluring garb, as creatures dangerous to the peace, and destructive of the welfare of society; look on them as you would on a beautiful serpent, whose mischief we may not forget while we admire the beauties of its skin. I marvel indeed how the pride of the fair can allow them to show a partiality to him, who regards them as beings merely subservient to his pleasure, in whose opinion they have lost all that dignity which excites reverence, and that excellence which creates esteem.

Be accustomed, my love, to think respectfully of yourself; it is the error of the gay world to place your sex in a station somewhat unworthy of a reasonable creature; and the individuals of ours who address themselves to you, think it a necessary ingredient in their discourse, that it should want every solid property with which sense and understanding would invest it. The character of a female pedant is undoubtedly disgusting; but it is much less common than that of a trifling or an ignorant woman: the intercourse of the sexes is, in this respect, advantageous, that each has a desire to please, mingled with a certain deference for the other; let not this purpose be lost on one side, by its being supposed, that, to please yours, we must speak something, in which fashion has sanctified folly, and ease lent her garb to insignificance. In general it should never be forgotten, that, though life has its venial trifles, yet they cease to be innocent when they encroach upon its important concerns; the mind that is often employed about little things, will be rendered unfit for any serious exertion; and, though temporary relaxations may recruit its strength, habitual vacancy will destroy it.

CHAP. VI.

In continuation.—Of knowlege.—Knowlege of the world.—Politeness.—Honour.— Another rule of action suggested.

As the mind may be weakened by the pursuits of trivial matters, so its strength may be misled in deeper investigations.

It is a capital error in the pursuit of knowlege, to suppose that we are never to believe what we cannot account for. There is no reason why we should not attempt to understand every thing; but to own in some instances our limited knowlege, is a piece of modesty in which lies the truest wisdom.

Let it be our care that our effort in its tendency is useful, and our effort need not be repressed; for he that attempts the impossible, will often atchieve the extremely difficult; but the pride of knowlege often labours to gain what if gained would be useless, and wastes exertion upon objects that have been left unattained from their futility. Men possessed of this desire, you may perhaps find, my son, in that seat of science whither you are going: but remember, that what claims our wonder, does not always merit our regard; and in knowlege and philosophy be careful to distinguish, that the purpose of research should ever be fixed on making simple what is abstruse, not abstruse what is simple; and that difficulty in acquisition will no more sanctify its inexpediency, than the art of tumblers, who have learned to stand on their heads, will prove that to be the proper posture for man.

There is a pedantry in being master of paradoxes contrary to the common opinions of mankind, which is equally disgusting to the illiterate and the learned. The peasant who enjoys the beauty of the tulip, is equally delighted with the philosopher, though he knows not the powers of the rays from which its colours are derived; and the boy who strikes a ball with his racket, is as certain whither it will be driven by the blow, as if he were perfectly versant in the dispute about matter and motion. Vanity of our knowlege is generally found in the first stages of its acquirement, because we are then looking back to that rank we have left, of such as know nothing at all. Greater advances cure us of this, by pointing our view to those above us; and when we reach the summit, we begin to discover, that human knowlege is so imperfect, as not to warrant any vanity upon it. In particular arts beware of that affectation of speaking technically, by which ignorance is often disguised, and knowlege disgraced. They who are really skilful in the principles of science, will acquire the veneration only of shallow minds by talking scientifically; for, to simplify expression, is always the effect of the deepest knowlege, and of the clearest discernment. On the other hand, there may be many who possess taste, though they have not attained skill; who, if they will be contented with the expression of their own feelings, without labouring to keep up the borrowed phrase of erudition, will have their opinions respected by all whose suffrages are worthy of being gained. The music, the painting, the poetry of the passions, is the property of every one who has a heart to be moved; and though there may be particular modes of excellence which national or temporary fashions create, yet that standard will ever remain which alone is common to all.

The ostentation of learning is indeed always disgusting in the intercourse of society; for even the benefit of instruction received cannot allay the consciousness of inferiority, and remarkable parts more frequently attract admiration than procure esteem. To bring forth knowlege agreeably, as well as usefully, is perhaps very difficult for those, who have attained it in the secluded walks of study and speculation, and is an art seldom found but in men who have likewise acquired some knowlege of the world.

I would however distinguish between that knowlege of the world that fits us for intercourse with the better part of mankind, and that which we gain by associating with the worst.

But there is a certain learned rust which men as well as metals acquire; it is, simply speaking, a blemish in both; the social feelings grow callous from disuse, and lose that pliancy of little affection, which sweetens the cup of life as we drink it.

Even the ceremonial of the world, shallow as it may appear, is not without its use; it may indeed take from the warmth of friendship, but it covers the coldness of indifference; and if it has repressed the genuine overflowings of kindness, it has smothered the turbulence of passion and animosity.

Politeness taught as an art is ridiculous; as the expression of liberal sentiment and courteous manners, it is truly valuable. There is a politeness of the heart which is confined to no rank, and dependent upon no education: the desire of obliging, which a man possessed of this quality will universally show, seldom fails of pleasing, though his stile may differ from that of modern refinement. I knew a man in London, of the gentlest manners, and of the most winning deportment; whose eye was ever brightened with the smiles of good-humour, and whose voice was mellowed with the tones of complacency;—and this man was bred a blacksmith!

The falsehood of politeness is often pleaded for, as unavoidable in the commerce of mankind; yet I would have it as little indulged as possible. There is a frankness without rusticity, an openness of manner, prompted by good-humour, but guided by delicacy, which some are happy enough to possess, that engages every worthy man, and gives not offence even to those, whose good opinion, though of little estimation, it is the business of prudence not wantonly to lose.

The circles of the gay, my children, would smile to hear me talk of qualities which my retired manner of life has allowed me so little opportunity of observing; but true good-breeding is not confined within those bounds to which their pedantry (if I may use the expression) would restrict it: true good-breeding is the sister of philanthropy, with feelings perhaps not so serious or tender, but equally inspired by a fineness of soul, and open to the impressions of social affection.

As politeness is the rule of the world's manners, so has it erected Honour the standard of its morality; but its dictates too frequently depart from wisdom with respect to ourselves, from justice and humanity with respect to others. Genuine honour is undoubtedly the offspring of both; but there has arisen a counterfeit, who, as he is more boastful and showy, has more attracted the notice of gaiety and grandeur. Generosity and courage are the virtues he boasts of possessing; but his generosity is a fool, and his courage a murderer.

The punctilio's indeed on which he depends, for his own peace, and the peace of society, are so ridiculous in the eye of reason, that it is not a little surprising, how so many millions of reasonable beings should have sanctified them with their mutual consent and acquiescence; that they should have agreed to surround the seats of friendship, and the table of festivity, with so many thorns of inquietude, and snares of destruction.

You will probably hear, my son, very frequent applause bestowed on men of nice and jealous honour, who suffer not the smallest affront to pass unquestioned or unrevenged; but do not imagine that the character which is most sacredly guarded, is always the most unsullied in reality, nor allow yourself to envy a reputation for that sort of valour which supports it. Think how uneasily that man must pass his time, who sits, like a spider in the midst of his feeling web, ready to catch the minutest occasion for quarrel and resentment. There is often more real pusillanimity in the mind that starts into opposition where none is necessary, than in him who overlooks the wanderings of some unguarded act or expression, as not of consequence enough to challenge indignation or revenge. I am aware, that the young and high-spirited will say, that men can only judge of actions, and that they will hold as cowardice, the blindness I would recommend to affront or provocation; but there is a steady coolness and possession of one's self, which this principle will commonly bestow, equally remote from the weakness of fear, and the discomposure of anger, which gives to its possessor a station that seldom fails of commanding respect, even from the ferocious votaries of sanguinary Honour.

But some principle is required to draw a line of action, above the mere precepts of moral equity,

"Beyond the fixt and settled rules;"

and for this purpose is instituted the motive of Honour :—there is another at hand, which the substitution of this phantom too often destroys—it is Conscience —whose voice, were it not stifled (sometimes by this very false and spurious Honour) would lead directly to that liberal construction of the rules of morality which is here contended for. Let my children never suffer this monitor to speak unheeded, nor drown its whispers, amidst the din of pleasure, or the bustle of life. Consider it as the representative of that Power who spake the soul into being, and in whose disposal existence is! To listen therefore to his unwritten law which he promulgates by its voice, has every sanction which his authority can give. It were enough to say that we are mortal; —but the argument is irresistible, when we remember our Immortality.

CHAP. VII.

Introducing a new and capital Character.

It was thus the good man instructed his children.

But, behold! the enemy came in the night and sowed tares!

Such an enemy had the harmless family of which Annesly was the head. It is ever to be regretted, that mischief is seldom so weak but that worth may be stung by it; in the present instance, however, it was supported by talents misapplied and ingenuity perverted.

Sir Thomas Sindall enjoyed an estate of 5000l. a year in Annesly's parish. His father left him, when but a child, possessed of an estate to the amount we have just mentioned and of a very large sum of money besides, which his economy had saved him from its produce. His mother, though a very good woman, was a very bad parent; she loved her son, as too many mothers do, with that instinctive affection which nature has bestowed on the lowest rank of creatures. She loved him as her son, though he inherited none of her virtues, and because she happened to have no other child, she reared this in such a manner, as was most likely to prevent the comfort he might have afforded herself, and the usefulness of which he might have been to society. In short, he did what he liked, at first because his spirit should not be confined too early, and afterwards he did what he liked, because it was past being confined at all.

But his temper was not altogether of that fiery kind, which some young men, so circumstanced, and so educated, are possessed of. There was a degree of prudence which grew up with him from a boy, that tempered the sallies of passion to make its object more sure in the acquisition. When at school, he was always the conductor of mischief, though he did not often participate in its execution; and his carriage to his master was such, that he was a favourite without any abilities as a scholar, and acquired a character for regularity, while his associates were daily flogged for transgressions, which he had guided in their progress, and enjoyed the fruits of in their completion. There sometimes arose suspicions of the reality; but even those who discovered them mingled a certain degree of praise with their censure, and prophesied, that he would be A Man of the World.

As he advanced in life, he fashioned his behaviour to the different humours of the gentlemen in the neighbourhood; he hunted with the fox-hunters through the day, and drank with them in the evening. With these he diverted himself at the expence of the sober prigs, as he termed them, that looked after the improvement of their estates when it was fair, and read a book within doors when it rained; and to-morrow he talked on farming with this latter class, and ridiculed the hunting phrases, and boisterous mirth of his yesterday's companions. They were very well pleased to laugh at one another, while he laughed in his sleeve at both. This was sometimes discovered, and people were going to be angry—but somebody said in excuse that Sindall was A Man of the World.

While the Oxford-terms lasted, (to which place he had gone in the course of modern education) there were frequent reports in the country of the dissipated life he led; it was even said that he had disappeared from college for six weeks togegether, during which time he was suspected of having taken a trip to London with another man's wife; this was only mentioned in a whisper; it was loudly denied; people doubted at first, and shortly forgot it. Some little extravagances they said he might have been guilty of. It was impossible for a man of two and twenty to seclude himself altogether from company; and you could not look for the temperance of a hermit in a young baronet of 5000 l. a year. It is indispensable for such a man to come forth into life a little; with 5000l. a year, one must be A Man of the World.

His first tutor, whose learning was as extensive, as his manners were pure, left him in disgust; sober people wondered at this; but he was soon provided with another with whom he had got acquainted at Oxford: One whom every body declared to be much fitter for the tuition of young Sindall, being like his pupil, A Man of the World.

But though his extravagance in squandering money, under the tuition of this gentleman, was frequently complained of, yet it was found that he was not altogether thoughtless of its acquisition. Upon the sale of an estate in his neighbourhood, it was discovered that a very advantageous mortgage, which had stood in the name of another, had been really transacted for the benefit of young Sindall. His prudent friends plumed themselves upon this intelligence; and according to their use of the phrase, began to hope, that, after sowing his wild oats, sir Thomas would turn out A Man of the World.

CHAP. VIII.

The Footing on which he stood with Annesly and his Family.

Though such a man as we have described might be reckoned a valuable acquaintance by many, he was otherwise reckoned by Annesly; he had heard enough (though he had heard but part) of his character, to consider him as a dangerous neighbour; but it was impossible to avoid sometimes seeing him, from whose father he had got the living which he now occupied. There is no tax so heavy on a little man, as an acquaintance with a great one. Annesly had found this in the life-time of Sir William Sindall. He was one of those whom the general voice pronounces to be a good sort of man, under which denomination I never look for much sense, or much delicacy. In fact the baronet possessed but little of either; he lived hospitably for his own sake, as well as that of his guests, because he liked a good dinner and a bottle of wine after it; and in one part of hospitality he excelled, which was, the faculty of making every body drunk that had not uncommon fortitude to withstand his attacks. Annesly's cloth protected him from this last inconvenience; but it often drew from Sir William a set of jests, which his memory had enabled him to retain, and had passed through the heirs of his family, like their estate, down from the days of that monarch of facetious memory, Charles the Second.

Though to a man of Annesly's delicacy all this could not but be highly disagreeable, yet gratitude made him Sir William's guest oft enough to show that he had not forgot that attention which his past favours demanded; and Sir William recollected them from another motive, to wit, that they gave a sanction to those liberties he sometimes used with him who had received them. This might have been held sufficient to have cancelled the obligation; but Annesly was not wont to be directed by the easiest rules of virtue; the impression still remained, and it even descended to the son after the death of the father.

Sindall therefore was a frequent guest at his house; and, though it might have been imagined, that the dissipated mind of a young man of his fortune would have found but little delight in Annesly's humble shed, yet he seemed to enjoy its simplicity with the highest relish; he possessed indeed that pliancy of disposition that could wonderfully accommodate itself to the humour of every one around him; and he so managed matters in his visits to Annesly, that this last began to imagine the reports he had heard concerning him, to be either entirely false, or at least aggravated much beyond truth.

From what motive soever Sindall began these visits, he soon discovered a very strong inducement to continue them. Harriet Annesly was now arrived at the size, if not the age, of womanhood; and possessed an uncommon degree of beauty and elegance of form. In her face joined to the most perfect symmetry of features was a melting expression, suited to that sensibility of soul we have mentioned her to be endowed with. In her person, rather above the common size, she exhibited a degree of ease and gracefulness which nature alone had given, and art was not allowed to diminish. Upon such a woman Sindall could not look with indifference; and according to his principles of libertinism, he had marked her as a prey, which his situation gave him opportunities of pursuing, and which one day he could not fail to possess.

In the course of his acquaintance he began to discover, that the softness of her soul was distant from simplicity, and that much art would be necessary to overcome a virtue, which the hand of a parent had carefully fortified. He assumed therefore the semblance of those tender feelings, which were most likely to gain the esteem of the daughter, while he talked with that appearance of candour and principle, which he thought necessary to procure him the confidence of the father. He would frequently confess, with a sigh, that his youth had been sometimes unwarily drawn into error; then grasp Annesly's hand, and looking earnestly in his face, beg him to strengthen by his counsel the good resolutions which he thanked heaven he had been enabled to make. Upon the whole, he continued to gain such a degree of estimation with the family, that the young folks spoke of his seeming good qualities with pleasure, and their father mentioned his supposed foibles with regret.

CHAP. IX.

Young Annesly goes to Oxford—The Friendship of Sindall—It's Consequences.

Upon its being determined that young Annesly should go to Oxford, Sir Thomas showed him remarkable kindness and attention. He conducted him thither in his own carriage; and as his kinsman, to whose charge he was committed, happened accidentally to be for some time unable to assign him an apartment in his house, Sindall quitted his own lodging to accommodate him. To a young man newly lanched into life, removed from the only society he had ever known, to another composed of strangers, such assiduity of notice could not but be highly pleasing; and in his letters to his father he did not fail to set forth, in the strongest manner, the obligations he had to sir Thomas. His father, whom years had taught wisdom, but whose warmth of gratitude they had not diminished, felt the favour as acutely as his son; nor did the foresight of meaner souls arise in his breast to abate its acknowledgment.

The hopes which he had formed of his Billy were not disappointed. He very soon distinguished himself in the university for learning and genius; and in the correspondence of his kinsman were recited daily instances of the notice which his parts attracted. But his praise was cold in comparison with Sindall's; he wrote to Annesly of his young friend's acquirement and abilities, in a strain of enthusiastic encomium; and seemed to speak the language of his own enjoyment, at the applause of others which he recited. It was on this side that Annesly's soul was accessible, for on this side lay that pride which is the weakness of all. On this side did Sindall overcome it.

From those very qualities also which he applauded in the son, he derived the temptation with which he meant to seduce him; for such was the plan of exquisite mischief he had formed; besides the common desire of depravity to make proselytes from innocence, he considered the virtue of the brother as that structure on the ruin of which he was to accomplish the conquest of the sister's. He introduced him therefore into the company of some of the most artful of his own associates, who loudly echoed the praises he lavished on his friend, and showed, or pretended to show, that value for his acquaintance, which was the strongest recommendation possible of their own. The diffidence which Annesly's youth and inexperience had at first laid upon his mind, they removed by the encouragement which their approbation of his opinions bestowed; and he found himself endebted to them both for an ease of delivering his sentiments, and the reputation which their suffrages conferred upon them.

For all this, however, they expected a return; and Annesly had not fortitude to deny it—an indulgence for some trivial irregularities which they now and then permitted to appear in their conversation. At first their new acquaintance took no notice of them at all; he found that he could not approve, and it would have hurt him to condemn. By degrees he began to allow them his laugh, though his soul was little at ease under the gaiety which his features assumed—once or twice when the majority against him appeared to be small, he ventured to argue, though with a caution of giving offence, against some of the sentiments he heard. Upon these occasions Sindall artfully joined him in the argument; but they were always overcome. He had to deal with men who were skilled, by a mere act of the memory, in all the sophisms which voluptuaries have framed to justify the unbounded pursuit of pleasure; and those who had not learning enough to argue, had assurance to laugh. Yet Annesly's conviction was not changed; but the edge of his abhorrence to vice was blunted; and though his virtue kept her post, she found herself gall'd in maintaining it.

It was not till some time after, that they ventured to solicit his participation of their pleasures; and it was not till after many solicitations that his innocence was overcome. But the progress of their victories was rapid after his first defeat. And he shortly attained the station of experienced vice, and began to assume a superiority from the undauntedness with which he practised it.

But it was necessary, the while, to deceive that relation under whose inspection his father had placed him; in truth it was no very hard matter to deceive him. He was a man of that abstracted disposition, that is seldom conversant with any thing around it. Simplicity of manners was, in him, the effect of an apathy in his constitution (encreased by constant study) that was proof against all violence of passion or desire; and he thought, if he thought of the matter at all, that all men were like himself, whose indolence could never be overcome by the pleasure of pursuit, or the joys of attainment. Besides all this, Mr. Lumley, that tutor of Sindall's whom we have formerly mentioned, was a man the best calculated in the world for lulling his suspicions asleep, if his nature had ever allowed them to arise. This man, whose parts were of that pliable kind that easily acquire a superficial knowledge of every thing, possessed the talent of hypocrisy as deeply as the desire of pleasure; and while in reality he was the most profligate of men, he had that command of passion, which never suffered it to intrude where he could wish it concealed; he preserved in the opinion of Mr. Jephson, the gravity of a studious and contemplative character which was so congenial to his own: and he would often rise from a metaphysical discussion with the old gentleman, leaving him in admiration of the depth of his reading, and the acuteness of his parts, to join the debauch of Sindall and his dissolute companions.

By his assistance therefore Annesly's dissipation was effectually screened from the notice of his kinsman; Jephson was even prevailed on by false suggestions to write to the country continued encomiums on his sobriety and application to study; and the father, who was happy in believing him, enquired no farther.

CHAP. X.

A very gross attempt is made in Annesly's honour.

Sindall having brought the mind of his proselyte to that conformity of sentiment to which he had thus laboured to reduce it, ventured to discover to him the passion he had conceived for his sister. The occasion, however, on which he discovered it, was such a one as he imagined gave him some title to be listened to.

Annesly had an allowance settled on him by his father, rather in truth above what his circumstances might warrant with propriety; but as the feelings of the good man's heart were, in every virtuous purpose, somewhat beyond the limitations of his fortune, he inclined rather to pinch himself, than to stop any channel through which advantage might flow to his son; and meant his education and his manners to be in every respect liberal and accomplished.

But this allowance ill sufficed to gratify the extravagance which his late connexion had taught him; he began very soon to know a want which he had never hitherto experienced: at first this not only limited his pleasures, but began to check the desire of them, and in some measure served to awaken that sense of contrition, which their rotation had before overcome. But Sindall took care that he should not be thus left to reflexion; and as soon as he guessed the cause, prevented its continuance by an immediate supply, offered, and indeed urged, with all the open warmth of disinterested friendship. From being accustomed to receive, Annesly at last overcame the shame of asking, and applied repeatedly for sums, under the denomination of loans, for the payment of which he could only draw upon contingency. His necessities were the more frequent, as, amongst other arts of pleasure which he had lately acquired, that of gaming had not been omitted.

Having one night lost a sum, considerably above what he was able to pay, to a member of their society with whom he was in no degree of intimacy, he gave him his note payable the next morning (for this was the regulated limitation of their credit) though he knew that to-morrow would find him as poor as to-night. On these particular occasions, when his hours would have been so highly irregular, that they could not escape the censure of Mr. Jephson, or his family, he used to pretend, that, for the sake of disentangling some point of study with Sindall and his tutor, he had passed the night with them at their lodgings, and what small portion of it was allowed for sleep he did actually spend there. After this loss therefore, he accompanied Sindall home, and could not, it may well be supposed, conceal from him the shagreen it occasioned. His friend as usual advanced him money for discharging the debt. Annesly, who never had had occasion to borrow so much from him before, expressed his sorrow at the necessity which his honour laid him under, of accepting so large a sum. Poh! answered Sindall, 'tis but a trifle, and what a man must now and then lose to be thought genteelly of. "Yes, if his fortune can afford it," said the other gloomily. Ay, there's the rub, returned his friend; that fortune should have constituted an inequality where nature made none. How just is the complaint of Jaffier,

Tell me why, good heav'n! Thou mad'st me what I am, with all the spirit Aspiring thoughts and elegant desires, That fill the happiest man?

"That such should be the lot of my friend, I can regret—thanks to my better stars, I can more than regret it. What is the value of this dross (holding a handful of gold) but to make the situation of merit level with its deservings? Yet, believe me, there are wants which riches cannot remove, desires which sometimes they cannot satisfy; even at this moment, your seeming-happy Sindall, in whose lap fortune has poured her blessings, has his cares, my Annesly, has his inquietudes, which need the hand of friendship to comfort and to sooth."

Annesly, with all the warmth of his nature, insisted on partaking his uneasiness, that if he could not alleviate, he might at least condole with his distress.

Sindall embraced him; "I know your friendship, said he, and I will put it to the proof. You have a sister, the lovely, the adorable Harriet; she has robb'd me of that peace which the smile of fortune cannot restore, as her frown had been unable to take away! did you know the burnings of this bosom! but I speak unthinkingly what perhaps my delicacy should not have whispered, even in the ear of friendship. Pardon me—the ardor of a love like mine may be forgiven some extravagance."

Annesly's eyes sufficiently testified his inward satisfaction at this discovery, but he recollected the dignity which his situation required, and replied calmly, "that he pretended no guidance of his sister's inclinations; that his own gratitude for sir Thomas's favours he had ever loudly declared; and that he knew his sister felt enough on his account, to make the introduction of her brother's friend a more than usually favourable one."

"But my situation, returned Sindall, is extremely particular; you have heard my opinions on the score of love often declared; and trust me, they are the genuine sentiments of my heart. The trammels of form, which the unfeeling custom of the world has thrown upon the freedom of mutual affection, are insupportable to that fineness of soul, to which restraint and happiness are terms of opposition. Let my mistress be my mistress still, with all the privileges of a wife, without a wife's indifference or a wife's disquiet. —My fortune the property of her and her friends, but that liberty alone reserved, which is the strongest bond of the affection she should wish to possess from me." —He look'd stedfastly in Annesly's face, which by this time began to assume every mark of resentment and indignation. He eyed him ascant with an affected smile: —"You smile, sir," said Annesly, whose breath was stifled by the swelling of his heart—Sindall laugh'd aloud: "I am a wretched hypocrite, said he, and could contain myself no longer." "So you were but in jest, it seems," replied the other, settling his features into a dry composure. "My dear Annesly, returned he, had you but seen the countenance this trial of mine gave you; it would have made a picture worthy of the gallery of Florence. I wanted to have a perfect idea of surprize, indignation, struggling friendship, and swelling honour, and I think I succeeded. —But I keep you from your rest —Good night—and he walked out of the room."

Annesly had felt too much to be able to resign himself speedily to rest; he could not but think this joke of his friend rather a serious one; yet he had seen him sometimes carry this species of wit to a very extraordinary length; but the indelicacy of the present instance was not to be easily accounted for—he doubted, believed, was angry, and pacified by turns; the remembrance of his favours arose; they arose at first in a form that added to the malignity of the offence; then the series in which they had been bestowed, seem'd to plead on the other side. At last, when worn by the fighting of contrary emotions, he look'd forward to the consequences of a rupture with Sindall; the pleasures of that society of which he was the leader, the habitual tie which it had got on Annesly's soul, prevail'd; for he had by this time lost that satisfaction which was wont to flow from himself. He shut his mind against the suggestions of any further suspicion, and, with that winking cowardice, which many mistake for resolution, was resolved to trust him for his friend, whom it would have hurt him to consider as an enemy.

Sindall, on the other hand, discovered that the youth was not so entirely at his disposal as he had imagined him; and that though he was proselyte enough to be wicked, he must be led a little farther to be useful.

CHAP. XI.

Annesly gives farther proofs of depravity of manners. The effect it has on his father, and the consequences with regard to his connexion with Sindall.

To continue that train of dissipation, in which their pupil had been initiated, was the business of Sindall and his associates. Though they contrived, as we have before mentioned, to escape the immediate notice of Mr. Jephson, yet the eyes of others could not be so easily blinded; the behaviour of Annesly began to be talk'd of for its irregularity, and the more so, for the change which it had undergone from that simplicity of manners which he had brought with him to Oxford. And some one, whether from regard to him, or what other motive I know not, informed his kinsman of what every one but his kinsman suspected.

Upon this information he gave the young man a lecture in the usual terms of admonition; but an effort was always painful to him, even where the office was more agreeable than that of reproof. He had recourse therefore to the assistance of his fellow-philosopher Mr. Lumley, whom he informed of the accounts he had received of Annesly's imprudence, and entreated to take the proper measures, from his influence with the young gentleman, to make him sensible of the impropriety of his past conduct, and to prevent its continuance for the future.

Lumley expressed his surprize at this intelligence, with unparallel'd command of features; regretted the too prevailing dissipation of youth, affected to doubt the truth of the accusation, but promised at the same time, to make the proper enquiries into the fact, and take the most prudent method of preventing a consequence so dangerous, as that of drawing from the road of his duty, one whom he believed to be possessed of so many good qualities as Mr. Annesly.

Whether Mr. Lumley employed his talents towards his reformation or degeneracy, it is certain that Annesly's conduct betrayed many marks of the latter; at last, in an hour of intoxication, having engaged in a quarrel with one of his companions, it produced consequences so notorious, that the proctor could not fail to take notice of it; and that officer of the university having interposed his authority, in a manner which the humour of Annesly, inflammable as it then was, could not brook, he broke forth into some extravagances so personally offensive, that when the matter came to be canvassed, nothing short of expulsion was talk'd of as a punishment for the offence.

It was then that Mr. Jephson first informed his father of those irregularities which his son had been guilty of. His father indeed, from the discontinuance of that gentleman's correspondence much beyond the usual time, had begun to make some unfavorable conjectures; but he accounted for this neglect from many different causes; and when once his ingenuity had taken that side of the argument, it quickly found means to convince him that his kinsman's silence could not be imputed to any fault of his son.

It was at the close of one of their solitary meals that this account of Jephson's happened to reach Annesly and his daughter. Harriet never forgot her Billy's health, and she had now filled her father's glass to the accustomed pledge, when the servant brought them a letter with the Oxford mark on it. Read it, my love, said Annesly, with a smile, while he began to blame his suspicions at the silence of his kinsman. Harriet began reading accordingly, but she had scarce got through the first sentence, when the matter it contained rendered her voice inarticulate. Her father took the letter out of her hand, and after perusing it, he put it in his pocket, keeping up a look of composure amidst the anguish with which his heart was wrung. "Alas! said Harriet, what has my brother done?" he press'd her involuntarily to his bosom, and it was then that he could not restrain his tears— "Your brother, my love, has forgotten us; he has forgotten the purity which here is happiness, and I fear has ill exchang'd it for what the world calls pleasure; but this is the first of his wanderings, and we will endeavour to call him back into the path he has left. Reach me the pen, ink, and paper, my love." — "I will go, said she, sobbing, and pray for him the while." Annesly sat down to write—"My dearest boy!"—'twas a movement grown mechanical to his pen —he dasht through the words, and a tear fell on the place;—ye know not, ye who revel in the wantonness of dissipation, and scoff at the solicitude of parental affection! ye know not the agony of such a tear; else—ye are men, and it were beyond the depravity of nature.

It was not till after more than one blotted scrawl, that he was able to write, what the man might claim, and the parent should approve. The letter which he at last determined to send was of the following tenor:

"My son, "With anguish I write what I trust will be read with contrition. I am not skilled in the language of rebuke, and it was once my pride to have such a son that I needed not to acquire it. If he has not lost the feelings by which the silent sorrows of a father's heart are understood, I shall have no need of words to recal him from that conduct by which they are caused. In the midst of what he will now term pleasure, he may have forgotten the father and the friend; let this tear, with which my paper is blotted, awaken his remembrance; it is not the first I have shed; but it is the first which flowed from my affliction mingled with disgrace. Had I been only weeping for my son, I should have found some melancholy comfort to support me; while I blush for him, I have no consolation.

"But the future is yet left to him and to me; let the reparation be immediate, as the wrong was great; that the tongue which speaks of your shame maybe stopt with the information of your amendment."

He had just finished this letter when Harriet entered the room: "Will my dear papa forgive me, said she, if I inclose a few lines under this cover." — "Forgive you, my dear! it cannot offend me." She laid her hand on his letter, and look'd as if she would have said something more; he press'd her hand in his; a tear which had just budded in her eye, now dropp'd to the ground. "You have not been harsh to my Billy:" she blush'd as she spoke; and her father kiss'd her cheek as it blush'd. —She inclosed the following note to her brother:

"Did my dearest Billy but know the sorrow which he has given the most indulgent of fathers, he could not less than his Harriet regret the occasion of it.

"But things may be represented worse than they really are—I am busy at framing excuses; but I will say nothing more on a subject, which, by this time, my brother must have thought enough on.

"Alas! that you should leave this seat of innocent delight; but men were made for bustle and society: yet we might have been happy here together; there are in other hearts, wishes which they call ambition; mine shrinks at the thought, and would shelter for ever amidst the sweets of this humble spot. Would that its partner were here to taste them! the shrub-walk, you mark'd out through the little grove, I have been careful to trim in your absence—'tis wild, melancholy, and thoughtful. It is there that I think most of my Billy.

"But at this time, besides his absence, there is another cause to allay the pleasure which the beauties of nature should bestow. My dear papa is far from being well. He has no fix'd complaint; but he looks thin and pale, and his appetite is almost entirely gone; yet he will not let me say that he ails: oh! my brother! I dare not think more that way. Would you were here to comfort me! in the mean time remember your ever affectionate

"Harriet."

Annesly was just about to dispatch these letters when he received one expressed in the most sympathizing terms from sir Thomas Sindall. That young gentleman, after touching, in the tenderest manner, on the pain which a father must feel from the errors of his children, administered the only comfort that was left to administer, by representing, that young Annesly's fault had been exaggerated much beyond the truth, and that it was entirely owing to the effects of a warm temper, accidentally inflamed with liquor, and provoked by some degree of insolence in the officer to whom the outrage had been offer'd; he particularly regretted that his present disposition towards sobriety, had prevented himself from being present at that meeting, in which case, he said, he was pretty certain this unlucky affair had never happened; that, as it was, the only thing left for his friendship to do, was to amend what it had not lain within his power to prevent; and he begg'd, as a testimony of the old gentleman's regard, that he might honour him so far as to commit to him the care of setting matters to rights with regard to the character of his son, which he hoped to be soon able effectually to restore.

The earliest consolation which a man receives after any calamity is hallowed for ever in his regard, as a benighted traveller caresses the dog whose barking first announced him to be near the habitations of men. It was so with Annesly; his unsuspecting heart overflowed with gratitude towards this friend of his son, and he now grew lavish of his confidence towards him, in proportion as he recollected having once (in his present opinion unjustly) denied it.

He returned therefore an answer to sir Thomas, with all those genuine expressions of acknowledgment, which the honest emotions of his soul could dictate; he accepted, as the greatest obligation, that concern which he took in the welfare of his son, and chearfully reposed on his care the trust which his friendship desired; and as a proof of it, he inclosed to him the letter he had wrote to William, to be delivered at what time, and enforced in what manner, his prudence should suggest.

CHAP. XII.

The plan which Sindall forms for obliterating the stain which the character of his friend had suffered.

Sir Thomas did accordingly deliver this letter of Annesly's to his son; and as the penitence which the young man there felt for his recent offence, made the assumption of a character of sobriety proper, he accompanied this paternal remonstrance with advices of his own, dictated alike by friendship and prudence.

They were at this time, indeed, but little necessary; in the interval between the paroxysms of pleasure and dissipation, the genuine feelings of his nature had time to arise; and, awakened as they now were by the letters of his father and sister, their voice was irresistible: he kiss'd the signature of their names a thousand times, and, weeping on Sindall's neck, imprecated the wrath of heaven on his own head, that could thus heap affliction on the age of the best of parents.

He express'd at the same time his intention of leaving Oxford, and returning home, as an immediate instance of his desire of reformation. Sir Thomas, though he gave all the praise to this purpose which its filial piety deserved, yet doubted the propriety of putting it in execution; he said that in the little circles of the country, Annesly's penitence would not so immediately blot out his offence, but that the weak and the illiberal would shun the contagion, as it were, of his company, and that he would meet every day with affronts and neglects, which the sincerity of his repentance ill deserved, and his consciousness of that sincerity might not easily brook. He told him, that a young gentleman, a friend of his, who was just going to set out on a tour abroad, had but a few days before written to him, desiring his recommendation of some body, with the manners and education of a gentleman, to accompany him on his travels, and that he believed he could easily procure that station for his friend; which would have the double advantage, of removing him from the obloquy to which the late accident had subjected him, and of improving him in every respect, by the opportunity it would give, of observing the laws, customs, and polity of our neighbours on the continent.

While the depression produced by Annesly's consciousness of his offences remained strong upon his mind, this proposal met with no very warm reception; but, in proportion as the comfort and encouragement of his friend prevailed, the ambition, which a man of his age naturally feels to see something of the world, began to speak in its behalf; he mentioned however the consent of his father as an indispensable preliminary. This sir Thomas allowed to be just, and showing him that confidential letter which the old gentleman had written him, undertook to mention this scheme for his approbation in the answer he intended making to it. In this too was enclosed his young friend's return to the letters of his father and sister, which were contained in the preceding chapter; full of that contrition which, at the time, he really felt, and of those good resolutions which, at the time, he sincerely formed. As to the matter of his going abroad, he only touch'd on it as a plan of sir Thomas Sindall's, whose friendship had dictated the proposal, and whose judgment of its expediency his own words were to contain.

His father received it, not without those pangs, which the thought of separation from a son, on whom the peace of his soul rested, must cause; but he examined it with that impartiality which his wisdom suggested in every thing that concerned his children: "My own satisfaction, he would often say, has for its object only the few years of a waning life; the situation of my children, my hopes would extend to the importance of a much longer period." He held the balance therefore in an even hand; the arguments of Sindall had much of the specious, as his inducement to use them had much of the friendly. The young gentleman, whom Billy was to accompany, had connexions of such weight in the state, that the fairest prospects seemed to open from their patronage; nor could the force of that argument be denied, which supposed conveniency in the change of place to Annesly at the present, and improvement for the future. There were not however wanting some considerations of reason to side with a parent's tears against the journey; but Sindall had answers for them all; and at last he wrung from him his slow leave, on condition that William should return home, for a single day, to bid the last farewel to his father and his Harriet.

Mean time the punishment of Annesly's late offence in the university was mitigated by the interest of Sindall, and the intercession of Mr. Jephson. Expulsion, which had before been insisted on, was changed into a sentence of less indignity, to wit, that of being publicly reprimanded by the head of the college to which he belonged; after submitting to which, he set out, accompanied by sir Thomas, to bid adieu to his father's house, preparatory to his going abroad.

His father at meeting touch'd on his late irregularities with that delicacy, of which a good mind cannot divest itself, even amidst the purposed severity of reproof: and, having thus far sacrificed to justice and parental authority, he opened his soul to all that warmth of affection which his Billy had always experienced; nor was the mind of his son yet so perverted by his former course of dissipation, as to be insensible to that sympathy of feelings which this indulgence should produce. The tear which he offered to it was the sacrifice of his heart; wrung by the recollection of the past, and swelling with the purpose of the future.

When the morning of his departure arrived, he stole softly into his father's chamber, meaning to take leave of him without being seen by his sister, whose tenderness of soul could not easily bear the pangs of a solemn farewel. He found his father on his knees. —The good man, rising with that serene dignity of aspect which those sacred duties ever conferred on him, turned to his son: "You go, my boy, said he, to a distant land, far from the guidance and protection of your earthly parent; I was recommending you to the care of him who is at all times present with you: though I am not superstitious, yet I confess, I feel something about me as if I should never see you more; if these are my last words, let them be treasur'd in your remembrance—Live as becomes a man, and a christian; live as becomes him who is to live for ever!"

As he spoke, his daughter entered the room. "Ah! my Billy, said she, could you have been so cruel as to go without seeing your Harriet? it would have broken my heart! oh! I have much to say and many farewels to take; yet now methinks I can say nothing, and scarce dare bid you farewel!" —"My children, interrupted her father, in this cabinet is a present I have always intended for each of you; and this, which is perhaps the last time we shall meet together, I think the fittest to bestow them. Here, my Harriet, is a miniature of that angel your mother; imitate her virtues, and be happy. —Here, my Billy, is its counterpart, a picture of your father; whatever he is, heaven knows his affection to you; let that endear the memorial, and recommend that conduct to his son which will make his father's grey hairs go down to the grave in peace!" Tears were the only answer that either could give. Annesly embraced his son and bless'd him. Harriet blubber'd on his neck! Twice he offered to go, and twice the agony of his sister pulled him back; at last she flung herself into the arms of her father, who beckoning to sir Thomas Sindall, just then arrived to carry off his companion, that young gentleman, who was himself not a little affected with the scene, took his friend by the hand, and led him to the carriage that waited them.

CHAP. XIII.

He reaches London, where he remains longer than was expected. The effects of his stay there.

In a few days Annesly and his friend the baronet arrived in the metropolis. His father had been informed, that the gentleman whom he was to accompany in his travels was to meet him in that city, where they proposed to remain only a week or two; for the purpose of seeing any thing curious in town, and of settling some points of accommodation on their rout through the countries they meant to visit: an intelligence he confessed very agreeable to him, because he knew the temptations to which a young man is exposed by a life of idleness in London.

But, in truth, the intention of sir Thomas Sindall never was, that his present pupil (if we may so call him) should travel any farther. The young gentleman, for whose companion he had pretended to engage Annesly, was indeed to set out very soon after on the tour of Europe; but he had already been provided with a travelling governor, who was to meet him upon his arrival at Calais (for the air of England agreed so ill with this gentleman's constitution, that he never cross'd the channel) and who had made the same journey, several times before, with some English young men of great fortunes, whom he had the honour of returning to their native country, with the same sovereign contempt for it that he himself entertained. The purpose of Sindall was merely to remove the son to a still greater distance from his father, and to a scene where his own plan, of entire conversion, should meet with every aid, which the society of the idle and the profligate could give it.

For some time, however, he found the disposition of Annesly averse to his designs. The figure of his father venerable in virtue, of his sister lovely in innocence, were imprinted on his mind; and the variety of public places of entertainment, to which sir Thomas conducted him, could not immediately efface the impression.

But as their novelty at first delighted, their frequency at last subdued him; his mind began to accustom itself to the hurry of thoughtless amusement, and to feel a painful vacancy, when the bustle of the scene was at any time changed for solitude. The unrestrained warmth and energy of his temper, yielded up his understanding to the company of fools, and his resolutions of reformation to the society of the dissolute, because it caught the fervor of the present moment, before reason could pause on the disposal of the next; and, by the industry of Sindall, he found, every day, a set of friends, among whom the most engaging were always the most licentious, and joined to every thing which the good detest, every thing which the unthinking admire. I have often indeed been tempted to imagine, that there is something unfortunate, if not blamable, in that harshness and austerity, which virtue too often assumes; and have seen, with regret, some excellent men, the authority of whose understanding, and the attraction of whose wit, might have kept many a deserter under the banners of goodness, lose all that power of service, by the unbending distance which they kept from the little pleasantries and sweetnesses of life. This conduct may be safe, but there is something ungenerous and cowardly in it; to keep their forces, like an over-cautious commander, in fastnesses, and fortified towns, while they suffer the enemy to waste and ravage the country. Praise is indeed due to him, who can any way preserve his integrity; but surely the heart that can retain it, even while it opens to all the warmth of social feeling, will be an offering more acceptable in the eye of heaven.

Annesly was distant from any counsel or example, that might counterbalance the contagious influence of the dissolute society, with which his time was now engross'd; but his seduction was not complete, till the better principles, which his soul still retained, were made accessary to its accomplishment.

Sindall procured a woman infamous enough for his purpose, the cast mistress of one of his former companions, whom he tutored to invent a plausible story of distress and misfortune, which he contrived, in a manner seemingly accidental, to have communicated to Annesly. His native compassion, and his native warmth, were interested in her sufferings, and her wrongs; and he applauded himself for the protection which he afforded her, while she was the abandoned instrument of his undoing. After having retained, for some time, the purity of her guardian and protector, in an hour of intoxication he ventured to approach her on a looser footing; and she had afterwards the address to make him believe, that the weakness of her gratitude had granted to him, what to any other her virtue would have refused; and during the criminal intercourse in which he lived with her, she continued to maintain a character of affection and tenderness, which might excuse the guilt of her own conduct, and account for the infatuation of his.

In this fatal connexion every remembrance of that weeping home which he had so lately left, with the resolutions of penitence and reformation, was erased from his mind; or, if at times it intruded, it came not that gentle guest, at whose approach his bosom used to be thrilled with reverence and love, but approached in the form of some ungracious monitor, whose business was to banish pleasure and awaken remorse; and, therefore, the next amusement, folly, or vice, was called in to his aid to banish and expel it. As it was sometimes necessary to write to his father, he fell upon an expedient, even to save himself the pain of thinking so long, as that purpose required, on a subject now grown so irksome to him, and employed that woman, in whose toils he was thus shamefully entangled, to read the letters he received, and dictate such answers as her cunning could suggest, to mislead the judgment of his unsuspecting parent.

All this while Sindall artfully kept so much aloof, as to preserve, even with the son, something of that character which he had acquired with the father; he was often absent from parties of remarkable irregularity, and sometimes ventured a gentle censure on his friend for having been led into them. But while he seemed to check their continuance under this cloak of prudence, he encouraged it in the report he made of the voice of others; for while the scale of character, for temperance, sobriety, and morals, sinks on one side, there is a balance of fame in the mouths of part of the world rising on the other—Annesly could bear to be told of his spirit, his generosity, and his honour.

CHAP. XIV.

He feels the distresses of poverty. He is put on a method of relieving them. An account of its success.

The manner of life which Annesly now pursued without restraint, was necessarily productive of such expence as he could very ill afford. But the craft of his female associate was not much at a loss for pretences, to make frequent demands on the generosity of his father. The same excuses which served to account for his stay in London, in some measure apologized for the largeness of the sums he drew for; if it was necessary for him to remain there, expence, if not unavoidable, was at least difficult to be avoided; and for the causes of his stay in that city he had only to repeat the accounts, which he daily received from Sindall, of various accidents which obliged his young friend to postpone his intended tour.

Though in the country there was little opportunity of knowing the town-irregularities of Annesly, yet there were not wanting surmises of it among some, of which it is likely his father might have heard enough to alarm him, had he not been at this time in such a state of health as prevented him from much society with his neighbours; a slow aguish disorder, which followed those symptoms his daughter's letter to her brother had described, having confined him to his chamber almost constantly from the time of his son's departure.

Annesly had still some blushes left, and when he had push'd his father's indulgence, in the article of supply, as far as shame would allow him, he look'd round for some other source whence present relief might be drawn, without daring to consider how the arrearages of the future should be cancelled. Sindall for some time answered his exigences without reluctance; but at last he informed him, as he said with regret, that he could not from particular circumstances afford him, at that immediate juncture, any greater assistance than a small sum, which he then put into Annesly's hands, and which the very next day was squandered by the prodigality of his mistress.

The next morning he rose without knowing how the wants of the day were to be provided for, and strolling out into one of his accustomed walks, gave himself up to all the pangs, which the retrospect of the past, and the idea of the present, suggested. But he felt not that contrition which results from ingenuous sorrow for our offences; his soul was ruled by that gloomy demon, who looks only to the anguish of their punishment, and accuses the hand of providence, for calamity which himself has occasioned.

In this situation he was met by one of his new-acquired friends, who was walking off the oppression of last night's riot. The melancholy of his countenance was so easily observable, that it could not escape the notice of his companion, who rallied him on the seriousness of his aspect, in the cant-phrase of those brutes of our species, who are professed enemies to the faculty of thinking. Though Annesly's pride for a while kept him silent, it was at last overcome by the other's importunity, and he confessed the desperation of his circumstances to be the cause of his present depression. His companion, whose purse, as himself informed Annesly, had been flushed by the success of the preceding night, animated by the liberality which attends sudden good fortune, freely offered him the use of twenty pieces till better times should enable him to repay them. "But, said he gaily, it is a shame for a fellow of your parts to want money, when fortune has provided so many rich fools for the harvest of the wise and the industrious. If you'll allow me to be your conductor this evening, I will show you where, by the traffic of your wits, in a very short time you may convert these twenty guineas into fifty." "At play," replied Annesly coolly. "Ay at play, returned the other, and fair play too: 'tis the only profession left for a man of spirit and honour to pursue: to cheat as a merchant, to quibble as a lawyer, or to cant as a churchman, is confined to fellows who have no fire in their composition. Give me but a bold set, and a fair throw for it, and then for the life of a lord, or the death of a gentleman." "I have had but little experience in the profession, said Annesly, and should but throw away your money." "Never fear, replied the other; do but mark me, and I will ensure you; I will show you our men; pigeons, mere pigeons, by Jupiter."

It was not for a man in Annesly's situation to balk the promise of such a golden opportunity; they dined together, and afterwards repaired to a gaming house, where Annesly's companion introduced him, as a friend of his, just arrived from the country, to several young gentlemen who seemed to be waiting his arrival. — "I promised you your revenge, said he, my dears, and you shall have it; some of my friend's Lady-day rents too have accompanied him to London; if you win, you shall wear them. To business, to business."

In the course of their play, Annesly, though but moderately skilled in the game, discovered that the company, to whom he had been introduced, were in reality such bubbles as his companion had represented them; after being heated by some small success in the beginning, they began to bet extravagantly against every calculation of chances; and in an hour or two, his associate and he had stripped them of a very considerable sum, of which his own share, though much the smaller, was upwards of threescore guineas. When they left the house, he offered his conductor the sum he had lent him, with a profusion of thanks both for the use and the improvement of it. "No, my boy, said he, not now; your note is sufficient: I will rather call for it, when I am at a pinch; you see now the road to wealth and independance; you will meet me here to-morrow." He promised to meet him accordingly.

They had been but a few minutes in the room this second night, when a gentleman entered, whom the company saluted with the appellation of squire: the greater part of them seem'd to be charmed with his presence; but the countenance of Annesly's companion fell at his approach; "damn him, said he, in a whisper to Annesly, he's a knowing one."

In some degree indeed he deserved the title: for he had attained, from pretty long experience, assisted by natural quickness of parts, a considerable knowlege in the science; and in strokes of genius, at games where genius was required, was excelled by few. But after all, he was far from being successful in the profession; nature intended him for something better; and as he spoiled a wit, an orator, and perhaps a poet, by turning gambler; so he often spoiled a gambler by the ambition, which was not yet entirely quenched, of shining occasionally in all those characters, And as a companion, he was too pleasing, and too well pleas'd, to keep that cool indifference, which is the characteristic of him, who should be always possess'd of himself, and consider every other man only as the spunge from whom he is to squeeze advantage.

To the present party, however, he was unquestionably superior; and of course in a short time began to levy large contributions, not only on the more inexperienced, whom Annesly and his conductor had mark'd for their own booty, but likewise on these two gentlemen themselves, whose winnings of the former evening, were now fast diminishing before the superior skill of this new antagonist.

But, in the midst of his success, he was interrupted by the arrival of another gentleman, who seem'd also to be a well-known character in this temple of fortune, being saluted by the familiar name of Black-beard. This man possessed an unmoved equality both of temper and aspect; and though in reality he was of no very superior abilities, yet had acquired the reputation both of depth and acuteness, from being always accustomed to think on his own interest, and pursuing with the most sedulous attention every object which led to it, unseduced by one single spark of those feelings which the world terms Weakness.

In the article of gaming, which he had early pitch'd on as the means of advancement, he had availed himself of that industry, and saturnine complexion, to acquire the most consummate knowlege of its principles, which indeed he had attained to a very remarkable degree of perfection.

Opposed to this man, even the skill of the hitherto-successful squire was unavailing; and consequently he not only stripp'd that gentleman of the gains he had made, but gleaned whatever he had left in the purses of the inferior members of the party, amongst whom Annesly and his associates were reduced to their last guinea.

This they agreed to spend together at a tavern in the neighbourhood, where they cursed fortune, their spoiler, and themselves, in all the bitterness of rage and disappointment. Annesly did not seek to account for their losses otherwise than in the real way, to wit, from the superior skill of their adversary; but his companion, who often boasted of his own, threw out some insinuations of foul play and connivance.

"If I thought that,"—said Annesly, laying his hand on his sword, while his cheeks burnt with indignation. —"Poh! replied the other, 'tis in vain to be angry; here's damnation to him in a bumper."

The other did not fail his pledge; and by a liberal application to the bottle, they so far overcame their losses, that Annesly reel'd home, singing a catch, forgetful of the past, and regardless of to-morrow.

CHAP. XV.

Another attempt to retrieve his circumstances, the consequences of which are still more fatal.

Though the arrival of to-morrow might be overlook'd, it could not be prevented. It rose on Annesly one of the most wretched of mankind. Poverty, embittered by disgrace, was now approaching him, who knew of no friend to ward off the blow, and had no consolation in himself by which it might be lightened: if any thing could add to his present distress; it was encreased by the absence of Sindall, who was then in the country, and the upbraidings of his female companion, who now exclaimed against the folly which herself had caused, and the extravagance herself had participated.

About mid-day, his last night's fellow-sufferer paid him a visit; their mutual shagreen at meeting, from the recollection of misfortune which it produced, was evident in their countenances; but it was not a little encreased, when the other told Annesly he came to put him in mind of the sum he had advanced him two days before, for which he had now very particular occasion. Annesly answered, that he had frankly told him the state of his finances at the time of the loan, and accepted it on no condition of speedy payment; that he had, that same evening, offered to repay him when it was in his power, and that he could not but think the demand ungentlemanlike, at a time when he must know his utter inability to comply with it.

"Ungentlemanlike! said the other; I don't understand what you mean sir, by such a phrase; will you pay me my money or not?" —"I cannot." —"Then, sir, you must expect me to employ some gentleman for the recovery of it, who will speak to you, perhaps, in a more ungentlemanlike stile than I do." And, so saying, he flung out of the room.

"Infamous wretch!" exclaimed Annesly, and walk'd about with a hurried step, gnawing his lip, and muttering curses on him, and on himself. —There was another gentleman wanted to see him below stairs. —'Twas a mercer who came to demand payment of some fineries his lady, as he termed her, had purchased; he was, with difficulty, dismissed. —In a quarter of an hour there was another call —'Twas a dun of a taylor for cloaths to himself—he would take no excuse— "Come, said Annesly, with a look of desperation, to-morrow morning, and I will pay you."—

But how?—he stared wildly on the ground, then knocked his head against the wall, and acted all the extravagances of a madman. At last, with a more settled horror in his eye, he put on his sword, and without knowing whither he should go, sallied into the street.

He happened to meet in his way some of those boon companions, with whom his nights of jollity had been spent; but their terms of salutation were so cold and forbidding, as obviously to show that the account of his circumstances had already reached them; and, with them, he who had every thing to ask, and nothing to bestow, could possess no quality attractive of regard. After santering from street to street, and from square to square, he found himself towards the close of the day within a few paces of that very gaming-house where he had been so unfortunate the evening before. A sort of malicious curiosity, and some hope of he knew not what, tempted him to reenter it. He found much the same company he had seen the preceding night, with the exception, however, of his former associate, and one or two of the younger members of their party whom the same cause prevented from attending.

Strolling into another room, he found an inferior set of gamesters, whose stakes were lower, though their vociferation was infinitely more loud. In the far corner sat a man, who preserved a composure of countenance, undisturbed by the clamour and confusion that surrounded him. After a little observation, Annesly discovered that he was a money-lender, who advanced certain sums at a very exorbitant premium to the persons engaged in the play. Some of those he saw, who could offer no other security satisfying to this usurer, procure a few guineas from him, on pawning a watch, a ring, or some other appendage of former finery. Of such he had before divested himself for urgent demands, and had nothing superfluous about him but his sword, which he had kept the latest, and which he now deposited in the hands of the old gentleman in the corner, who furnished him with a couple of pieces upon it, that with them he might once more try his fortune at the table.

The success exceeded his expectation; it was so rapid that in less than an hour he had encreased his two guineas to forty, with which he determined to retire contented; but when he would have redeemed his sword, he was informed that the keeper of it had just gone into the other room, where, as he entered to demand it, he unfortunately overheard the same gentleman who had gained his money the former night, offering a bet, to the amount of the sum Annesly then possessed, on a cast where he imagined the chance to be much against it. Stimulated with the desire of doubling his gain, and the sudden provocation, as it were, of the offer, he accepted it; and, in one moment, lost all the fruits of his former good-fortune. —The transport of his passion could not express itself in words; but taking up one of the dice, with the seeming coolness of exquisite anguish, he fairly bit it in two, and casting a look of frenzy on his sword, which he was now unable to ransom, he rush'd out of the house, uncovered as he was, his hat hanging on a peg in the other apartment.

The agitation of his mind was such as denied all attention to common things; and, instead of taking the direct road to his lodgings, he wandered off the street into an obscure alley, where he had not advanced far, till he was accosted by a fellow, who, in a very peremptory tone, desired him to deliver his money, or he would instantly blow out his brains, presenting a pistol at less than half a yard's distance. —"I can give you nothing, said Annesly, because I have nothing to give." —"Damn you, return'd the other, do you think I'll be fobb'd off so; your money, and be damn'd to you, or I'll send you to hell in a twinkling"—advancing his pistol, at the same time, within a hand's-breadth of his face. Annesly, at that instant, struck up the muzzle with his arm, and laying hold of the barrel, by a sudden wrench, forced the weapon out of the hands of the villain, who, not chusing to risk any farther combat, made the best of his way down the alley, and left Annesly master of his arms. He stood for a moment entranc'd in thought. — "Whoever thou art, said he, I thank thee; by heaven, thou instructest and armest me; this may provide for to-morrow, or make its provision unnecessary." He now hied him back with hurried pace to the mouth of the alley, where in the shade of a jutting wall he could mark unperceived the objects on the street. He had stood there but a few seconds, and began already to waver in his purpose, when he saw come out of the gaming-house, which he had left, the very man who had plundered him of his all. The richness of the prize, with immediate revenge, awakened together in his mind; and the suspicion of foul play, which his companion had hinted the night before, gave them a sanction of something like justice: he waited till the chair, in which the gamester was conveyed, came opposite to the place where he stood; then covering his face with one hand, and assuming a tone different from his natural, he pulled out his pistol, and commanded the leading chairman to stop. This effected, he went up to the chair, and the gentleman within having let down one of the glasses to know the reason of its stop, the stopper clapp'd the pistol to his breast, and threatened him with instant death, if he did not deliver his money. The other, after some little hesitation, during which Annesly repeated his threats, with the most horrible oaths, drew a purse of gold from his pocket, which Annesly snatcht out of his hand, and running down the alley, made his escape at the other end; and, after turning through several streets, in different directions, so as to elude pursuit, arrived safely at home with the booty he had taken.

Meantime the gamester returned to the house he had just quitted, with the account of his disaster. The whole fraternity, who could make no allowance for a robber of this sort, were alarmed at the accident; every one was busied in enquiry, and a thousand questions were asked about his appearance, his behaviour, and the rout he had taken. The chairmen, who had been somewhat more possessed of themselves, at the time of the robbery, than their master, had remarked the circumstance of the robber's wanting his hat: this was no sooner mentioned, than a buz ran through the company, that the young gentleman, who had gone off a little while before, had been observed to be uncovered when he left the house; and, upon search made, his hat was actually found with his name mark'd on the inside. This was a ground of suspicion too strong to be overlooked: messengers were dispatched in quest of the friend who had introduced him there the preceding night; upon his being found, and acquainting them of Annesly's lodgings, proper warrants were obtained for a search.

When that unfortunate young man arrived at home, he was met on the stairs by the lady we have formerly mentioned, who, in terms of bitter reproach, interrupted with tears, inveighed against the cruelty of his neglect, in thus leaving her to pine alone, without even the common comforts of a miserable life. Her censure indeed was the more violent, as there was little reason for its violence; for she had that moment dismissed at a back-door, a gallant who was more attentive than Annesly. He, who could very well allow the grounds of her complaint, only pleaded necessity for his excuse; he could but mutter this apology in imperfect words, for the perturbation of his mind almost deprived him of the powers of speech. Upon her taking notice of this, with much seeming concern for his health, he beckoned her into a chamber, and dashing the purse on the floor, pointed to it with a look of horror, as an answer to her upbraidings.

What have you done for this? said she, taking it up: He threw himself into a chair, without answering a word.

At that moment the officers of justice, who had lost no time in prosecuting their information, entered the house; and some of them, accompanied by an attorney, employed by the gentleman who had been robbed, walked softly up stairs to the room where Annesly was, and bursting into it before he could prepare for any defence, laid hold of him in rather a violent manner; which the lawyer observing, desired them to use the gentleman civilly, till he should ask him a few questions. "I will answer none, said Annesly; do your duty." "Then, sir, replied the other, you must attend us to those who can question you with better authority; and I must make bold to secure this lady, till she answer some questions also." The lady saved him the trouble; for being now pretty well satisfied, that her heroe was at the end of his career, she thought it most prudent to break off a connexion where nothing was to be gained, and make a merit of contributing her endeavours to bring the offender to justice. She called, therefore, this leader of the party into another room, and being informed by him that the young gentleman was suspected of having committed a robbery scarce an hour before, she pulled out the purse which she had just received from him, and asked the lawyer, If it was that which had been taken from his client? "Ay, that it is, I'll be sworn, said he; and here (pouring out its contents) is the ring he mentioned at the bottom." — "But, said she, pausing a little, it will prove the thing as well without the guineas." "I protest, returned the lawyer, thou art a girl of excellent invention— Hum—here are fourscore; one half of them might have been spent—or dropt out by the way, or—any thing may be supposed; and so we shall have twenty a-piece. —Some folks to be sure would take more, but I love conscience in those matters."

Having finished this transaction, in such a manner as might give no offence to the conscience of this honest pettifogger, they returned to the prisoner, who contented himself with darting a look of indignation at his female betrayer; and after being some time in the custody of the lawyer and his assistants, was carried, in the morning, along with her, before a magistrate. The several circumstances I have related being sworn to, Annesly was committed to Newgate, and the gamester bound over to prosecute him at the next sessions, which were not then very distant.

CHAP. XVI.

The miseries of him, whose punishment is inflicted by conscience.

Though Annesly must have suffered much during the agitation of these proceedings, yet that was little to what he felt, when left to reflexion, in the solitude of his new abode. Let the virtuous remember, amidst their afflictions, that though the heart of the good man may bleed even to death, it will never feel a torment equal to the rendings of remorse.

For some time, the whirling of his brain gave him no leisure to exercise any faculty that could be termed thinking; when that sort of delirium subsided, it left him only to make room for more exquisite, though less turbulent, anguish.

After he had visited every corner of resource, and found them all dark and comfortless, he started at last from that posture of despair in which he sat, and turning the glare of his eye intently upwards:

"Take back, said he, thou Power that gavest me being! take back that life which thou didst breathe into me for the best of purposes, but which I have profaned by actions, equally mischievous to thy government, and ignominious to myself. The passions which thou didst implant in me, that reason which should balance them, is unable to withstand; from one only I receive useful admonition; the shame that could not prevent, now punishes my crimes. Her voice for once I will obey; and leave a state, in which, if I remain, I continue a blot to nature, and an enemy to man."

He drew a penknife, now his only weapon, from its sheath—he bared his bosom for the horrid deed—when the picture of his father, which the good man had bestowed on him at parting, and he had worn ever since in his bosom, struck his eye—(It was drawn in the mildness of holy meditation, with the hands folded together, and the eyes lifted to heaven) "Merciful God!" said Annesly—he would have uttered a prayer; but his soul was wound up to a pitch that could but one way be let down—he flung himself on the ground, and burst into an agony of tears.

The door of his apartment opening, discovered the jailor, followed by sir Thomas Sindall—"My friend in this place!" said he, to Annesly,—who covered his face with his hands, and replied only by a groan.

Sindall made signs for the keeper of the prison to leave them;—"Come, said he, my dear Annesly, be not so entirely overcome; I flatter myself, you know my friendship too well, to suppose that it will desert you even here. I may, perhaps, have opportunities of comforting you in many ways; at least I shall feel and pity your distresses." —"Leave me, answered the other, leave me; I deserve no pity, and methinks there is a pride in refusing it." —"You must not say so; my love has much to plead for you; nor are you without excuse even to the world." "Oh! Sindall, said he,—I am without excuse to myself! when I look back to that peace of mind, to that happiness I have squandered!" —"I will not curse, but—Oh! Fool, fool, fool!" —"I would not, said sir Thomas, encrease that anguish which you feel, were I not obliged to mention the name of your father." "My father! cried Annesly; O hide me from my father!" —"Alas! replied Sindall, he must hear of your disaster from other hands; and it were cruel not to acquaint him of it in a way that should wound him the least." —Annesly gazed with a look of entrancement on his picture: "Great God! said he, for what hast thou reserved me? Sindall, do what thou wilt—think not of such a wretch as I am; but mitigate, if thou canst, the sorrows of a father, the purity of whose bosom must bleed for the vices of mine." "Fear not, returned sir Thomas; I hope all will be better than you imagine. It grows late, and I must leave you now; but promise me to be more composed for the future. I will see you again early to-morrow; nor will I let a moment escape, that can be improved to your service." —"I must think, said Annesly, and therefore I must feel; but I will often remember your friendship, and my gratitude shall be some little merit left in me to look upon without blushing."

Sindall bade him farewel, and retired; and at that instant he was less a villain than he used to be. The state of horror to which he saw this young man reduced, was beyond the limits of his scheme; and he began to look upon the victim of his designs, with that pity which depravity can feel, and that remorse which it cannot overcome.

CHAP. XVII.

His father is acquainted with Annesly's situation. His behaviour in consequence of it.

That letter to old Annesly, which Sindall had undertaken to write, he found a more difficult task than at first he imagined. The solicitude of his friendship might have been easily expressed on more common occasions, and hypocrisy to him was usually no unpleasing garb; but at this crisis of Annesly's fate, there were feelings he could not suppress; and he blushed to himself, amidst the protestations of concern and regard, with which this account of his misfortune (as he termed it) was accompanied.

Palliated, as it was, with all the art of sir Thomas, it may be easily conceived what effect it must have on the mind of a father; a father at this time labouring under the pressure of disease, and confined to a sick-bed, whose intervals of thought were now to be pointed to the misery, the disgrace, perhaps the disgraceful death, of a darling child. His Harriet, after the first shock which the dreadful tidings had given her, sat by him, stifling the terrors of her gentle soul, and speaking comfort when her tears would let her.

His grief was aggravated, from the consideration of being at present unable to attend a son, whose calamities, though of his own procuring, called so loudly for support and assistance.

"Unworthy as your brother is, my Harriet, said he, he is my son and your brother still; and must he languish amid the horrors of a prison, without a parent or a sister to lessen them? The prayers which I can put up from this sick-bed are all the aid I can administer to him; but your presence might sooth his anguish, and alleviate his sufferings; with regard to this life, perhaps—Do not weep, my love—Nay, you might lead him to a reconciliation with that Being whose sentence governs eternity! Would it frighten my Harriet to visit a dungeon?" "Could I leave my dearest father, said she, no place could frighten me where my poor Billy is.—" "Then you shall go, my child, and I shall be the better for thinking that you are with him: tell him, though he has wrung my heart, it has not forgotten him. That he should have forgotten me, is little; let him but now remember, that there is another father, whose pardon is more momentous."

Harriet having therefore entrusted her father to the friendship of Mrs. Wistanly, set out, accompanied by a niece of that gentlewoman's, who had been on a visit to her aunt, for the metropolis, where she arrived a few days before that which was appointed for the trial of her unhappy brother.

Though it was late in the evening when they reached London, yet Harriet's impatience would not suffer her to sleep till she had seen the poor prisoner; and, notwithstanding the remonstrances of her companion, to whom her aunt had recommended the tenderest concern about her young friend, she called a hackney-coach immediately, to convey her to the place in which Annesly was confined; and her fellow-traveller, when her dissuasions to going had failed, very obligingly offered to accompany her.

They were conducted, by the turnkey, through a gloomy passage, to the wretched apartment which Annesly occupied: they found him sitting at a little table on which he leaned, with his hands covering his face. When they entered, he did not change his posture; but on the turnkey's speaking, for his sister was unable to speak, he started up, and exhibited a countenance pale and haggard, his eyes blood-shot, and his hair dishevelled. On discovering his sister, a blush crossed his cheek, and the horror of his aspect was lost in something milder and more piteous —"Oh! my Billy!" she cried, and sprung forward to embrace him: "This is too much, said he; leave, and forget a wretch unworthy the name of thy brother." "Would my Billy kill me quite? this frightful place has almost killed me already! Alas! Billy, my dearest father!" —"Oh! Harriet, that name, that name! speak not of my father!" "Ah! said she, if you knew his goodness; he sent me to comfort and support my brother; he sent me from himself, stretched on a sick-bed, where his Harriet should have tended him." —"Oh! cursed, cursed!" —"Nay, do not curse, my Billy, he sends you none; his prayers, his blessings rise for you to heaven; his forgiveness he bade me convey you, and tell you to seek that of the father of all goodness!" —His sister's hands were clasped in his; he lifted both together: "If thou canst hear me, said he,—I dare not pray for myself; but spare a father whom my crimes have made miserable; let me abide the wrath I have deserved, but weigh not down his age for my offences; punish it not with the remembrance of me!" He fell on his sister's neck, and they mingled their tears; nor could the young lady who attended Harriet, or even the jailor himself, help accompanying them; this last, however, recovered himself rather sooner than the other, and reminded them that it was late and that he must lock up for the night. —"Good night then, my Harriet," said Annesly. "And must we separate? answered his sister; could I not sit and support that distracted head, and close those haggard eyes?" "Let me entreat you, returned her brother, to leave me, and compose yourself after the fatigues of your journey, and the perturbation of your mind. I feel myself comforted and refreshed by the sight of my Harriet: I will try to sleep myself, which I have not done these four gloomy nights, unless, perhaps for a few moments, when the torture of my dreams made waking a deliverance. Good night, my dearest Harriet." She could not say, good night; but she wept it.

CHAP. XVIII.

His sister pays him another visit. A description of what passed in the prison.

It was late before Harriet could think even of going to bed, and later before her mind could be quieted enough to allow her any sleep. But nature was at last worn out; and the fatigue of her journey, together with the conflict of her soul in the visit she had just made, had so exhausted her, that it was towards noon next day before she awaked. After having chid herself for her neglect, she hurried away to her much-loved brother, whom she found attended by that baronet, to whose good offices I have had so frequent occasion to show him endebted in the course of my story.

At sight of him, her cheek was flushed with the mingled glow of shame for her brother, and gratitude towards his benefactor. He advanced to salute her; when, with the tears starting into her eyes, she fell on her knees before him, and poured forth a prayer of blessings on his head. There could not perhaps be a figure more lovely, or more striking, than that which she then exhibited. The lustre of her eyes, heightened by those tears with which the overflowing of her heart supplied them; the glow of her complexion, animated with the suffusion of tenderness and gratitude; these, joined to the easy negligence of her dark-brown locks, that waved in ringlets on her panting bosom, made altogether such an assemblage as beauty is a word too weak for. So forcibly indeed was Sindall struck with it, that some little time past before he thought of lifting her from the ground; he looked indeed his very soul at every glance; but it was a soul unworthy of the object on which he gazed, brutal, unfeeling and inhuman; he considered her, at that moment, as already within the reach of his machinations, and feasted the grossness of his fancy with the anticipation of her undoing.

And here let me pause a little, to consider that account of pleasure which the votaries of voluptuousness have frequently stated. I allow for all the delight which Sindall could experience for the present, or hope to experience in the future. I consider it abstracted from its consequences, and I will venture to affirm, that there is a truer, a more exquisite voluptuary than he. —Had virtue been now looking on the figure of beauty, and of innocence, I have attempted to draw. —I see the purpose of benevolence beaming in his eye! —Its throb is swelling in his heart! —He clasps her to his bosom;— he kisses the falling drops from her cheek;—he weeps with her;—and the luxury of his tears!—baffles description.

But whatever were sir Thomas's sensations at the sight of Harriet, they were interrupted by the jailor, who now entered the room, and informed him that a gentleman without was earnest to speak with him. "Who can it be?" said sir Thomas, somewhat peevishly. —'If I am not mistaken, replied the jailor, it is a gentleman of the name of Camplin, a lawyer, whom I have seen here with some of the prisoners before.' —"This is he of whom I talked to you, my dear Annesly, said the baronet; let me introduce him to you." —'I have taken my resolution, returned Annesly, and shall have no need of lawyers for my defence.' —"It must not be," rejoined the other; and going out of the room, he presently returned with Mr. Camplin. All this while Harriet's looks betrayed the strongest symptoms of terror and perplexity; and when the stranger appeared, she drew nearer and nearer to her brother, with an involuntary sort of motion, till she had twined his arm into hers, and placed herself between him and Camplin. This last observed her tears; for indeed she bent her eyes most fixedly upon him, and making her a bow, "Be not afraid, miss, said he, here are none but friends; I learn, sir, that your day is now very near, and that it is time to be thinking of the business of it." Good heavens! cried Harriet, what day? "Make yourself easy, madam, continued Camplin, being the first trip, I hope he may fall soft for this time; I believe no body doubts my abilities: I have saved many a brave man from the gallows, whose case was more desperate than I take this young gentleman's to be." — The colour, which had been varying on her cheek during this speech, now left it for a dead pale; and turning her languid eyes upon her brother, she fell motionless into his arms. He supported her to a chair that stood near him, and darting an indignant look at the lawyer, begged of the jailor to procure her some immediate assistance. Sindall, who was kneeling on the other side of her, ordered Camplin, who was advancing to make offer of his services too, to be gone, and send them the first surgeon he could find. A surgeon indeed had been already procured, who officiated in the prison, for the best of all reasons, because he was not at liberty to leave it. The jailor now made his appearance, with a bottle of wine in one hand, and some water in the other; followed by a tall, meagre, ragged figure, who striding up to Harriet, applied a small vial of volatile salt to her nose, and chasing her temples, soon brought her to sense and life again. Annesly pressing her to his bosom, begged her to recollect herself and forget her tears. "Pardon this weakness, my dear Billy, said she, I will try to overcome it; is that horrid man gone? who is this gentleman?" "I have the honour to be a doctor of physic, madam, said he, clapping at the same time his greasy fingers to her pulse. Here is a fulness that calls for venesection." So without loss of time he pulled out a case of lancets covered with rust, and spotted with the blood of former patients. "Oh! for heaven's sake, no bleeding, cried Harriet, indeed there is no occasion for it." "How, no occasion! exclaimed the other; I have heard indeed some ignorants condemn phlebotomy in such cases; but it is my practice, and I am very well able to defend it. —It will be allowed that in plethoric habits"—'Spare your demonstration, interrupted Annesly, and think of your patient.' "You shall not blood me, said she; you shall not indeed, sir!" "Nay, madam, said he, as you please; you are to know that the operation itself is no part of my profession; it is only "propter necessitatem," for want of chirurgical practitioners, that I sometimes condescend to it in this place." Sir Thomas gave him a hint to leave them, and at the same time slipped a guinea into his hand. He immediately retired, looking at the unusual appearance of the gold with so much transport, that he might possibly have as much occasion for bleeding at that moment, as the patient for whom he had just prescribed it.

Annesly, assisted by his friend, used every possible argument to comfort and support his sister. His concern for her had indeed banished for a while the consideration of his own state; and when he came to think of that solemn day, on which the trial for his life was appointed, his concern was more interested for its effect on his Harriet, than for that it should have on himself.

After they had passed great part of the day together, sir Thomas observed, that Miss Annesly's present lodgings (in the house of her fellow-traveller's father) were so distant, as to occasion much inconvenience to her in her visits to her brother; and very kindly made offer of endeavouring to procure her others but a few streets off, under the roof of a gentlewoman, he said, an officer's widow of his acquaintance, who, if she had any apartment unoccupied at the time, he knew would be as attentive to Miss Annesly as if she were a daughter of her own.

This proposal was readily accepted, and sir Thomas having gone upon the enquiry, returned in the evening with an account of his having succeeded in procuring the lodgings; that he had taken the liberty to call and fetch Miss Annesly's baggage from those she had formerly occupied, and that every thing was ready at Mrs. Eldridge's (that was the widow's name) for her reception. After supper he conducted her thither accordingly.

As he was going out, Annesly whispered him to return for a few minutes after he had set down his sister, as he had something particular to communicate to him. When he came back, "You have heard, I fancy, sir Thomas, said he, that the next day but one is the day of my trial. As to myself, I wait it with resignation, and shall not give any trouble to my country by a false defence; but I tremble for my sister's knowing it. Could we not contrive some method of keeping her in ignorance of its appointment till it be over, and then prepare her for the event without subjecting her to the tortures of anxiety and suspence?" Sindall agreed in the propriety of the latter part of his scheme, and they resolved to keep his sister that day at home, on pretence of a meeting in the prison between the lawyers of Annesly, and those of his prosecutor. But he warmly insisted, that Annesly should accept the services of Camplin towards conducting the cause on his part. "Endeavour not to persuade me, my friend, said Annesly; for I now rest satisfied with my determination. I thank heaven which has enabled me to rely on its goodness, and meet my fate with the full possession of myself. I will not disdain the mercy which my country may think I merit; but I will not entangle myself in chicane and insincerity to avoid her justice."

CHAP. XIX.

The fate of Annesly determined. —Sindall's friendship, and the gratitude of Harriet.

Nothing remarkable happened till that day when the fate of Annesly was to be determined by the laws of his country. The project formed by Sindall and himself, for keeping his sister ignorant of its importance, succeeded to their wish; she spent it at home, comforting herself with the hope, that the meeting she understood to be held on it, might turn out advantageously for her brother, and sooth'd by the kindness of her landlady, who had indeed fully answered sir Thomas's expectations in the attention she had shown her.

Meanwhile her unfortunate brother was brought to the bar, indicted for the robbery committed on the gamester. When he was asked, in the customary manner, to plead, he stood up, and addressing himself to the judge.

"I am now, my lord, said he, in a situation of all others the most solemn. I stand in the presence of God and my country, and I am called to confess or deny that crime for which I have incurred the judgment of both. If I have offended, my lord, I am not yet an obdurate offender; I fly not to the subterfuge of villany, though I have fallen from the dignity of innocence; and I will not screen a life which my crimes have disgraced, by a coward lie to prevent their detection. I plead guilty, my lord, and await the judgment of that law, which though I have violated, I have not forgotten to revere."

When he ended, a confused murmur ran through the court, and for some time stopt the judge in his reply. Silence obtained, that upright magistrate, worthy the tribunal of England, spoke to this effect:

"I am sincerely sorry, young gentleman, to see one of your figure at this bar, charged with a crime for which the public safety has been obliged to award an exemplary punishment. Much as I admire the heroism of your confession, I will not suffer advantage to be taken of it to your prejudice; reflect on the consequences of a plea of guilt, which takes from you all opportunity of a legal defence, and speak again, as your own discretion, or your friends, may best advise you." "I humbly thank your lordship, said Annesly, for the candour and indulgence which you show me; but I have spoken the truth, and will not allow myself to think of retracting it." "I am here, returned his lordship, as the dispenser of justice, and I have nothing but justice to give; the province of mercy is in other hands; if, upon enquiry, the case is circumstanced as I wish it to be, my recommendation shall not be wanting to enforce an application there." Annesly was then convicted of the robbery, and the sentence of the law passed upon him.

But the judge, before whom he was tried, was not unmindful of his promise; and having satisfied himself, that, though guilty in this instance, he was not habitually flagitious, he assisted so warmly the applications which through the interest of Sindall (for Sindall was in this sincere) were made in his behalf, that a pardon was obtained for him, on the condition of his suffering transportation for the term of fourteen years.

This alleviation of his punishment was procured, before his sister was suffered to know that his trial had ever come on, or what had been its event. When his fate was by this means determined, Sindall undertook to instruct the lady in whose house he had placed her, that Miss Annesly should be acquainted with the circumstances of it in such a manner, as might least discompose that delicacy and tenderness of which her mind was so susceptible. The event answered his expectation; that good woman seemed possessed of as much address as humanity; and Harriet, by the intervention of both, was led to the knowlege of her brother's situation with so much prudence, that she bore it at first with resignation, and afterwards looked upon it with thankfulness.

After that acknowlegement to providence which she had been early instructed never to forget, there was an inferior agent in this affair to whom her warmest gratitude was devoted. Besides that herself had the highest opinion of Sindall's good offices, her obliging landlady had taken every opportunity, since their acquaintance began, to trumpet forth his praises in the most extravagant strain; and, on the present occasion, her encomiums were loud in proportion as Harriet's happiness was concerned in the event.

Sir Thomas therefore began to be considered by the young lady as the worthiest of friends; his own language bore the strongest expressions of friendship; of friendship and no more; but the widow would often insinuate that he felt more than he expressed; and when Harriet's spirits could bear a little rallery, her landlady did not want for jokes on the subject.

These suggestions of another have a greater effect than is often imagined; they are heard with an ease which does not alarm, and the mind habituates itself to take up such a credit on their truth as it would be sorry to lose, though it is not at the trouble of examining. Harriet did not seriously think of Sindall as of one that was her lover; but she began to make such arrangements as not to be surprized if he should.

One morning when sir Thomas had called, to conduct her on a visit to her brother, Mrs. Eldridge rallied him at breakfast on his being still a batchelor. "What is your opinion, Miss Annesly, said she; is it not a shame for one of sir Thomas's fortune not to make some worthy woman happy in the participation of it?" Sindall submitted to be judged by so fair an arbitress; he said "the manners of the court-ladies, whose example had stretched unhappily too far, were such, as made it a sort of venture to be married;" he then paused for a moment, sigh'd, and, fixing his eyes upon Harriet, drew such a picture of the woman whom he would chuse for a wife, that she must have had some sillier quality than mere modesty about her, not to have made some guess at what he meant.

In short, though she was as little wanting in delicacy as most women, she began to feel a certain interest in the good opinion of Sindall, and to draw some conclusions from his deportment, which, for the sake of my fair readers, I would have them remember, are better to be slowly understood than hastily indulged.

CHAP. XX.

An accident, which may possibly be imagined somewhat more than accidental.

Though the thoughts of Annesly's future situation could not but be distressful to his sister and him, yet the deliverance from greater evils which they had experienced, served to enlighten the prospect of those they feared. His father, whose consolation always attended the calamity he could neither prevent nor cure, exhorted his son (in an answer to the account his sister and he had transmitted him of the events contained in the preceding chapter) to have a proper sense of the mercy of his God and his king, and to bear what was a mitigation of his punishment, with a fortitude and resignation becoming the subject of both. The same letter informed his children, that though he was not well enough recovered to be able to travel, yet he was gaining ground on his distemper, and hoped, as the season advanced, to get the better of it altogether. He sent that blessing to his son which he was prevented from bestowing personally, with a credit for any sum which he might have occasion for against his approaching departure.

His children received additional comfort from the good accounts of their father, which this letter contained; and even in Annesly's prison, there were some intervals in which they forgot the fears of parting, and indulged themselves in temporary happiness.

It was during one of these, that Sindall observed to Harriet, how little she possessed the curiosity her sex was charged with, who had never once thought of seeing any thing in London that strangers were most solicitous to see; and proposed that very night to conduct her to the playhouse, where the royal family were to be present, at the representation of a new comedy.

Harriet turned a melancholy look towards her brother, and made answer, that she could not think of any amusement that should subject him to hours of solitude in a prison.

Upon this, Annesly was earnest in pressing her to accept sir Thomas's invitation; he said she knew how often he chose to be alone, at times when he could most command society; and that he should find an additional pleasure in theirs, when they returned to him, fraught with the intelligence of the play.

"But there is something unbecoming in it, said Harriet, in the eyes of others."

"As to that objection, replied Sindall, it will be easily removed; we shall go accompanied by Mrs. Eldridge to the gallery, where people who have even many acquaintances in town, are dressed so much in the incognito-way, as never to be discovered."

Annesly repeated his entreaties, Mrs. Eldridge seconded, Sindall enforced them; and all three urged so many arguments, that Harriet was at last overcome, and to the play they accordingly went.

Though this was the first entertainment of the sort, at which Harriet had ever been present, yet the thoughts of her absent brother, in whose company all her former amusements had been enjoyed, so much damped the pleasure she should have felt from this, that as soon as the play was over, she begged of her conductor to return, much against the desire of Mrs. Eldridge, who entreated them to indulge her by staying the farce. But Harriet seemed so uneasy at the thoughts of a longer absence from her brother, that the other's solicitations were at last overruled; and making shift to get through the croud, they left the house, and set out in a hackney-coach on their return.

They had got the length of two or three streets on their way, when the coachman, who indeed had the appearance of being exceedingly drunk, drove them against a post, by which accident one of the wheels was broken to pieces, and the carriage itself immediately overturned. Sindall had, luckily, put down the glass on that side but a moment before, to look at something, so that they escaped any mischief which might have ensued from the breaking of it; and, except the ladies being extremely frightened, no bad consequences followed. This disaster happened just at the door of a tavern, the mistress of which seeing the discomposure of the ladies, very politely begged them to step into her own room, till they could readjust themselves, and procure another coach from a neighbouring stand, for which she promised immediately to dispatch one of her servants. All this while sir Thomas was venting his wrath against the coachman, continuing to cane him most unmercifully, till stopt by the intercession of Harriet and Mrs. Eldridge, and prevailed upon to accompany them into the house at the obliging request of its mistress. He asked pardon for giving way to his passion, which apprehension for their safety, he said, had occasioned, and taking Harriet's hand with a look of the utmost tenderness, enquired if she felt no hurt from the fall; upon her answering, that except the fright, she was perfectly well; "then all is well," said he, pressing her hand to his bosom, which rose to meet it with a sigh.

He then called for a bottle of Madeira, of which his companions drank each a glass; but upon his presenting another, Mrs. Eldridge declared she never tasted any thing between meals, and Harriet said that her head was already affected by the glass she had taken: this however he attributed to the effects of the overturn, for which another bumper was an infallible remedy; and, on Mrs. Eldridge's setting the example, though with the utmost reluctance, Harriet was prevailed upon to follow it.

She was seated on a settee at the upper end of the room, Sindall sat on a chair by her, and Mrs. Eldridge, from choice, was walking about the room; it somehow happened that, in a few minutes, the last-mentioned lady left her companions by themselves.

Sindall, whose eyes had not been idle before, cast them now to the ground with a look of the most feeling discomposure; and gently lifting them again, "I know not, said he, most lovely of women, whether I should venture to express the sensations of my heart at this moment; that respect which ever attends a love so sincere as mine, has hitherto kept me silent; but the late accident, in which all that I hold dear was endangered, has opened every sluice of tenderness in my soul, and I were more or less than man, did I resist the impulse of declaring it." "This is no place, sir,"—said Harriet, trembling and covered with blushes. —"Every place, cried Sindall, is sacred to love, where my Harriet is." At the same time he threw himself on his knees before her, and imprinted a thousand burning kisses on her hand. "Let go my hand, sir Thomas," she cried, her voice faltering and her cheek overspread with a still higher glow: "Never, thou cruel one, said he, (raising himself gently till he had gained a place on the settee by her side) never, till you listen to the dictates of a passion too violent to be longer resisted." —At that instant some bustle was heard at the door, and presently after a voice in a country-accent, vociferating "It is my neighbour's own daughter, and I must see her immediately." —The door burst open, and discovered Jack Ryland, Mrs. Eldridge following him, with a countenance not the most expressive of good-humour.

Ryland! exclaimed the baronet, what is the meaning of this? advancing towards him with an air of fierceness and indignation, which the other returned with a hearty shake by the hand, saying he was rejoiced to find Miss Harriet in so good company. —"Dear Mr. Ryland, said she, a little confusedly, I am happy to see you; but it is odd—I cannot conceive—tell us, as sir Thomas was just now asking, how you came to find us out here."

"Why, you must understand, miss, returned Jack, that I have got a little bit of a legacy left me by a relation here in London; as I was coming up on that business, I thought I could do no less than ask your worthy father's commands for you and Mr. William. So we settled matters, that, as our times, I believe, will agree well enough, I should have the pleasure, if you are not otherwise engaged, of conducting you home again. I came to town only this day, and after having eat a mutton-chop at the inn where I lighted, and got myself into a little decent trim, I set out from a place they call Piccadilly, I think, asking every body I met which was the shortest way to Newgate, where I understood your brother was to be found. But I was like to make a marvellous long journey on't; for besides that it is a huge long way, as I was told, I hardly met with one person that would give a mannerly answer to my questions; to be sure they are the most humoursome people, here in London, that ever I saw in my life; when I asked the road to Newgate, one told me, I was not likely to be long in finding it; another bade me cut the first throat I met and it would show me; and a deal of such out-of-the-way-jokes. At last, while I was looking round for some civil-like body to enquire of, who should I see whip past me in a coach but yourself with that lady as I take it; upon which I hollowed out to the coachman to stop, but he did not hear me, as I suppose, and drove on as hard as ever; I followed him close at the heels for some time, till the street he turned into being much darker than where I saw you first, by reason there were none of your torches blazing there, I fell headlong into a rut in the middle of it, and lost sight of the carriage before I could recover myself: however, I ran down a right-hand road, which I guessed you had taken, asking any body I thought would give me an answer, if they had seen a coach with a handsome young woman in't, drawn by a pair of dark bays; but I was only laught at for my pains, till I fell in by chance with a simple country-man like myself, who informed me, that he had seen such a one overturned just before this-here large house; and the door being open, I stept in without more ado, till I happened to hear this lady whispering something to another about sir Thomas Sindall, when I guessed that you might be with him, as acquaintances will find one another out, you know; and so here I am, at your service and sir Thomas's."

This history afforded as little entertainment to its hearers as it may have done to the greatest part of my readers; but it gave sir Thomas and Harriet time enough to recover from that confusion, into which the appearance of Ryland had thrown both of them, though with this difference, that Harriet's was free from the guilt of Sindall's, and did not even proceed from the least suspicion of any thing criminal in the intentions of that gentleman.

Sir Thomas pretended great satisfaction in having met with his acquaintance Mr. Ryland, and, having obtained another hackney-coach, they drove together to Newgate, where Jack received a much sincerer welcome from Annesly, and they passed the evening with the greatest satisfaction.

Not but that there moved something unusual in the bosom of Harriet, from the declaration of her lover, and in his, from the attempt which Providence had interposed to disappoint; he consoled himself, however, with the reflexion, that he had not gone such a length as to alarm her simplicity, and took from the mortification of the past, by the hope of more successful villany.

CHAP. XXI.

An account of Annesly's departure.

It was not long before the time arrived in which Annesly was to bid adieu to his native country for the term which the mercy of his sovereign had allotted for his punishment. He behaved, at this juncture, with a determined sort of coolness, not easily expected from one of his warmth of feelings, at a time of life when these are in their fullest vigour. His sister, whose gentle heart began to droop under the thoughts of their separation, he employed every argument to comfort. He bade her remember that it had been determined he should be absent for some years, before this necessity of his absence had arisen. "Suppose me on my travels, said he, my Harriet, but for a longer term, and the sum of this calamity is exhausted; if there are hardships awaiting me, think how I should otherwise expiate my follies and my crimes: the punishments of heaven, our father has often told us, are mercies to its children; mine, I hope, will have a double effect; to wipe away my former offences, and prevent my offending for the future."

He was actuated by the same steadiness of spirit, in the disposal of what money his father's credit enabled him to command. He called in an exact account of his debts, those to Sindall not excepted, and discharged them in full, much against the inclination of sir Thomas, who insisted, as much as in decency he could, on cancelling every obligation of that sort to himself. But Annesly was positive in his resolution; and after having cleared these encumbrances, he embarked with only a few shillings in his pocket, saying, that he would never pinch his father's age, to mitigate the punishment which his son had more than deserved.

There was another account to settle, which he found a more difficult task. The parting with his sister, he knew not how to accomplish, without such a pang as her tender frame could very ill support. At length he resolved, to take at least from its solemnity, if he could not alleviate its anguish. Having sat, therefore, with Harriet till past midnight, on the eve of his departure, which he employed in renewing his arguments of consolation, and earnestly recommending to her to keep up those spirits which should support her father and herself, he pretended a desire to sleep, appointed an hour for breakfasting with her in the morning; and so soon as he could prevail on her to leave him, he went on board the boat, which waited to carry him, and some unfortunate companions of his voyage, to the ship destined to transport them.

Sir Thomas accompanied him a little way down the river, till, at the earnest desire of his friend, he was carried ashore in a sculler, which they happened to meet on their way. When they parted, Annesly wrung his hand, and dropping a tear on it, which hitherto he had never allowed himself to shed, "To my faithful Sindall, said he, I leave a trust more precious to this bosom than every other earthly good. Be the friend of my father, as you have been that of his undeserving son, and protect my Harriet's youth, who has lost that protection a brother should have afforded her. If the prayers of a wretched exile in a foreign land can be heard of heaven, the name of his friend shall rise with those of a parent and a sister in his hourly benedictions; and if at any time you shall bestow a thought upon him, remember the only comfort of which adversity has not deprived him, the confidence of his Sindall's kindness to those whom he has left weeping behind him."

Such was the charge which Annesly gave and Sindall received; he received it with a tear; a tear, which the better part of his nature had yet reserved from the ruins of principle, of justice, of humanity. It fell involuntarily at the time, and he thought of it afterwards with a blush—Such was the system of self-applause which the refinements of vice had taught him, and such is the honour she has reared for the worship of her votaries!

Annesly kept his eyes fixed on the lights of London, till the encreasing distance deprived them of their object. Nor did his imagination fail him in the picture, after that help was taken from her. The form of the weeping Harriet, lovely in her grief, still swam before his sight; on the back-ground stood a venerable figure, turning his eyes to heaven, while a tear that swelled in each dropped for the sacrifice of his sorrow, and a bending angel accepted it as incense.

Thus, by a series of dissipation, so easy in its progress, that, if my tale were fiction, it would be thought too simple, was this unfortunate young man lost to himself, his friends, and his country. Take but a few incidents away, and it is the history of thousands. Let not those, who have escaped the punishment of Annesly, look with indifference on the participation of his guilt, nor suffer the present undisturbed enjoyment of their criminal pleasures, to blot from their minds the idea of future retribution.

CHAP. XXII.

Harriet is informed of her Brother's departure. She leaves London on her return home.

Sindall took upon himself the charge of communicating the intelligence of Annesly's departure to his sister. She received it with an entrancement of sorrow, which deprived her of its expression; and when at last her tears found their way to utter it, "Is he gone! said she, and shall I never see him more? cruel Billy! Oh! sir Thomas, I had a thousand things to say! and has he left me without a single adieu?"—'It was in kindness to you, Miss Annesly, answered the baronet, that he did so.' —"I believe you, said she, I know it was; and yet, methinks, he should have bid me farewel —I could have stood it, indeed I could— I am not so weak as you think me; yet Heaven knows I have need of strength" —and she burst into tears again.

Sir Thomas did not want for expressions of comfort or of kindness, nor did he fail, amidst the assurances of his friendship, to suggest those tenderer sensations which his bosom felt on account of Miss Annesly. She gave him a warmth of gratitude in return, which, though vice may sometimes take advantage of it, virtue can never blame.

His protestations were interrupted by the arrival of Ryland, who had accidentally heard of Annesly's embarkment. Jack had but few words to communicate his feelings by; but his eyes helped them out with an honest tear. "Your brother, I hear, is gone, Miss Harriet, said he; well, Heaven bless him wherever he goes!"

Harriet begg'd to know when it would suit his convenience to leave London, saying, that every day she stayed there now, would reproach her absence from her father. Jack made answer, that he could be ready to attend her at an hour's warning; for that his business in London was finished, and as for pleasure he could find none in it. It was agreed therefore, contrary to the zealous advice of sir Thomas and Mrs. Eldridge, that Harriet should set off, accompanied by Mr. Ryland, the very next morning.

Their resolution was accomplished and they set out by the break of day. Sindall accompanied them on horseback several stages, and they dined together about forty miles from London. Here having settled their rout according to a plan of sir Thomas's, who seemed to be perfectly versant in the geography of the country, through which they were to pass, he was prevailed on, by the earnest entreaty of Harriet, to return to London, and leave her to perform the rest of the journey under the protection of Mr. Ryland.

On their leaving the inn at which they dined, there occurred an incident, of which, though the reader may have observed me not apt to dwell on trifling circumstances, I cannot help taken notice. While they were at dinner, they were frequently disturbed by the boisterous mirth of a company in the room immediately adjoining. This, one of the waiters informed them, proceeded from a gentleman, who, he believed, was travelling from London down into the country, and, having no companion, had associated with the landlord over a bottle of claret, which, according to the waiter's account, his honour had made so free with, as to be in a merrier, or, as that word may generally be translated, a more noise-making mood than usual. As Sindall was handing Harriet into the post-chaise, they observed a gentleman, whom they concluded to be the same whose voice they had so often heard at dinner, standing in the passage that led to the door. When the lady passed him, he trod, either accidentally or on purpose, on the skirt of her gown behind; and as she turned about to get rid of the stop, having now got sight of her face, he exclaimed, with an oath, that she was an angel; and, seizing the hand with which she was disengaging her gown, pressed it to his lips in so rude a manner, that even his drunkenness could not excuse it. At least it could not to Sindall; who stepping between him and Miss Annesly, laid hold of his collar, and shaking him violently, asked him how he dared to affront the lady; and insisted on his asking her pardon immediately. "Dammee," said he, hiccupping, "not on compulsion, dammee, for you nor any man, dammee." The landlord and Mr. Ryland now interposed, and with the assistance of Harriet, pacified sir Thomas, from the consideration of the gentleman's being in a temporary state of insanity; Sindall accordingly let go his hold, and went on with Harriet to the chaise, while the other, readjusting his neck-cloth, swore that he would have another peep at the girl notwithstanding.

When Harriet was seated in the chaise, Sindall took notice of the flutter into which this accident had thrown her; she confessed that she had been a good deal alarmed, lest there should have been a quarrel on her account, and begged sir Thomas, if he had any regard for her ease of mind, to think no more of any vengeance against the other gentleman. "Fear not, my adorable Harriet, whispered sir Thomas; if I thought there were one kind remembrance of Sindall in that heavenly bosom—the chaise drove on —she blushed a reply to this unfinished speech, and bowed, smiling, to its author."

CHAP. XXIII.

A very daring attempt is made upon Harriet. She is rescued by Sindall. The consequences.

Nothing farther happened worthy of recording, till towards the close of that journey which sir Thomas's direction had marked out for their first day's progress. Ryland had before observed that sir Thomas's short roads had turned out very sorry ones; and when it began to be dark, Harriet's fears made her take notice, that they had got upon a large common, where, for a great way round, there was not a house to be seen. Nor was she at all relieved by the information of the post-boy, who, upon being interrogated by Ryland as to the safety of the road, answered, "To be sure, master, I've known some highwaymen frequent this common, and there stands a gibbet hard by, where two of them have hung these three years." He had scarcely uttered this speech, when the noise of horsemen was heard behind them, at which Miss Annesly's heart began to palpitate, nor was her companion's free from unusual agitation. He asked the post-boy, in a low voice, if he knew the riders who were coming up behind; the boy answered in the negative, but that he needed not be afraid, as he observed a carriage along with them.

The first of the horsemen now passed the chaise in which Ryland and Harriet were, and at the distance of a few yards they crossed the road, and made a halt on the other side of it. Harriet's fears were now too much alarmed to be quieted by the late assurance of the post-boy: she was not, indeed, long suffered to remain in a state of suspence; one of those objects of her terror called to the driver to stop, which the lad had no sooner complied with, than he rode up to the side of the carriage where the lady was seated, and told her, in a tone rather peremptory than threatening, that she must allow that gentleman (meaning Ryland) to accept of a seat in another carriage, which was just behind, and do him and his friends the honour of taking one of them for her companion. He received no answer to this demand, she to whom it was made having fainted into the arms of her terrified fellow-traveller. In this state of insensibility, Ryland was forced, by the inhuman ruffian and his associates, to leave her, and enter a chaise which now drew up to receive him; and one of the gang, whose appearance bespoke something of a higher rank than the rest, seated himself by her, and was very assiduous in using proper means for her recovery. When that was effected, he begged her, in terms of great politeness, not to make herself in the least uneasy, for that no harm was intended. —"Oh heavens! she cried, where am I? What would you have? Whither would you carry me? Where is Mr. Ryland?" 'If you mean the gentleman in whose company you were, madam, you may be assured, that nothing ill shall happen to him any more than to yourself.' —"Nothing ill, said she, merciful God! What do you intend to do with me?" 'I would not do you a mischief for the world, answered he; and if you will be patient for a little time, you shall be satisfied that you are in danger of none.' —All this while they forced the post-boy to drive on full speed; and there was light enough for Harriet to discover, that the road they took had so little the appearance of a frequented one, that there was but a very small chance of her meeting with any relief. In a short time after, however, when the moon shining out made it lighter, she found they were obliged to slacken their pace, from being met, in a narrow part of the road, by some persons on horseback. The thoughts of relief recruited a little her exhausted spirits; and having got down the front-glass, she called out as loud as she was able, begging their assistance to rescue a miserable creature from ruffians. One who attended the carriage by way of guard, exclaimed that it was only a poor wretch out of her senses, whom her friends were conveying to a place of security: but Harriet, notwithstanding some endeavours of the man in the chaise to prevent her, cried out with greater vehemence than before, entreating them, for God's sake, to pity and relieve her. By this time one, who had been formerly behind, came up to the front of the party they had met, and overhearing this last speech of Harriet's —"Good God! said he, can it be Miss Annesly?" Upon this her companion in the carriage, jumped out with a pistol in his hand, and presently she heard the report of fire-arms, at which the horses taking fright, ran furiously across the fields for a considerable way before their driver was able to stop them. He had scarcely accomplished that, when he was accosted by a servant in livery, who bade him fear nothing, for that his master had obliged the villains to make off. —"Eternal blessings on him! cried Harriet, and to that providence whose instrument he is." —'To have been of any service to Miss Annesly, replied a gentleman who now appeared leading his horse, rewards itself.' —It was Sindall! —"Gracious powers! exclaimed the astonished Harriet, can it be you, sir Thomas!" 'Compose yourself, my dear Miss Annesly, said he, lest the surprize of your deliverance should overpower your spirits.' —He had opened the door of the chaise, and Harriet, by a natural motion, made room for him to sit by her. —He accordingly gave his horse to a servant, and stepped into the chaise, directing the driver to strike down a particular path, which would lead him to a small inn, where he had sometimes passed the night when a hunting.

When he pulled up the glass, "Tell me, tell me, sir Thomas, said Harriet, what guardian angel directed you so unexpectedly to my relief?" —'That guardian angel, my fairest, which I trust will ever direct us to happiness; my love, my impatient love, that could not bear the tedious days which my Harriet's presence had ceased to brighten.' —When she would have expressed the warmth of her gratitude for his services; "Speak not of them, said he; I only risked a life in thy defence, which, without thee, it is nothing to possess."

They now reached that inn to which Sindall had directed them; where, if they found a homely, yet it was a cordial reception. The landlady, who had the most obliging and attentive behaviour in the world; having heard of the accident which had befallen the lady, produced some waters which, she said, were highly cordial, and begged Miss Annesly to take a large glass of them; informing her, that they were made after a receit of her grandmother's, who was one of the most notable doctresses in the country. Sir Thomas, however, was not satisfied with this prescription alone, but dispatched one of his servants, to fetch a neighbouring surgeon, as Miss Annesly's alarm, he said, might have more serious consequences than people, ignorant of such things, could imagine. For this surgeon, indeed, there seemed more employments than one; the sleeve of sir Thomas's shirt was discovered to be all over blood, owing, as he imagined, to the grazing of a pistol-ball which had been fired at him. This himself treated very lightly, but it awakened the fears and tenderness of Harriet in the liveliest manner.

The landlady now put a question, which indeed might naturally have suggested itself before; to wit, Whom they suspected to be the instigators of this outrage? Sir Thomas answered, that, for his part, he could form no probable conjecture about the matter; and, turning to Miss Annesly, asked her opinion on the subject; "Sure, said he, it cannot have been that ruffian who was rude to you at the inn where we dined." Harriet answered, that she could very well suppose it might; adding, that though, in the confusion, she did not pretend to have taken very distinct notice of things, yet she thought there was a person standing at the door, near to that drunken gentleman, who had some resemblance of the man that sat by her in the chaise.

They were now interrupted by the arrival of the surgeon, which, from the vigilance of the servant, happened in a much shorter time than could have been expected; and Harriet peremptorily insisted, that, before he took any charge of her, he should examine and dress the wound on sir Thomas's arm. To this, therefore, the baronet was obliged to consent; and after having been sometime with the operator in an adjoining chamber, they returned together, sir Thomas's arm being slung in a piece of crape, and the surgeon declaring, highly to Miss Annesly's satisfaction, that with proper care there was no sort of danger; though, he added, that if the shot had taken a direction but half an inch more to the left, it would have shattered the bone to pieces. This last declaration drove the blood again from Harriet's cheek, and contributed perhaps, more than any thing else, to that quickness and tremulation of pulse which the surgeon, on applying his finger to her wrist, pronounced to be the case. He ordered his patient to be undrest; which was accordingly done, the landlady accommodating her with a bed-gown of her own; and then, having mulled a little wine, he mixed in it some powders of his own composition, a secret, he said, of the greatest efficacy in readjusting any disorders in the nervous system; of which draught he recommended a large tea-cupful to be taken immediately. Harriet objected strongly against these powders, till the surgeon seemed to grow angry at her refusal, and recapitulated, in a very rapid manner, the success which their administration had in many great families who did him the honour of employing him. Harriet, the gentleness of whose nature could offend no one living, overcame her reluctance, and swallowed the dose that was offered her—

The indignation of my soul has with difficulty submitted so long to this cool description of a scene of the most exquisite villany. The genuineness of my tale needs not the aid of surprise, to interest the feelings of my readers. It is with horror I tell them, that the various incidents, which this and the preceding chapter contain, were but the prelude of a design formed by Sindall for the destruction of that innocence, which was the dowry of Annesly's daughter. He had contrived a rout the most proper for the success of his machinations, which the ignorance of Ryland was prevailed on to follow: he had bribed a set of banditti to execute that sham rape, which his seeming valour was to prevent; he had scratched his wrist with a penknife, to make the appearance of being wounded in the cause; he had dragged his victim to the house of a wretch whom he had before employed in purposes of a similar kind; he had dressed one of his own creatures to personate a surgeon, and that surgeon, by his directions, had administered certain powders, of which the damnable effects were to assist the execution of his villany.

Beset with toils like these, his helpless prey was, alas! too much in his power to have any chance of escape; and that guilty night completed the ruin of her, whom, but the day before, the friend of Sindall, in the anguish of his soul, had recommended to his care and protection.—

Let me close this chapter on the monstrous deed! —That such things are, is a thought distressful to humanity—their detail can gratify no mind that deserves to be gratified.

CHAP. XXIV.

The situation of Harriet, and the conduct of Sindall. They proceed homeward. Some incidents in their journey.

I would describe, if I could, the anguish which the recollection of the succeeding day brought on the mind of Harriet Annesly. —But it is in such passages that the expression of the writer will do little justice even to his own feelings; much must therefore be left to those of the reader.

The poinancy of her own distress was doubled by the idea of her father's; a father's, whose pride, whose comfort, but a few weeks ago she had been, to whom she was now to return deprived of that innocence which could never be restored. I should rather say that honour; for guilt it could not be called, under the circumstances into which she had been betrayed; but the world has little distinction to make; and the fall of her, whom the deepest villany has circumvented, it brands with that common degree of infamy, which, in its justice, it always imputes to the side of the less criminal party.

Sindall's pity (for we will do him no injustice) might be touched; his passion was but little abated; and he employed the language of both to comfort the affliction he had caused. From the violence of what, by the perversion of words, is termed love, he excused the guilt of his past conduct, and protested his readiness to wipe it away by the future. He begged that Harriet would not suffer her delicacy to make her unhappy under the sense of their connexion; he vowed that he considered her as his wife, and that, as soon as particular circumstances would allow him, he would make her what the world called so, though the sacredness of his attachment was above being encreased by any form whatever.

There was something in the mind of Harriet which allowed her little ease under all these protestations of regard; but they took off the edge of her present affliction, and she heard them, if not with a warmth of hope, at least with an alleviation of despair.

They now set out on their return to the peaceful mansion of Annesly. How blisful, in any other circumstances, had Harriet imagined the sight of a father, whom she now trembled to behold!

They had not proceeded many miles when they were met by Ryland, attended by a number of rustics whom he had assembled for the purpose of searching after Miss Annesly. It was only indeed by the lower class that the account he gave had been credited, for which those who did not believe it cannot much be blamed, when we consider its improbability, and likewise that Jack's persuasive powers were not of a sort that easily induces persuasion, even when not disarranged by the confusion and fright of such an adventure.

His joy at finding Harriet safe in the protection of sir Thomas, was equally turbulent with his former fears for her welfare. After rewarding his present associates with the greatest part of the money in his pocket, he proceeded, in a manner not the most distinct, to give an account of what befel himself, subsequent to that violence which had torn him from his companion. The chaise, he said, into which he was forced, drove, by several cross roads, about three or four miles from the place where they were first attacked; it then stopping, his attendant commanded him to get out, and, pointing to a farm-house which, by the light of the moon, was discernible at some distance, told him, that, if he went thither, he would find accommodation for the night, and might pursue his journey with safety in the morning.

He now demanded, in his turn, a recital from Harriet of her share of their common calamity, which she gave him in the few words the present state of her spirits could afford. When she had ended, Ryland fell on his knees in gratitude to sir Thomas for her deliverance. Harriet turned on Sindall a look infinitely expressive, and it was followed by a starting tear.

They now proceeded to the next stage on their way homewards, Sindall declaring, that, after what had happened, he would, on no account, leave Miss Annesly, till he had delivered her safe into the hands of her father. She heard this speech with a sigh so deep, that if Ryland had possessed much penetration, he would have made conjectures of something uncommon on her mind; but he was guiltless of imputing to others, what his honesty never experienced in himself. Sir Thomas observed it better, and gently chid it by squeezing her hand in his.

At the inn, where they first stopt, they met with a gentleman who made the addition of a fourth person to their party, being an officer who was going down to the same part of the country on recruiting orders, and happened to be a particular acquaintance of sir Thomas Sindall: his name was Camplin.

He afforded to their society an ingredient of which at present it seemed to stand pretty much in need; to wit, a proper share of mirth and humour, for which nature seemed, by a profusion of animal spirits, to have very well fitted him. She had not perhaps bestowed on him much sterling wit; but she had given him abundance of that counterfeit assurance, which frequently passes more current than the real. In this company, to which chance had associated him, he had an additional advantage from the presence of Ryland, whom he very soon discovered to be of that order of men called Buts, those easy cushions (to borrow a simile of Otway's) on whom the wits of the world repose and fatten.

Besides all this, he had a fund of conversation arising from the adventures of a life which, according to his own account, he had passed equally in the perils of war and the luxuries of peace; his memoirs affording repeated instances of his valour in dangers of the field, his address in the society of the great, and his gallantry in connexions with the fair.

But lest the reader should imagine, that the real portraiture of this gentleman was to be found in those lineaments which he drew of himself, I will take the liberty candidly, though briefly, to communicate some particulars relating to his quality, his situation, and his character.

He was the son of a man who called himself an attorney, in a village adjoining to sir Thomas Sindall's estate. His father, sir William, with whom I made my readers a little acquainted in the beginning of my story, had found this same lawyer useful in carrying on some proceedings against his poor neighbours, which the delicacy of more established practitioners in the law might possibly have boggled at; and he had grown into consequence with the baronet, from that pliancy of disposition which was so suited to his service. Not that sir William was naturally cruel or oppressive; but he had an exalted idea of the consequence which a great estate confers on its possessor, which was irritated beyond measure when any favourite scheme of his was opposed by a man of little fortune, however just or proper his reasons for opposition might be; and, though a good sort of man, as I have before observed, his vengeance was implacable.

Young Camplin, who was nearly of an age with master Tommy Sindall, was frequently at sir William's in quality of a dependant companion to his son; and, before the baronet died, he had procured him an ensign's commission in a regiment, which some years after was stationed in one of our garrisons abroad, where Camplin, much against his inclination, was under a necessity of joining it.

Here he happened to have an opportunity of obliging the chief in command by certain little offices, which, though not strictly honourable in themselves, are sanctified by the favour and countenance of many honourable men; and so much did they attach his commander to the ensign, that the latter was very soon promoted by his interest to the rank of a lieutenant, and not long after was enabled to make a very advantageous purchace of a company.

With this patron also he returned to England, and was received at all times in a very familiar manner into his house; where he had the honour of carving good dishes which he was sometimes permitted to taste, of laughing at jokes which he was sometimes allowed to make, and carried an obsequious face into all companies, who were not treated with such extraordinary respect as to preclude his approach.

About this time his father, whose business in the country had not encreased since the death of sir William Sindall, had settled in London, where the reader will recollect the having met with him in a former chapter; but the captain, during his patron's residence there, lived too near St. James's to make many visits to Gray's Inn; and after that gentleman left the town, he continued to move amidst a circle of men of fashion, with whom he contrived to live in a manner which has been often defined by the expression of, "nobody knows how." Which sort of life he had followed uninterruptedly, without ever joining his regiment, till he was now obliged, by the change of a colonel, to take some of the duty in his turn, and was ordered a recruiting, as I have taken due occasion to relate.

In this company did Harriet return to her father. As the news of disaster is commonly speedy in its course, the good man had already been confusedly informed of the attack which had been made on his daughter. To him therefore this meeting was so joyful, as almost to blot from his remembrance the calamities which had lately befallen his family. But far different were the sensations of Harriet: she shrunk from the sight of a parent, of whose purity she now conceived herself unworthy, and fell blushing on his neck, which she bathed with a profusion of tears. This he imagined to proceed from her sensibility of those woes which her unhappy brother had suffered; and he forbore to take notice of her distress, any otherwise than by maintaining a degree of chearfulness himself, much above what the feelings of his heart could warrant.

He was attended, when her fellow-travellers accompanied Miss Annesly to his house, by a gentleman, whom he now introduced to her by the name of Rawlinson, saying he was a very worthy friend of his; who had lately returned from abroad. Harriet indeed recollected to have heard her father mention such a one in their conversations before. Though a good deal younger than Annesly, he had been a very intimate school-fellow of his in London, from which place he was sent to the East Indies, and returned, as was common in those days, with some thousand pounds, and a good conscience, to his native country. A genuine plainness of manners, and a warm benevolence of heart, neither the refinements of life, nor the subtleties of traffic, had been able to weaken in Rawlinson; and he set out, under the impression of both, immediately after his arrival in England, to visit a companion, whose virtues he remembered with veneration, and the value of whose friendship he had not forgotten. Annesly received him with that welcome which his fire-side ever afforded to the worthy; and Harriet, through the dimness of her grief, smiled on the friend of her father.

CHAP. XXV.

Something farther of Mr. Rawlinson.

Rawlinson found his reception so agreeable, that he lengthened his visit much beyond the limits which he at first intended it; and the earnest request of Annesly, to whom his friend's company was equally pleasing, extended them still a little farther.

During this period, he had daily opportunities of observing the amiable dispositions of Harriet. He observed, indeed, a degree of melancholy about her, which seemed extraordinary in one of her age; but he was satisfied to account for it, from the relation, which her father had given him, of the situation of his son, and that remarkable tenderness of which his daughter was susceptible. When viewed in this light, it added to the good opinion which he already entertained of her.

His esteem for Miss Annesly showed itself by every mark of attention, which a regard for the other sex unavoidably prompts in ours; and a young woman, or her father, who had no more penetration in those matters than is common to many, would not have hesitated to pronounce that Rawlinson was already the lover of Harriet. But as neither she nor her father had any wishes pointing that way, which had been one great index for discovery, they were void of any suspicion of his intentions, till he declared them to Annesly himself.

He did this with an openness and sincerity conformable to the whole of his character. He told his friend that he had now made such a fortune as enabled him to live independantly, and that he looked for a companion to participate it, whose good-sense would improve what were worthy, and whose good-nature would bear what were imperfect in him. He had discovered, he said, so much of both in the mind of Miss Annesly, that there needed not the recommendation of being the daughter of his worthiest friend to determine his choice; and that, though he was not old enough to be insensible to beauty, yet he was wise enough to consider it as the least of her good qualities. He added, that he made this application to her father, not to ask a partial exertion of his interest in his favour, but only, as the common friend of both, to reveal his intentions to Miss Harriet. "She has seen me, said he, as I am; if not a romantic lover, I shall not be a different sort of being, should she accept of me for a husband; if she does not, I promise you, I shall be far from being offended, and will always endeavour to retain her for my friend, whom I have no right to blame for not chusing to be my wife."

Annesly communicated this proposal to his daughter, with a fairness, worthy of that with which it had been entrusted to him: "I come not, said he, my Harriet, as a despot to command, not as a father to persuade, but merely as the friend of Mr. Rawlinson, to disclose his sentiments; that you should judge for yourself, in a matter of the highest importance to you, is the voice of reason and of nature; I blush for those parents who have thought otherwise. I would not even, with a view to this particular case, obtrude my advice; in general you have heard my opinion before, that the violence which we have been accustomed to apply to love, is not always necessary towards happiness in marriage; at the same time, that it is a treason of the highest kind in a woman to take him for her husband, whom a decent affection has not placed in that situation, whence alone she should chuse one. But my Harriet has not merely been taught sentiments; I know she has learned the art of forming them; and here she shall be trusted entirely to her own."

The feelings of Harriet on this proposal, and the manner in which her father communicated it, were of so tender a kind, that she could not restrain her tears. There wanted, indeed, but little to induce her to confess all that had passed with Sindall, and throw herself on the clemency of her indulgent parent. Had she practised this sincerity, which is the last virtue we should ever part with, how happy had it been! But it required a degree of fortitude, as well as softness, to make this discovery; besides, that her seducer had, with the tenderest entreaties, and assurances of a speedy reparation of her injuries, prevailed on her to give him something like a promise of secrecy.

Her answer to this offer of Mr. Rawlinson's, expressed her sense of the obligation she lay under to him, and to her father; she avowed an esteem for his character equal to its excellence, but that it amounted not to that tender regard which she must feel for the man whom she could think of making her husband.

Rawlinson received his friend's account of this determination without discomposure. He said he knew himself well enough to believe that Miss Annesly had made an honest and a proper declaration; and begged to have an interview with herself, to show her that he conceived not the smallest resentment at her refusal, which, on the contrary, though it destroyed his hopes, had encreased his veneration for her.

"Regard me not, said he to her when they met, with that respect of distance, as if you had offended or affronted me; let me not lose that look of kindness which, as the friend of your father and yourself, I have formerly experienced. I confess there is one disparity between us, which we elderly men are apt to forget, but which I take no offence at being put in mind of. It is more than probable that I shall never be married at all. Since I am not a match for you, Miss Annesly, I would endeavour to make you somewhat better, if it is possible, for another; do me the favour to accept of this paper; and let it speak for me, that I would contribute to your happiness, without the selfish consideration of its being made one with my own." So saying, he bowed and retired into an adjoining apartment, where his friend was seated. Harriet, upon opening the paper, found it to contain bankbills to the amount of a thousand pounds. Her surprise at this instance of generosity held her, for a few moments, fixed to the spot; but she no sooner recollected herself, than she followed Mr. Rawlinson, and putting the paper, with its contents, into his hand: "Though I feel, sir, said she, with the utmost gratitude, those sentiments of kindness and generosity you have expressed towards me, you will excuse me, I hope, from receiving this mark of them." —Rawlinson's countenance betrayed some indications of displeasure. — "You do wrong, said he, young lady, and I will be judged by your father— This was a present, sir, I intended for the worthiest woman, the daughter of my worthiest friend; she is woman still, I see, and her pride will no more than her affections, submit itself to my happiness." Annesly looked upon the bank-bills; "There is a delicacy, my best friend, said he, in our situation; the poor must ever be cautious, and there is a certain degree of pride which is their safest virtue." —"Let me tell you, interrupted the other, this is not the pride of virtue. —It is that fantastic nicety which is a weakness in the soul, and the dignity of great minds is above it. Believe me, the churlishness which cannot oblige, is little more selfish, though in a different mode, than the haughtiness which will not be obliged."

"We are instructed, my child," said Annesly, delivering her the paper; "let us show Mr. Rawlinson, that we have not that narrowness of mind which he has censured; and that we will pay that last tribute to his worth which the receiving of a favour bestows."

"Indeed, sir, said Harriet, I little deserve it; I am not, I am not what he thinks me. —I am not worthy of his regard." —And she burst into tears. —They knew not why she wept; but their eyes shed each a sympathetic drop, without asking their reason's leave.

Mr. Rawlinson speedily set out for London, where his presence was necessary towards dispatching some business he had left unfinished, after his return to England.

He left his friend, and his friend's amiable daughter, with a tender regret; while they, who, in their humble walk of life, had few to whom that title would belong, felt his absence with an equal emotion. He promised, however, at his departure, to make them another visit with the return of the spring.

CHAP. XXVI.

Captain Camplin is again introduced. —The situation of Miss Annesly, with that gentleman's concern in her affairs.

His place was but ill supplied, at their winter's fire-side, by the occasional visits of Camplin, whom Sindall had introduced to Annesly's acquaintance. Yet, though his was a character on which Annesly could not bestow much of his esteem, it had some good-humoured qualities, which did not fail to entertain and amuse him. But the captain seemed to be less agreeable in that quarter to which he principally pointed his attention, to wit, the opinion of Harriet, to whom he took frequent occasion to make those speeches, which have just enough of folly in them to acquire the name of compliments, and sometimes even ventured to turn them in so particular a manner, as if he wished to have them understood to mean somewhat more.

The situation of the unfortunate Harriet was such as his pleasantry could not divert, and his attachment could only disgust. As she had lost that peace of mind which inward satisfaction alone can bestow, so she felt the calamity doubled, by that obligation to secrecy she was under, and the difficulty which her present condition (for she was now with child) made such a concealment be attended with. Often had she determined to reveal, either to her father or to Mrs. Wistanly, who, of her own sex, was her only friend, the story of her dishonour; but Sindall, by repeated solicitations when in the country, and a constant correspondence when in town, conjured her to be silent for some little time, till he could smooth the way for bestowing his hand on the only woman whom he had ever sincerely loved. One principal reason for his postponing their union had always been the necessity for endeavouring to gain over the assent of his grandfather by the mother's side, from whom Sindall had great expectations; he had, from time to time, suggested this as difficult, and only to be attempted with caution, from the proud and touchy disposition of the old gentleman: he now represented him as in a very declining state of health, and that, probably, in a very short time, his death would remove this obstacle to the warmest wish of a heart, that was ever faithful to his Harriet. The flattering language of his letters could not arrest the progress of that time, which must divulge the shame of her he had undone; but they soothed the tumults of a soul to whom his villany was yet unknown, and whose affections his appearance of worth, of friendship, and nobleness of mind, had but too much entangled.

However imperfectly he had accounted for delaying a marriage, which he always professed his intention to perform, the delusion was kept up in the expectations of Harriet, till that period began to draw near when it would be impossible any longer to conceal from the world the effects of their intimacy. Then, indeed, her uneasiness was not to be allayed by such excuses as Sindall had before relied on her artless confidence to believe. He wrote her, therefore, an answer to a letter full of the most earnest as well as tender expostulations, informing her, of his having determined to run any risk of inconvenience to himself, rather than suffer her to remain longer in a state, such as she had (pathetically indeed) described. That he was to set out in a few days for the country, to make himself indissolubly hers; but that it was absolutely necessary that she should allow him to conduct their marriage in a particular manner, which he would communicate to her on his arrival; and begged, as she valued his peace and her own, that the whole matter might still remain as inviolably secret as she had hitherto kept it.

In a few days after the receit of this letter, she received a note from Camplin, importing his desire to have an interview with her on some particular business, which related equally to her and to sir Thomas Sindall. The time he appointed was early in the morning of the succeeding day; and the place, a little walk which the villagers used to frequent in holiday-times, at the back of her father's garden. This was delivered her, in a secret manner, by a little boy, an attendant of that gentleman's, who was a frequent guest in Annesly's kitchen, from his talent at playing the flageolet, which he had acquired in the capacity of a drummer to the regiment to which his master belonged. Mysterious as the contents of this note were, the mind of Harriet easily suggested to her, that Camplin had been, in some respect at least, let into the confidence of sir Thomas. She now felt the want of that dignity which innocence bestows; she blushed and trembled, even in the presence of this little boy, because he was Camplin's; and with a shaking hand, scrawled a note in answer to that he had brought her, to let his master know, that she would meet him at the hour he had appointed. She met him accordingly.

He began with making many protestations of his regard, both for Miss Annesly and the baronet, which had induced him, he said, to dedicate himself to the service of both in this affair, though it was a matter of such delicacy as he would not otherwise have chosen to interfere in; and putting into her hand a letter from Sindall, told her, he had taken measures for carrying into execution the purpose it contained.

It informed her that sir Thomas was in the house of an old domestic at some miles distance, where he waited to be made hers. That he had for this secrecy many reasons, with which he could not by such a conveyance make her acquainted, but which her own prudence would probably suggest. He concluded with recommending her to the care and protection of Camplin, whose honour he warmly extolled.

She paused a moment on the perusal of this billet. —"Oh! heavens! said she, to what have I reduced myself! Mr. Camplin, what am I to do? Whither are you to carry me? Pardon my confusion—I scarce know what I say to you."—

"I have a chaise and four ready, answered Camplin, at the end of the lane, which in an hour or two, madam, will convey you to sir Thomas Sindall." "But my father, good heavens! to leave my father!" "Consider, said he, 'tis but for a little while: my boy shall carry a note to acquaint him that you are gone on a visit, and will return in the evening." —"Return! Methinks I feel a foreboding that I shall never return." —He put a piece of paper and a pencil into her hand; the note was written, and dispatched by the boy, to whom he beckoned at some distance where he had waited. — "Now, madam, said he, let me conduct you." —Her knees knocked so against each other, that it was with difficulty she could walk, even with the support of his arm. They reached the chaise; a servant who stood by it, opened the door to admit her; she put her foot on the step, then drew it back again. "Be not afraid, madam, said Camplin, you go to be happy." She put her foot up again, and stood in that attitude a moment; she cast back a look to the little mansion of her father, whence the smoke was now rolling its volumes in the calmness of a beautiful morning. A gush of tenderness swelled her heart at the sight—She burst into tears —But the crisis of her fate was come— and she entered the carriage, which drove off at a furious rate, Camplin commanding the postilion to make as much speed as was possible.

CHAP. XXVII.

The effects, which the event contained in the preceding chapter had on Mr. Annesly.

The receit of that note which Harriet was persuaded by Camplin to write to her father, (intimating her having gone on a visit to a family in the neighbourhood, whence she was not to return till the evening) though her time of going abroad was somewhat unusual, did not create any surprise in the mind of Annesly; but it happened that Mrs. Wistanly, who called in the afternoon to enquire after her young friend, had just left the very house where her message imported her visit to be made. This set her father on conjecturing, though without much anxiety, and with no suspicion: but his fears were redoubled when, having sat up till a very late hour, no tidings arrived of his daughter. He went to bed, however, though it could not afford him sleep; at every bark of the village-dogs his heart bounded with the hopes of her return; but the morning rose, and did not restore him his Harriet.

His uneasiness had been observed by his servants, to whom he was too indulgent a master to have his interests considered by them with less warmth than their own. Abraham, therefore, who was coeval with his master, and had served him ever since he was married, had sallied forth by day-break on search of intelligence. He was met accidentally by a huntsman of sir Thomas Sindall's, who informed him, that as he crossed the lane at the back of the village the morning before, he saw Miss Annesly leaning on captain Camplin's arm, and walking with him towards a chaise and four, which stood at the end of it. Abraham's cheeks grew pale at this intelligence; because he had a sort of instinctive terror for Camplin, who was in use to make his awkward simplicity, a fund for many jests, and tricks of mischief, during his visits to Annesly. He hastened home to communicate this discovery to his master, which he did with a faltering tongue, and many ejaculations of fear and surprise. Annesly received it with less emotion, though not without an encrease of uneasiness. "Yonder, said Abraham, looking through the window, is the captain's little boy;" and he ran out of the room to bring him to an examination. The lad, upon being interrogated, confessed that his master had sent him to hire a chaise, which was to be in waiting at the end of that lane I have formerly mentioned, at an early hour in the morning, and that he saw Miss Annesly go into it attended by the captain, who had not, any more than Miss Harriet, been at home or heard of since that time. This declaration deprived Annesly of utterance; but it only added to the warmth of Abraham's inquisition, who now mingling threats with his questions, drew from the boy the secret, of his having privately delivered a letter, from his master to Miss Annesly, the very night preceding the day of their departure; and that a man of his acquaintance, who had stopt, about mid-day, at the alehouse where he was quartered, told him, by way of conversation, that he had met his master with a lady, whom he supposed, jeeringly, he was running away with, driving at a great rate on the road towards London. Abraham made a sign to the boy to leave the room. —"My poor dear young lady!" said he, as he shut the door, and the tears gushed from his eyes. His master's were turned upwards, to that Being, to whom calamity ever directed them. —The maid-servant now entered the room, uttering some broken exclamations of sorrow, which a violent sobbing rendered inarticulate. —Annesly had finished his account with heaven! and addressing her with a degree of calmness, which the good man could derive only thence, asked her the cause of her being afflicted in so unusual a manner. "Oh, sir! said she, stifling her tears, I have heard what the captain's boy has been telling; I fear it is but too true, and worse than you imagine! God forgive me if I wrong Miss Harriet; but I suspect—I have suspected for some time—she burst into tears again! —that my young lady is with child." — Annesly had stretched his fortitude to the utmost—this last blow overcame it, and he fell senseless on the floor! Abraham threw himself down by him, tearing his white locks, and acting all the frantic extravagances of grief. But the maid was more useful to her master; and having raised him gently, and chafed his temples, he began to show some signs of reviving; when Abraham recollected himself so far as to assist his fellow-servant in carrying him to his chamber, and laying him on his bed, where he recovered the powers of life, and the sense of his misfortune.

Their endeavours for his recovery were seconded by Mrs. Wistanly, who had made this early visit to satisfy some doubts which she, as well as Annesly, had conceived, even from the information of the preceding day. When he first regained the use of speech, he complained of a violent shivering, for which this good lady, from the little skill she possessed in physic, prescribed some simple remedies, and at the same time dispatched Abraham for an apothecary in the neighbourhood, who commonly attended the family.

Before this gentleman arrived, Annesly had received so much temporary relief from Mrs. Wistanly's prescriptions, as to be able to speak with more ease, than the incessant quivering of his lips had before allowed him to do. "Alas! said he, Mrs. Wistanly, have you heard of my Harriet?" —"I have, sir, said she, with equal astonishment and sorrow; yet let me entreat you not to abandon that hope which the present uncertainty may warrant. I cannot allow myself to think that things are so ill as your servants have informed me." —"My foreboding heart, said he, tells me they are; I remember many circumstances now, which all meet to confirm my fears. Oh! Mrs. Wistanly, she was my darling, the idol of my heart! perhaps too much so—the will of heaven be done!"—

The apothecary now arrived, who, upon examining into the state of his patient, ordered some warm applications to remove that universal coldness he complained of, and left him, with a promise of returning in a few hours, when he had finished some visits, which he was under a necessity of making in the village.

When he returned, he found Mr. Annesly altered for the worse; the cold which the latter felt before, having given place to a burning heat. He therefore told Mrs. Wistanly, at going away, that in the evening he would bring a physician, with whom he had an appointment at a gentleman's not very distant, to see Mr. Annesly, as his situation appeared to him to be attended with some alarming circumstances.

His fears of danger were justified by the event. When these gentlemen saw Mr. Annesly in the evening, his fever was encreased. Next day, after a restless night, they found every bad symptom confirmed: they tried every method which medical skill could suggest for his relief, but, during four successive days, their endeavours proved ineffectual; and at the expiration of that time they told his friend, Mrs. Wistanly, who had enjoyed almost as little sleep as the sick-man whom she watched, that unless some favourable crisis should happen soon, the worst consequences were much to be feared.

CHAP. XXVIII.

The arrival of Mr. Rawlinson. Annesly's discourse with him. That gentleman's account of his friend's illness, and its consequences.

At this melancholy period it happened that Mr. Rawlinson arrived, in pursuance of that promise which Annesly had obtained from him, at the time of his departure for London.

There needed not that warmth of heart we have formerly described in this gentleman to feel the accumulated distress to which his worthy friend was reduced. Nor was his astonishment at the account which he received of Harriet's elopement less, than his pity for the sufferings it had brought upon her father.

From the present situation of Annesly's family, he did not chuse to incommode them with any trouble of provision for him. He took up his quarters therefore at the only inn, a paltry one indeed, which the village afforded, and resolved to remain there till he saw what issue his friend's present ilness should have, and endeavour to administer some comfort, either to the last moments of his life, or to that affliction which his recovery could not remove.

In the evening of the day on which he arrived, Annesly seemed to feel a sort of relief from the violence of his disease. He spoke with a degree of coolness which he had never before been able to command; and after having talked some little time with his physician, he told Abraham, who seldom quitted his bed-side, that he thought he had seen Mr. Rawlinson enter the room in the morning, though he was in a confused slumber at the time, and might have mistaken a dream for the reality. Upon Abraham's informing him, that Mr. Rawlinson had been there, that he had left the house but a moment before, and that he was to remain in the village for some time, he expressed the warmest satisfaction at the intelligence; and having made Abraham fetch him a paper which lay in his buroe, sealed up in a particular manner, he dispatched him to the inn where his friend was, with a message, importing an earnest desire to see him as soon as should be convenient.

Rawlinson had already returned to the house, and was by this time stealing up stairs, to watch at the bed-side of his friend, for which task Mrs. Wistanly's former unceasing solicitude had now rendered her unfit. He was met by Abraham with a gleam of joy on his countenance, from the happy change which he thought he observed in his master; and was conducted to the side of the bed by that faithful domestic, who placed him in a chair, that the doctor had just occupied by his patient.

Annesly stretched out his hands, and squeezed that of Rawlinson between them for some time without speaking a word. "I bless God, said he at last, that he has sent me a comforter, at a moment when I so much need one. You must by this time have heard, my friend, of that latest and greatest of my family-misfortunes, with which providence has afflicted me." —"You know, my dear sir, answered Rawlinson, that no one would more sincerely feel for your sorrows than I; but at present it is a subject too tender for you." —"Do not say so, replied his friend; it will ease my labouring heart to speak of it to my Rawlinson: but in the first place I have a little business which I will now dispatch. Here is a deed making over all my effects to you, sir, and at your death, to any one you shall name your executor in that trust for my children— if I have any children remaining! —Into your hands I deliver it with a peculiar satisfaction, and I know there will not need the desire of a dying friend to add to your zeal for their service. —Why should that word startle you? death is to me a messenger of consolation!" He paused! —Rawlinson put up the paper in silence, for his heart was too full to allow him the use of words for an answer.

"When I lost my son, continued Annesly, I suffered in silence; and though it preyed on me in secret, I bore up against the weight of my sorrow, that I might not weaken in myself that stay which heaven had provided for my Harriet. She was then my only remaining comfort, saved like some precious treasure from the shipwreck of my family; and I fondly hoped that my age might go down smoothly to its rest, amidst the endearments of a daughter's care. —I have now lived to see the last resting-place which my soul could find in this world, laid waste and desolate!—yet to that Being, whose goodness is infinite as his ways are inscrutable, let me bend in reverence! I bless his name that he has not yet taken from me that trust in him, which to lose is the only irremediable calamity: it is now indeed that I feel its efficacy most, when every ray of human comfort is extinguished. As for me—my deliverance is at hand; I feel something here at my heart that tells me, I shall not have long to strive with insufferable affliction. My poor deluded daughter—I commit to thee, Father of all! by whom the wanderings of thy unhappy children are seen with pity, and to whom their return cannot be too late to be accepted! If my friend should live to see her look back with contrition towards that path from which she has strayed, I know his goodness will lead her steps to find it. —Show her her father's grave! yet spare her for his sake, who cannot then comfort or support her!"

The rest of this narration I will give the reader in Mr. Rawlinson's own words, from a letter of his I have now lying before me, of which I will transcribe the latter part, beginning its recital at the close of this pathetic address of his friend.

"As I had been told (says this gentleman) that he had not enjoyed one sound sleep since his daughter went away, I left him now to compose himself to rest, desiring his servant to call me instantly, if he observed any thing particular about his master. He whispered me, "that when he sat up with him the night before, he could overhear him at times talk wildly, and mutter to himself like one speaking in one's sleep; that then he would start, sigh deeply, and seem again to recollect himself." I went back to his master's bed-side, and begged him to endeavour to calm his mind so much as not to prevent that repose which he stood so greatly in need of. "I have prevailed on my physician, answered he, to give me an opiate for that purpose, and I think I now feel drousy from its effects." I wished him good night. — "Good night, said he,—but give me your hand; it is perhaps the last time I shall ever clasp it!" He lifted up his eyes to heaven, holding my hand in his, then turned away his face, and laid his head upon his pillow. —I could not lay mine to rest: Alas! said I, that such should be the portion of virtue like Annesly's; Set to arraign the distribution of providence, had been to forget that lesson which the best of men had just been teaching me;—but the doubtings, the darkness of feeble man, still hung about my heart.

When I sent in the morning, I was told that he was still asleep, but that his rest was observed to be frequently disturbed by groans and startings, and that he breathed much thicker than he had ever done hitherto. I went myself to get more perfect intelligence; his faithful Abraham met me at the door. —"Oh sir, said he, my poor master!" —'What is the matter?' —"I fear, sir, he is not in his perfect senses; for he talks more wildly than ever, and yet he is broad awake." — He led me into the room; I placed myself directly before him; but his eye, though it was fixed on mine, did not seem to acknowlege its object. There was a glazing on it that deadened its look.

He muttered something in a very low voice. —"How does my friend?" said I. —He suffered me to take his hand, but answered nothing. —After listening some time, I could hear the name of Harriet. "Do you want any thing, my dear sir?" He moved his lips, but I heard not what he said. —I repeated my question; he look'd up piteously in my face, then turned his eye round as if he missed some object on which it meant to rest. —He shivered, and caught hold of Abraham's hand, who stood at the side of the bed opposite me. —He looked round again, then uttered with a feeble and broken voice, "Where is my Harriet? lay your hand on my head—this hand is not my Harriet's—she is dead, I know:—you will not speak—my poor child is dead! yet I dreamed she was alive and had left me; left me to die alone! —I have seen her weep at the death of a linnet! poor soul, she was not made for this world—we shall meet in heaven! — Bless her! bless her!—there! may you be as virtuous as your mother, and more fortunate than your father has been! —My head is strangely confused! —but tell me, when did she die? you should have waked me that I might have prayed by her. —Sweet innocence! she had no crimes to confess! —I can speak but ill, for my tongue sticks to my mouth. —Yet—oh!—most merciful, strengthen and support—He shivered again—into thy hands!" —He groaned and died!"

Sindall! and ye who like Sindall—but I cannot speak!—speak for me their consciences!

CHAP. XXIX.

What befel Harriet Annesly on her leaving her father.

I am not in a disposition to stop in the midst of this part of my recital, solicitous to embellish, or studious to arrange it. My readers shall receive it simple, as becomes a tale of sorrow, and I flatter myself, they are at this moment, readier to feel than to judge it.

They have seen Harriet Annesly, by the artifice of Sindall, and the agency of Camplin, tempted to leave the house of her father, in hopes of meeting the man who had betrayed her, and of receiving that only reparation for her injuries which it was now in his power to make.

But sir Thomas never entertained the most distant thought of that marriage, with the hopes of which he had deluded her. Yet, though he was not subject to the internal principles of honour or morality, he was man of the world enough to know their value in the estimation of others. The virtues of Annesly had so much endeared him to every one within their reach, that this outrage of Sindall's against him, under the disguise of sacred friendship and regard, would have given the interest and character of sir Thomas such a blow, as he could not easily have recovered, nor conveniently born. It is not therefore to be wondered at, that he wished for some expedient to conceal it from the eyes of the public.

For this purpose he had formed a scheme, which all the knowlege he had of the delicacy of Harriet's affection for him, did not prevent his thinking practicable; (for the female who once falls from innocence, is held to be sunk into perpetual debasement) and that was, to provide a husband for her in the person of another. And for that husband he pitched on Camplin, with whose character he was too well acquainted, to doubt the bringing him over to any baseness which danger did not attend, and a liberal reward was to follow. Camplin, who at this time was in great want of money, and had always an appetite for those pleasures which money alone can purchase, agreed to his proposals; they settled the dowry of his future wife, and the scheme which he undertook to procure her. Part of its execution I have already related; I proceed to relate the rest.

When they had been driven with all the fury which Camplin had enjoined the postilions, for about eight or nine miles, they stopt at an inn, where they changed horses. Harriet expressed her surprise at their not having already reached the place where sir Thomas waited them; on which Camplin told her, that it was not a great way off, but that the roads were very bad, and that he observed the horses to be exceedingly jaded.

After having proceeded some miles farther, on a road still more wild and less frequented, she repeated her wonder at the length of the way; on which Camplin, entreating her pardon for being concerned in anyhow deceiving her, confessed that sir Thomas was at a place much farther from her father's than he had made her believe; which deceit he had begged of him (Camplin) to practice, that she might not be alarmed at the distance, which was necessary, he said, for that plan of secrecy sir Thomas had formed for his marriage. Her fears were sufficiently roused at this intelligence, but it was now too late to retreat, however terrible it might be to go on.

Some time after they stopt to breakfast, and changed horses again, Camplin informing her, that it was the last time they should have occasion to do so. Accordingly, in little more than an hour, during which the speed of their progress was no-wise abated, they halted at the door of a house, which Harriet, upon coming out of the chaise, immediately recollected to be that fatal one to which Sindall had before conveyed her. She felt, on entering it, a degree of horror which the remembrance of that guilty night she had before passed under its roof, could not fail to suggest, and it was with difficulty she dragged her trembling steps to a room above stairs, whither the landlady, with a profusion of civility, conducted her.

Where is sir Thomas Sindall? said she, looking about with terror on the well-remembered objects around her. Camplin, shutting the door of the chamber, told her, with a look of the utmost tenderness and respect, that sir Thomas was not then in the house, but had desired him to deliver her a letter, which he now put into her hands for her perusal. It contained what follows:

"It is with inexpressible anguish I inform my ever-dearest Harriet, of my inability to perform engagements, of which I acknowlege the solemnity, and which necessity alone has power to cancel. The cruelty of my grandfather is deaf to all the remonstrances of my love; and having accidentally discovered my attachment for you, he insists upon my immediately setting out on my travels; a command, which, in my present situation, I find myself obliged to comply with. I feel, with the most poinant sorrow and remorse, for that condition to which our ill-fated love has reduced the loveliest of her sex. I would therefore endeavour, if possible, to conceal the shame which the world arbitrarily affixes to it. With this view I have laid aside all selfish considerations so much, as to yield to the suit of Mr. Camplin that hand, which I had once the happiness of expecting for myself. This step, the exigency of your present circumstances renders highly eligible, if your affections can bend themselves to a man, of whose honour and good qualities I have had the strongest proofs, and who has generosity enough to impute no crime to that ardency of the noblest passion of the mind, which has subjected you to the obloquy of the undiscerning multitude. As Mrs. Camplin, you will possess the love and affection of that worthiest of my friends, together with the warmest esteem and regard of your unfortunate, but ever devoted, humble servant,

'Thomas Sindall."

Camplin was about to offer his commentary upon this letter; but Harriet, whose spirits had just supported her to the end of it, lay now lifeless at his feet. After several successive faintings, from which Camplin, the landlady, and other assistants, with difficulty recovered her, a shower of tears came at last to her relief, and she became able to articulate some short exclamations of horror and despair! Camplin threw himself his knees before her. He protested the most sincere and disinterested passion; and that, if she would bless him with the possession of so many amiable qualities as she possessed, the uniform endeavour of his life should be to promote her happiness. —"I think not of thee," she exclaimed; "Oh! Sindall! perfidious, cruel, deliberate villain!" Camplin again interrupted her, with protestations of his own affection and regard. "Away! said she, and let me hear no more! Or, if thou wouldst show thy friendship, carry me to that father from whom thou stolest me. —You will not— but if I can live so long, I will crawl to his feet, and expire before him."

She was running towards the door; Camplin gently stopt her. "My dearest Miss Annesly, said he, recollect yourself but a moment; let me conjure you to think of your own welfare, and of that father's whom you so justly love. For these alone could sir Thomas Sindall have thought of the expedient which he proposes. If you will now become the wife of your adoring Camplin, the time of the celebration of our marriage need not be told to the world: under the sanction of that holy tie, every circumstance of detraction will be overlooked, and that life may be made long and happy, which your unthinking rashness would cut off from yourself and your father." —Harriet had listened little to this speech; but the swelling of her anger had subsided; she threw herself into a chair, and burst again into tears. Camplin drew nearer, and pressed her hand in his; she drew it hastily from him: "If you have any pity, she cried, I entreat you for heaven's sake to leave me." He bowed respectfully and retired, desiring the landlady to attend Miss Annesly, and endeavour to afford her some assistance and consolation.

She had, indeed, more occasion for her assistance than he was then aware of; the violent agitation of her spirits having had such an effect on her, that, though she wanted a month of her time, she was suddenly seized with the pains of child-birth; and they were but just able to procure a woman who acted as a midwife in the neighbourhood, when she was delivered of a girl. Distracted as her soul was, this new object drew forth its instinctive tenderness; she mingled tears with her kisses on its cheeks, and forgot the shame attending its birth, in the natural meltings of a mother.

For about a week after her delivery she recovered tolerably well, and indeed those about her spared no pains or attention to contribute towards her recovery; but, at the end of that period, an accident threw her into the most dangerous situation. She was lying in a slumber, with a nurse watching her, when a servant of sir Thomas Sindall's, whom his master had employed very actively in the progress of his designs on Miss Annesly, entered the room with a look of the utmost consternation and horror; the nurse beckoned to him to make no noise, signifying, by her gestures, that the lady was asleep; but the opening of the door had already awakened her, and she lay listening, when he told the cause of his emotion. It was the intelligence which he had just accidentally received of Mr. Annesly's death. The effect of this shock on his unfortunate daughter may be easily imagined; every fatal symptom, which sudden terror or surprise causes in women at such a season of weakness, was the consequence, and next morning a delirium succeeded them.

She was not, however, without intervals of reason; though these were but intervals of anguish much more exquisite. Yet she would sometimes express a sort of calmness and submission to the will of heaven, though it was always attended with the hopes of a speedy relief from the calamities of her existence.

In one of these hours of recollection, she was asked by her attendants, whose pity was now moved at her condition, if she chose to have any friend sent for, who might tend to alleviate her distress; upon which she had command enough of herself, to dictate a letter to Mrs. Wistanly, reciting briefly the miseries she had endured, and asking, with great diffidence however of obtaining it, if she could pardon her offences so far, as to come and receive the parting breath of her once innocent and much loved Harriet. This letter was accordingly dispatched; and she seemed to feel a relief from having accomplished it: but her reason had held out beyond its usual limit of exertion; and immediately after, she relapsed into her former unconnectedness.

Soon after the birth of her daughter, Camplin, according to his instructions, had proposed sending it away, under the charge of a nurse whom the landlady had procured, to a small hamlet, where she resided, at a little distance. But this the mother opposed with such earnestness, that the purpose had been delayed till now, when it was given up to the care of this woman, accompanied with a considerable sum of money to provide every necessary for its use, in the most ample and sumptuous manner.

When Mrs. Wistanly received the letter we have mentioned above, she was not long in doubt as to complying with its request. Her heart bled for the distresses of that once amiable friend, whom virtue might now blame, but goodness could not forsake. She set out therefore immediately in a chaise, which Camplin had provided for her, and reached the house, to which it conveyed her on the morning of the following day, her impatience not suffering her to consider either the danger or inconvenience of travelling all night. — From her recital, I took down the account contained in the following chapter.

CHAP. XXX.

Mrs. Wistanly's recital. Conclusion of the first volume.

"When I entered the house, and had got upon the stairs leading to the room in which Harriet lay, I heard a voice enchantingly sweet, but low, and sometimes broken, singing snatches of songs, varying from the sad to the gay, and from the gay to the sad: it was she herself sitting up in her bed, fingering her pillow as if it had been a harpsicord. It is not easy to conceive the horror I felt on seeing her in such a situation! She seemed unconscious of my approach, though her eye was turned towards me as I entered; only that she stopt in the midst of a quick and lively movement she had begun, and looking wistfully upon me, breathed such a note of sorrow, and dwelt on it with a cadence so mournful, that my heart lost all the firmness I had resolved to preserve, and I flung my arms round her neck, which I washed with my bursting tears! —The traces which her brain could now only recollect, were such as did not admit of any object long; I had passed over it in the moment of my entrance, and it now wandered from the idea; she paid no regard to my caresses, but pushed me gently from her, gazing stedfastly in an opposite direction towards the door of the apartment. A servant entered with some medicine he had been sent to procure; she put it by when I offered it to her, and kept looking earnestly upon him; she ceased her singing too, and seemed to articulate some imperfect sounds. For some time I could not make them out into words, but at last she spoke more distinctly, and with a firmer tone.—"

"You saved my life once, sir, and I could then thank you, because I wished to preserve it;—but now—no matter, he is happier than I would have him. —I would have nursed the poor old man till he had seen some better days! bless his white beard!—look there! I have heard how they grow in the grave!—poor old man!"—

You weep, my dear sir; but had you heard her speak these words! I can but coldly repeat them.

All that day she continued in a state of delirium and insensibility to every object around her; towards evening she seemed exhausted with fatigue, and the tossing of her hands which her frenzy had caused, grew languid as of one breathless and worn out; about midnight she dropt asleep.

I sat with her during the night, and when she waked in the morning, she gave signs of having recovered her senses by recollecting me, and calling me by my name. At first indeed her questions were irregular and wild; but in a short time she grew so distinct, as to thank me for having complied with the request of her letter; "'tis an office of unmerited kindness, which, said she, (and I could observe her let fall a tear) will be the last your unwearied friendship for me will have to bestow." I answered, that I hoped not. "Ah! Mrs. Wistanly, she replied, can you hope so? you are not my friend, if you do." I wished to avoid a subject which her mind was little able to bear, and therefore made no other return than by kissing her hand, which she had stretched out to me as she spoke.

At that moment we heard some unusual stir below stairs, and, as the floor was thin and ill laid, the word child was very distinctly audible from every tongue. Upon this she started up in her bed, and with a look piteous and wild beyond description, exclaimed, "Oh! my God! what of my child?" —She had scarcely uttered the words, when the landlady entered the room, and showed sufficiently by her countenance that she had some dreadful tale to tell. By signs I begged silence. —"What is become of my infant?" cried Harriet. —"No ill, madam, (answered the woman, faltering) is come to it, I hope." —"Speak, said she, I charge you, for I will know the worst: speak, as you would give peace to my departing soul!" springing out of bed, and grasping the woman's hands with all her force. —It was not easy to resist so solemn a charge. — "Alas! said the landlady, I fear she is drowned; for the nurse's cloak and the child's wrapper have been found in some ooze which the river had carried down below the ford." —She let go the woman's hands, and wringing her own together, threw up her eyes to heaven till their sight was lost in the sockets. —We were supporting her, each of us holding one of her arms. —She fell on her knees between us, and dropping her hands for a moment, then raising them again, uttered with a voice that sounded hollow as if sunk within her:

"Power omnipotent! who wilt not lay on thy creatures calamity beyond their strength to bear! if thou hast not yet punished me enough, continue to pour out the phials of thy wrath upon me, and enable me to support what thou inflictest! But if my faults are expiated, suffer me to rest in peace, and graciously blot out the offences which thy judgments have punished here!" —She continued in the same posture for a few moments; then leaning on us as if she meant to rise, bent her head forward, and drawing her breath strongly, expired in our arms."

Such was the conclusion of Mrs. Wistanly's tale of woe!

Spirits of gentleness and peace! who look, with such pity as angels feel, on the distresses of mortality! often have ye seen me labouring under the afflictions which providence had laid upon me. — Ye have seen me in a strange land, without friend, and without comforter, poor, sick and naked; ye have seen me shivering over the last faggot which my last farthing had purchased, moistening the crust that supported nature with the tears which her miseries shed on it! yet have ye seen me look inward with a smile, and overcome them. —If such shall ever be my lot again, so let me alleviate its sorrows; let me creep to my bed of straw in peace, after blessing God that I am not a Man of the World.

END OF THE FIRST PART.

PART II.

INTRODUCTION.

I was born to a life of wandering, yet my heart was ever at home! though the country that gave me birth gave me but few friends, and of those few the greatest part were early lost, yet the remembrance of her was present with me in every clime to which my fate conducted me; and the idea of those, whose ashes reposed in that humble spot, where they had often been the companions of my infant sports, hallowed it in my imagination with a sort of sacred enthusiasm.

I had not been many weeks an inhabitant of my native village, after that visit to the lady mentioned in the first volume, which procured me the information I have there laid before my readers, till I found myself once more obliged to quit it for a foreign country. My parting with Mrs. Wistanly was more solemn and affecting than common souls will easily imagine it could have been, upon an acquaintance accidental in its beginning, and short in its duration; but there was something tender and melancholy in the cause of it, which gave an impression to our thoughts of one another, more sympathetic perhaps than what a series of mutual obligations could have effected.

Before we parted, I could not help asking the reason of her secrecy with regard to the story of Annesly and his daughter. In answer to this she informed me, that besides the danger to which she exposed herself by setting up in opposition to a man, in the midst of whose dependants she proposed ending her days, she was doubtful if her story would be of any service to the memory of her friend: that Camplin (as she supposed by the direction of sir Thomas Sindall, who was at that time abroad) had universally given out, that Miss Annesly's elopement was with an intention to be married to him; on which footing, though a false one, the character of that young lady stood no worse, than if the truth were divulged to those, most of whom wanted discernment, as well as candor, to make the distinctions which should enable them to do it justice.

Several years elapsed before I returned to that place, whence, it is probable, I shall migrate no more. My friend Mrs. Wistanly was one of the persons after whom I first enquired on my arrival. I found her subject to the common debility, but not to any of the acuter distresses of age; with the same powers of reason, and the same complacency of temper, I had seen her before enjoy. "These, said she, are the effects of temperance without austerity, and ease without indolence; I have nothing now to do but to live without the solicitude of life, and to die without the fear of dying."

At one of our first interviews, I found her accompanied by a young lady, who, besides a great share of what is universally allowed the name of beauty, had something in her appearance which calls forth the esteem of its beholders, without their pausing to account for it. It has sometimes deceived me, yet I am resolved to trust it to the last hour of my life; at that time I gave it unlimited confidence, and I had spoken the young lady's eulogium before I had looked five minutes in her face.

Mrs. Wistanly repeated it to me after she was gone. "That is one of my children, said she, for I adopt the children of virtue; and she calls me her mother, because I am old and she can cherish me." —"I could have sworn to her goodness, I replied, without any information besides what her countenance afforded me." — "'Tis a lovely one, said she, and her mind is not flattered in its portrait: though she is a member of a family with whom I have not much intercourse, yet she is a frequent visiter at my little dwelling; her name is Sindall." —"Sindall!" I exclaimed. "Yes, said Mrs. Wistanly, but she is not therefore the less amiable. Sir Thomas returned from abroad soon after you left this place; but for several years he did not reside here, having made a purchace of another estate in a neighbouring county, and busied himself, during that time, in superintending the improvement of it. When he returned hither, he brought this young lady, then a child, along with him, who, it seems, was left to his care by her father, a friend of sir Thomas's, who died abroad; and she has lived with his aunt, who keeps house for him, ever since that period.

The mention of sir Thomas Sindall, naturally recalled to my mind the fate of the worthy, but unfortunate, Annesly. Mrs. Wistanly told me, she had often been anxious in her enquiries about his son William, the only remaining branch of her friend's family; but that neither she, nor Mr. Rawlinson, with whom she had corresponded on the subject, had been able to procure any accounts of him; whence they concluded, that he had died in the plantation to which he was transported in pursuance of his mitigated sentence.

She farther informed me, "that Sindall had shown some marks of contrition at the tragical issue of the scheme he had carried on against the daughter's innocence and the father's peace; and to make some small atonement to the dead for the injuries he had done to the living, had caused a monument to be erected over their graves, in the village-churchyard, with an inscription, setting forth the piety of Annesly, and the virtues and beauty of Harriet. But whatever he might have felt at the time, continued she, I fear the impression was not lasting."

From the following chapters, containing some farther particulars of that gentleman's life, which my residence in his neighbourhood, and my acquaintance with some of the persons immediately concerted in them, gave me an opportunity of learning, my readers will judge if Mrs. Wistanly's conclusion was a just one.

CHAP. I.

Some account of the persons of whom sir Thomas Sindall's family consisted.

The baronet's family consisted, at this time, of his aunt, and the young lady mentioned in the Introduction, together with a cousin of his, of the name of Bolton, who was considered as presumptive heir of the Sindall-estate, and whose education had been superintended by sir Thomas.

This young gentleman had lately returned from the university, to which his kinsman had sent him. The expectations of his acquaintance were, as is usually the case, sanguine in his favour; and, what is something less usual, they were not disappointed. Beside the stock of learning which his studies had acquired him, he possessed an elegance of manner, and a winning softness of deportment, which a college-life does not often bestow, but proceeded in him, from a cause the least variable of any, a disposition instinctively benevolent, and an exquisite sensibility of heart.

With all his virtues, however, he was a dependant on sir Thomas Sindall; and their exercise could only be indulged so far as his cousin gave them leave. Bolton's father, who had married a daughter of the Sindall-family, had a considerable patrimony left him by a parent, who had acquired it in the sure and common course of mercantile application. With this, and the dowry he received with his wife, he might have lived up to the limits of his utmost wish, if he had confined his wishes to what are commonly considered the blessings of life; but, though he was not extravagant to spend, he was ruined by an avidity to gain. In short, he was of that order of men, who are known by the name of projectors; and wasted the means of present enjoyment, in the pursuit of luxury to come. To himself indeed the loss was but small; while his substance was moldering away by degrees, its value was annihilated in his expectations of the future; and he died amidst the horrors of a prison, smiling at the prospect of ideal wealth, and visionary grandeur.

But with his family it was otherwise: his wife, who had often vainly endeavoured to prevent, by her advice, the destructive schemes of her husband, at last tamely yielded to her fate, and died soon after him of a broken heart, leaving an only son, the Bolton who is now introduced into my story.

The distresses of his father had been always ridiculed by sir Thomas Sindall, as proceeding from a degree of whim and madness, which it would have been a weakness to pity; his aunt, Mrs. Selwyn, joined in the sentiment; perhaps it was really her own; but at any rate she was apt to agree in opinion with her nephew sir Thomas, and never had much regard for her sister Bolton, for some reasons no less just than common: in the first place her sister was handsomer than she, secondly, she was sooner married; and thirdly, she had been blest with this promising boy, while Mrs. Selwyn became a widow, without ever having had a child.

There appeared then but little prospect of protection to poor Bolton from this quarter; but, as he had no other relation in any degree of propinquity, a regard to decency prompted the baronet to admit the boy into his house. His situation, indeed, was none of the most agreeable; but the happy dispositions which nature had given him, suited themselves to the harshness of his fortune; and in whatever society he was placed, he found himself surrounded with friends: there was not a servant in the house, who would not risk the displeasure of their master or Mrs. Selwyn, to do some forbidden act of kindness to their little favourite Harry Bolton.

Sir Thomas himself, from some concurring accidents, had his notice attracted by the good qualities of the boy; his indifference was conquered by degrees, and at last he began to take upon himself the charge of rearing him to manhood. There wanted only this to fix his attachment: benefits to those, whom we set apart for our own management and assistance, have something so particular in their nature, that there is scarce a selfish passion which their exercise does not gratify. Yet I mean not to rob Sindall of the honour of his beneficence; it shall no more want my praise, than it did the gratitude of Bolton.

CHAP. II.

Some farther particulars of the persons mentioned in the foregoing chapter.

Bolton, however, felt that uneasiness which will ever press upon an ingenuous mind along with the idea of dependance: he had therefore frequently hinted, though in terms of the utmost modesty, a desire to be put into some way of life, that might give him an opportunity of lanching forth into the world, and freeing his cousin from the incumbrance of a useless idler in his family.

Sir Thomas had often made promises of indulging so laudable a desire; but day after day elapsed without his putting any of them in execution: the truth was, that he had contracted a sort of paternal affection for Bolton, and found it a difficult matter to bring himself to the resolution of parting with him.

He contented himself with employing the young man's genius and activity in the direction and superintendance of his country-affairs; he consulted him on plans for improving his estate, and entrusted him with the care of their execution: he associated him with himself in matters of difficult discussion as a magistrate; and, in the sports of the field, he was his constant companion.

It was a long time before Mrs. Selwyn, from some of the reasons I have hinted, could look on Harry with a favourable eye. When sir Thomas first began to take notice of him, she remonstrated the danger of spoiling boys by indulgence, and endeavoured to counterbalance the estimation of his good qualities, by the recital of little tales, which she now and then picked up against him.

It was not till some time after his return from the university, that Harry began to gain ground in the lady's esteem. That attachment and deference to the softer sex, which, at a certain age, is habitual to ours, is reckoned effeminacy amongst boys, and fixes a stain upon their manhood. Before he went to the university, Harry was under this predicament; but, by the time of his return, he had attained the period of refinement, and showed his aunt all those trifling civilities, which it is the prerogative of the ladies to receive, and which Mrs. Selwyn was often more ready to demand than some males of her acquaintance were to pay. In truth, it required a knowlege of many feminine qualities, which this lady doubtless possessed, to impress the mind with an idea of that courtesy which is due to the sex; for her countenance was not expressive of much softness, the natural strength of her features being commonly heightened by the assistance of snuff, and her conversation generally turning on points of controversy in religion and philosophy, which, requiring an intense exertion of thought, are therefore, I presume, from the practice of the fair in general, no way favourable to the preservation or the improvement of beauty.

It was, perhaps, from this very inclination for investigating truth, that Bolton drew an advantage in his approaches towards her esteem. As he was just returned from the seat of learning, whence discussions of that sort are common, she naturally applied to him for assistance in her researches: by assistance, I mean opposition; it being the quality of that desire after knowlege with which this lady was endued, to delight in nothing so much, as in having its own doctrines confronted with opposite ones, till they pommel, and belabour one another without mercy; the contest having one advantage peculiar to battles of this kind, that each party, far from being weakened by its exertion, commonly appears to have gained strength, as well as honour, from the rencounter.

Bolton indeed did not possess quite so much of this quality as his antagonist: he could not, in common good-breeding, refuse her challenge; but he often maintained the conflict in a manner rather dastardly for a philosopher. He gave, however, full audience to the lady's arguments; and if he sometimes showed an unwillingness to reply, she considered it as a testimony of her power to silence. But she was generous in her victories: whenever she conceived them completely obtained, she celebrated the prowess of her adversary, and allowed him all that wisdom which retreats from the fortress it cannot defend.

There was, perhaps, another reason, as forcible as that of obliging Mrs. Selwyn, or attaining the recondite principles of philosophy, which increased Bolton's willingness to indulge that lady in becoming a party to her disquisitions. There was a spectatress of the combat, whose company might have been purchased even at the expence of sitting to hear Aquinas himself dispute upon theology—Miss Lucy Sindall. My readers have been acquainted, in the Introduction, with my prepossession in her favour, and the character Mrs. Wistanly gave in justification of it. They were deceived by neither.

With remarkable quickness of parts, and the liveliest temper she possessed all that tenderness which is the chief ornament of the female character; and, with a modesty that seemed to shrink from observation, she united an ease, and a dignity, that universally commanded it. Her vivacity only rose to be amiable; no enemy could ever repeat her wit, and she had no friend who did not boast of her good-humour.

I should first have described her person; my readers will excuse it; it is not of such minds that I am most solicitous to observe the dwellings: I have hinted before, and I repeat it, that hers was such a one, as no mind need be ashamed of.

Such was the attendant of Mrs. Selwyn, whose company the good lady particularly required at those seasons, when she unveiled her knowlege in argument, or pointed her sagacity to instruction. She would often employ Bolton and Miss Lucy to read her certain select passages of books, when a weakness in her own sight made reading uneasy to her; the subjects were rarely of the entertaining kind, yet Harry never complained of their length. This she attributed to his opinion of their usefulness; Lucy called it good-nature; he thought so himself at first; but he soon began to discover that it proceeded from some different cause; for when Miss Lucy was, by any accident, away, he read with very little complacency. He never suspected it to be love; much less did Lucy: they owned each other for friends; and when Mrs. Selwyn used to call them children, Bolton would call Lucy sister; yet he was often not displeased to remember, that she was not his sister indeed.

CHAP. III.

A natural consequence of some particulars contained in the last.

The state of the mind may be often disguised, even from the owner, when he means to enquire into it; but a very trifle will throw it from its guard, and betray its situation, when a formal examination has failed to discover it.

Bolton would often catch himself sighing when Miss Sindall was absent, and feel his cheeks glow at her approach; he wondered what it was that made him sigh and blush.

He would sometimes take solitary walks, without knowing why he wandered out alone: he found something that pleased him, in the melancholy of lonely recesses, and half-worn paths, and his day-dreams commonly ended in some idea of Miss Sindall, though he meant nothing less than to think of such an object.

He had strayed in one of those excursions, about half a mile from the house, through a copse at the corner of the park, which opened into a little green amphi-theatre, in the middle of which was a pool of water, formed by a rivulet that crept through the matted grass, till it fell into this bason by a gentle cascade.

The sun was gleaming through the trees, which were inverted on the surface of the pool beneath; and the silence of the scene was only interrupted by the murmurs of the water-fall, sometimes accompanied by the querulous note of the wood-pigeons, who inhabited the neighbouring copse.

Bolton seated himself on the bank, and listened to their dirge. It ceased; for he had disturbed the sacred, solitary haunt. "I will give you some music in return," said he, and drew from his pocket a small-piped flute, which he frequently carried with him in his evening-walks, and serenaded the lonely shepherd returning from his fold. He played a little plaintive air, which himself had composed; he thought he had played it by chance; but Miss Sindall had commended it the day before: the recollection of Miss Sindall accompanied the sound, and he had drawn her portrait listening to its close.

She was indeed listening to its close; for accident had pointed her walk in the very same direction with Bolton's. She was just coming out of the wood, when she heard the soft notes of his flute; they had something of fairy-music in them, that suited the scene, and she was irresistibly drawn nearer the place where he sat, though some wayward feeling arose, and whispered, that she should not approach it. Her feet were approaching it whether she would or no; and she stood close by his side, while the last cadence was melting from his pipe.

She repeated it after him with her voice. "Miss Sindall!" cried he, starting up with some emotion. "I know, said she, you will be surprised to find me here; but I was enchanted hither by the sound of your flute. Pray touch that little melancholy tune again." He began, but he played very ill. "You blow it, said she, not so sweetly as before; let me try what tone I can give it." —She put it to her mouth, but she wanted the skill to give it voice. —"There cannot be much art in it,"—she tried it again—"and yet it will not speak at my bidding." —She looked stedfastly on the flute, holding her fingers on the stops; her lips were red from the pressure, and her figure altogether so pastoral and innocent, that, I do not believe, the kisses, with which the poets make Diana greet her sister-huntresses, were ever more chaste than that, which Bolton now stole from her by surprize.

Her cheeks were crimson at this little violence of Harry's. "What do you mean, Mr. Bolton?" said she, dropping the flute to the ground. "'Twas a forfeiture," he replied, stammering, and blushing excessively, "for attempting to blow my flute." —"I don't understand you," answered Lucy, and turned towards the house, with some marks of resentment on her countenance. Bolton was for some time rivetted to the spot; when he recovered the use of his feet, he ran after Miss Sindall, and gently laying hold of her hand, "I cannot bear your anger, said he, though I own, your displeasure is just; but forgive, I entreat you, this unthinking offence of him, whose respect is equal to his love." —"Your love, Mr. Bolton!" —"I cannot retract the word, though my heart has betrayed me from that prudence which might have stifled the declaration. I have not language, Miss Lucy, for the present feelings of my soul; till this moment I never knew how much I loved you, and never could I have expressed it so ill." —He paused— she was looking fixedly on the ground, drawing her hand softly from his, which refused involuntarily to quit its hold. — "May I not hope," said he—"You have my pardon, Mr. Bolton"—"But" —"I beg you," said Lucy, interrupting him, "to leave this subject; I know your merit, Mr. Bolton—my esteem—you have thrown me into such confusion— nay, let go my hand." —"Pity then, and forgive me." —She sighed—he pressed her hand to his lips—she blushed,—and blushed in such a manner—They have never been in Bolton's situation, by whom that sigh, and that blush, would not have been understood.

CHAP. IV.

Bolton is separated from Miss Sindall.

There was too much innocence in the breast of Lucy, to suffer it to be furnished with disguise. I mean not to throw any imputation on that female delicacy, Which, as Milton expresses it,

"—would be woo'd, and not unsought be won."

This, in truth, cannot be call'd art, because nature has given it to all her females. Let it simply proceed from modesty, and it will never go too far; but the affectation of it is ever the consequence of weakness in the head, or cruelty in the heart.

I believe Miss Sindall to have been subject to neither; she did not therefore assume the pride of indifference which she did not feel, to the attachment of so much worth as Bolton's, and he had soon the happiness to find, that his affection, which every day encreased, was not lavished without hope of a return.

But he did not seem to be so fortunate, meanwhile, in the estimation of every person in the family: sir Thomas Sindall had not of late shown that cordiality towards Bolton, with which he had been wont to favour him. As Harry was inconscious of any reason he could have given for it, this alteration in his cousin's behaviour was, for some time, altogether unnoticed by him; and, when at last, he was forced to observe it, he attributed it to no particular cause, but considered it as merely the effect of some accidental and temporary shagreen: nor did he altogether change his opinion, even when Lucy suggested to him her fears on the subject, and entreated him to recollect, if he had, in any respect, disobliged his cousin, whose behaviour seemed to her to indicate some disgust conceived particularly against him.

Not long after the baronet informed his family of his intention of changing their place of residence, for some time, from Sindall-park, to his other estate, where, he said, he found his presence was become necessary; and at the same time communicated to Bolton his desire, that he should remain behind, to superintend the execution of certain plans, which he had laid down with regard to the management of some country-business at the first-mentioned place. Harry thought this sufficiently warranted his expressing a suspicion, that his company had not, of late, been so agreeable to sir Thomas, as it used to be, and begged to be informed in what particular he had offended him. "Offended me! my dear boy, replied sir Thomas; never in the least. —From what such an idea could have arisen, I know not; if from my leaving you here behind when we go to Bilswood, it is the most mistaken one in the world: 'tis but for a few months, till those affairs I talked to you of are finished; and I hope there to have opportunity of showing, that, in your absence, I shall be far from forgetting you."

During the time of their stay at Sindall-park, he behaved to Harry, in so courteous and obliging a manner, that his suspicions were totally removed; and he bore with less regret, than he should otherwise have done, a separation from his Lucy, which he considered as temporary; besides that his stay behind was necessary to him, whose countenance and friendship, his attachment to that young lady, had now rendered more necessary in his estimation. Love encreases the list of our dependencies; I mean it not as an argument against the passion; that sex, I trust, whose power it establishes, will point its vassals, to no pursuit, but what is laudable.

Their farewel-scene passed in that very spot, which I have described in the last chapter, as witness to the declaration of Bolton's passion. Their farewel—but where the feelings say much, and the expression little, description will seldom succeed in the picture.

Their separation, however, was alleviated by the hope that it was not likely to be of long continuance: sir Thomas's declaration, of his intending that Harry should follow them in a few months, was not forgotten; and the intermediate days were swallowed up, in the anticipation of the pleasures, which that period should produce.

In the mean time, they took something from the pain of absence by a punctual correspondence. These letters I have seen: they describe things little in themselves; to Bolton and Lucy they were no trifles; but by others their importance would not be understood. One recital only I have ventured to extract for the perusal of the reader; because I observe, that it strongly affected them, who, in this instance, were interested no more than any, to whom the feelings it addresses are known; and some of my readers, probably, have the advantage of not being altogether unacquainted with the persons of whom it speaks.

CHAP. V.

What happened to Miss Sindall at Bilswood.

To assume her semblance, is a tribute which vice must often pay to virtue. There are popular qualities which the world looks for, because it is aware, that it may be sometimes benefited by their exertion. Generosity is an excellence, by the apparent possession of which I have known many worthless characters buoy'd up from their infamy; though with them it was, indeed, but thoughtless profusion; and, on the other hand, I have seen amiable men marked out with a sneer by the million, from a temperance or reservedness of disposition, which shuns the glare of public and the pleasures of convivial life, and gives to modesty and gentle manners the appearance of parsimony and meanness of spirit.

The imputation of merit with mankind, Sindall knew to be a necessary appendage to his character; he was careful therefore to omit no opportunity of stepping forth to their notice as a man of generosity. There was not a gentleman's servant in the county, who did not talk of the knight's munificence in the article of vails; and a park-keeper was thought a happy man, whom his master sent with a hanch of venison to sir Thomas. Once a year too he feasted his tenants, and indeed the whole neighbourhood, on the large lawn in the front of his house, where the strong beer ran cascade-wise from the mouth of a leaden triton.

But there were objects of compassion, whose relief would not have figured in the eye of the public, on whom he was not so remarkable for bestowing his liberality. The beggars, he complained, were perpetually stealing his fruit, and destroying his shrubbery; he therefore kept a wolf-dog to give them their answer at the gate; and some poor families in the village on his estate had been brought to beggary by prosecutions for poaching, an offence which every country-gentleman is bound, in honor, to punish with the utmost severity of the law; and cannot therefore, without a breach of that honor, alleviate by a weak and ill-judged exercise of benevolence.

Miss Lucy, however, as she could not so strongly feel the offence, would sometimes contribute to lessen the rigor of its punishment, by making small presents to the wives and children of the delinquents. Passing, one evening, by the door of a cottage, where one of those pensioners on her bounty lived, she observed, standing before it, a very beautiful lap-dog, with a collar and bell, ornamented much beyond the trappings of any animal that could belong to the house. From this circumstance her curiosity was excited to enter, when she was not a little surprized to find a young lady in a most elegant undress, sitting on a joint-stool by the fire, with one of the children of the family on her lap. The ladies expressed mutual astonishment in their countenances at this meeting, when the good-woman of the house running up to them, and clasping a hand of each in her's, "Blessings, said she, thousands of blessings on you both! a lovelier couple, or a better, my eyes never looked on." —The infant clapped its hands as if instinctively. —"Dear heart! continued its mother, look, if my Tommy be not thanking you too! well may he clap his hands; if it had not been for your gracious selves, by this thime his hands would have been cold clay! (mumbling his fingers in her mouth, and bathing his arms with her tears) when you strictly forbad me to tell mortal of your favours, Oh! how I longed to let each of you know, that there was another lady in the world as good as herself."

The stranger had now recovered herself enough to tell Miss Lucy, how much it delighted her to find, that a young lady, of her figure, did not disdain to visit affliction, even amongst the poor and the lowly. "That reflexion, answered the other, applies more strongly to the lady who makes it, than to her who is the occasion of its being made. I have not, madam, the honour of your acquaintance; but methinks, pardon my boldness, that I feel as if we were not strangers; at least, I am sure that I should reckon it a piece of singular good-fortune, if this interview could entitle me to call you stranger no longer." Their landlady cried and laughed by turns; and her two guests were so much pleased with this meeting, that they appointed a renewal of it, at an hour somewhat earlier of the subsequent evening.

Lucy came a few minutes before the time of appointment; when she learned that the stranger was the daughter of a neighbouring gentleman, whom a difference of disposition from that of sir Thomas Sindall, arising at last to a particular coolness, had entirely estranged for many years from the baronet, and prevented all intercourse between the families.

When this lady arrived, she brought such tidings along with her, that I question, if in all the sumptuous abodes of wealth and grandeur, there was to be found so much sincerity of joy, as in the ragged and moldering walls of the hovel, which she graced with her presence. She informed the grateful mistress of it, that by her intercession with some justices of the peace, who made part of the judicature before whom the poor woman's husband was brought, his punishment had been mitigated to a small fine, which she had undertaken to pay, and that he would very soon be on his way homewards. The joy of the poor man's family at this intelligence was such, as they could not, nor shall I, attempt to express. His deliverance was indeed unexpected, because his crime was great; no less than that of having set a gin in his garden, for some cats that used to prey on a single brood of chickens, his only property; which gin had, one night, wickedly and maliciously, hanged a hare, which the baronet's game-keeper next morning discovered in it.

His wife and little ones seemed only to be restrained by the respected presence of their guests, from running out to meet a husband and a father restored to them from captivity. The ladies observing it, encouraged them in the design; and having received the good woman's benediction on her knees, they walked out together, and leaving the happy family on the road to the prison, turned down a winding romantic walk, that followed the mazes of a rill, in an opposite direction.

Lucy, whose eyes had been fixed with respectful attention on her fair companion, ever since her arrival at the cottage, now dropped a tear from each. "You will not wonder at these tears, madam, said she, when you know that they are my common sign of joy and admiration; they thank you on behalf of myself and my sex, whose peculiar beauty consists in those gentle virtues you so eminently possess; my heart feels not only pleasure, but pride, in an instance of female worth so exalted. Though the family in which I live, from some cause unknown to me, have not the happiness of an intercourse with yours, yet your name is familiar to my ear, and carries with it the idea of every amiable and engaging quality." "Nor am I, returned the other, a stranger to the name, or the worth, of Miss Sindall; and I reckon myself singularly fortunate, not only to have accidentally made an acquaintance with her, but to have made it in that very stile, which effectually secures the esteem her character had formerly impressed me with." "Beneficence indeed, replied Lucy, is a virtue of which the possession may entitle to an acquaintance with one, to whom that virtue is so particularly known." "It is no less a pleasure than a duty, rejoined joined her companion; but I, Miss Sindall, have an additional incitement to the exercise of it, which perhaps, as the tongue of curiosity is at one time as busy as its ear is attentive at another, you may ere this have heard of. That ancient building to which the walk we are on, will, in a few minutes, conduct us, was formerly in the possession of one, in whose bosom resided every gentle excellence that adorns humanity; he, Miss Sindall,— why should I blush to tell it?—in the sordid calculation of the world, his attachment was not enviable; the remembrance of it, though it wrings my heart with sorrow, is yet my pride and my delight! your feelings, Miss Lucy, will understand this—the dear youth left me executrix of that philanthropy which death alone could stop in its course. To discharge this trust, is the business of my life; for I hold myself bound to discharge it."

They had now reached the end of the walk, where it opened into a little circle surrounded with trees, and fenced by a rail, in front of an antique-looking house, the gate of which was ornamented with a rudely-sculptur'd crest, cyphered round with the initials of some name, which time had rendered illegible; but, a few paces before it, was placed a small urn, of modern workmanship, and, on a tablet beneath, was written,

TO THE MEMORY OF WILLIAM HARLEY.

Lucy stepped up to read this inscription; "Harley! said she, how I blush to think, that I have scarcely ever heard of the name!" —"Alas! said Miss Walton, his actions were not of a kind that is loudly talked of: but what is the fame of the world? by him its voice could not now be heard!"—there was an ardent earnestness in her look, even amidst the melancholy with which her countenance was impressed. "There is a blank at the bottom of the tablet," said Lucy: her companion smiled gloomily at the observation, and, leaning on the urn in a pensive attitude, replied, that it should one day be filled up.

They now heard the tread of feet approaching the place; Lucy was somewhat alarmed at the sound; but her fears were removed, when she discovered it to proceed from a venerable old man, who advancing towards them, accosted Miss Walton by her name, who, in her turn, pronounced the word Peter! in the tone of surprize. She stretched out her hand, which he clasped in his, and looked in her face with a certain piteous thoughtfulness, while a tear was swelling in his eye. "My dear lady, said he, I have travelled many a mile since I saw your ladyship last: by God's blessing I have succeeded very well in the business your ladyship help'd me to set up; and having some dealings with a tradesman in London, I have been as far as that city and back again; and, said I to myself, if I could venture on such a journey for the sake of gain, may I not take a shorter for the sake of thanking my benefactress, and seeing my old friends in the country? and I had a sort of yerning to be here, to remember good Mrs. Margery, and my dear young master. —God forgive me for weeping, for he was too good for this world!" —The tears of Miss Walton and Lucy accompanied his. —"Alack-a-day! continued Peter, to think how things will come to pass! that-there tree was planted by his own sweet hand! —I remember it well, he was then but a boy; I stood behind him, holding the plants in my apron thus;—"Peter, said he, as he took one to stick it in the ground, perhaps I shall not live to see this grow." —"God grant your honor may, said I, when I am dead and gone! and I lifted up the apron to my eyes, for my heart grew big at his words; but he smiled up in my face, and said, "We shall both live, Peter, and that will be best." —Ah! I little thought then, Miss Walton, I little thought!"—and he shook his thin grey locks! —The heart of apathy itself could not have withstood it; Miss Walton's and Lucy's, melting and tender at all times, were quite overcome.

They stood for some time silent; Miss Walton at last recollected herself: "Pardon me, Miss Sindall, said she, I was lost in the indulgence of my grief: let us leave this solemn scene, I have no right to tax you with my sorrows." "Call not their participation by that name, answered Lucy, I know the sacredness of sorrow; yours are such as strengthen the soul while they melt it.

CHAP. VI.

A change in Bolton's situation.

The reader will pardon the digression I have made; I would not, willingly, lead him out of his way, except into some path, where his feelings may be expanded, and his heart improved.

He will remember, that I mentioned, in the fourth chapter, the expectation, which Bolton entertained, of seeing his Lucy at a period not very remote.

But that period was not destined to arrive so soon. When he expected sir Thomas's commands, or rather his permission, to visit the family at Bilswood, he received a letter from that gentleman, purporting, that he had at last been able, to put him in the way of attaining that independance he had so often wished for, having just procured him a commission in a regiment then stationed at Gibraltar; that though he, (sir Thomas) as well as Mrs. Selwyn, and Lucy, was exceedingly desirous to have an opportunity of bidding him farewel, yet he had prevailed on himself to wave that pleasure, from the consideration of its inconvenience to Harry, as it was absolutely necessary that he should join his regiment immediately. He inclosed letters of introduction to several gentlemen of his acquaintance in London, remitted him drafts on that place, for a considerable sum, to fit him out for his intended expedition, and begged that he might lose no time in repairing thither for that purpose. He ended with assuring him of the continuance of his friendship, which, he declared, no distance of time, or place, could alienate or impair.

The effect which this letter had upon Bolton, as he was then circumstanced, my readers can easily imagine. There was another accompanied it; a note from his Lucy: she intended it for comfort, for it assumed the language of consolation; but the depression of her own spirits was visible, amidst the hopes with which she meant to buoy up those of Bolton.

With this letter for its text, did his imagination run over all the delights of the past, and compare them with the disappointment of the present. Yet those tender regrets which the better part of our nature feels, have something in them to blunt the edge of that pain they inflict, and confer on the votaries of sorrow a sensation that borders on pleasure. He visited the walks which his Lucy had trod, the trees under which she had sat, the prospects they had marked together, and he would not have exchanged his feelings for all that luxury could give, or festivity inspire. Nor did he part with the idea after the object was removed; but, even on the road to London, to which place he began his journey next morning, 'twas but pulling out his letter again, humming over that little melancholy air which his Lucy had praised, and the scene was present at once. It drew indeed a sigh from his bosom, and an unmanly tear stood in his eye; yet the sigh and the tear were such, that it was impossible to wish it removed.

CHAP. VII.

His arrival, and situation in London.

When Bolton reached the metropolis, he applied, without delay, to those persons for whom he had letters from sir Thomas Sindall, whose instructions the baronet had directed him to follow, in that course of military duty which he had now enabled him to pursue.

In the reception he met with, it is not surprizing that he was disappointed. He looked for that cordial friendship, that warm attachment which is only to be found in the smaller circles of private life, which is lost in the bustle, and extended connexion of large societies. The letters, he presented, were read with a civil indifference, and produced the unmeaning professions of ceremony and politeness. From some of those to whom they were addressed, he had invitations, which he accepted with diffidence, to feasts which he partook with disgust; where he sat, amidst the profusion of ostentatious wealth, surrounded with company he did not know, and listening to discourse in which he was not qualified to join.

A plain honest tradesman, to whom he happened to carry a commission from Mrs. Wistanly, was the only person who seemed to take an interest in his welfare. At this man's house he received the welcome of a favoured acquaintance, he eat of the family-dinner, and heard the jest which rose for their amusement; for ceremony did not regulate the figure of their table, nor had fashion banished the language of nature from their lips. Under this man's guidance he transacted any little business his situation required, and was frequently conducted by him to those very doors, whose lordly owners received him in that manner, which grandeur thinks itself entitled to assume, and dependance is constrained to endure.

After some days of enquiry and solicitude, he learned, that it was not necessary for him to join his regiment so speedily as sir Thomas's letter had induced him to believe.

Upon obtaining this information, he immediately communicated it to the baronet, and signified at the same time, a desire of improving that time, which this respite allowed him for his stay in England, in a visit to the family at Bilswood. But with this purpose his cousin's ideas did not at all coincide; he wrote Harry an answer, disapproving entirely his intentions of leaving London, and laid down a plan for his improvement in military science, which could only be followed in the metropolis. Here was another disappointment; but Harry considered it his duty to obey.

What he felt, however, may be gathered from the following letter, which he wrote to Miss Sindall, by the post succeeding that, which brought him the instructions of sir Thomas.

"As I found, soon after my arrival here, that the necessity of joining my regiment immediately was superseded, I hoped, by this time, to have informed my dearest Lucy, of my intended departure from London, to be once more restored to her and the country.

"I have suffered the mortification of another disappointment: sir Thomas's letter is now before me, which fixes me here for the winter; I confess the reasonableness of his opinion; but reason and sir Thomas cannot feel like Bolton.

"When we parted last we flattered ourselves with other prospects; cruel as the reflexion is, I feel a sort of pleasure in recalling it; especially when I ventured to believe, that my Lucy has not forgotten our parting.

"To-morrow is Christmas-day; I call to remembrance our last year's holidays; may these be as happy with you, though I am not to partake them. Write me every particular of these days of jollity; fear not, as your last letter expresses it, tiring me with trifles: nothing is a trifle in which you are concerned. While I read the account, I will fancy myself at Bilswood; here I will walk forth, an unnoticed thing amidst the busy croud that surrounds me: your letters give me some interest in myself, because they show me that I am something to my Lucy; she is every thing to her

"Bolton."

CHAP. VIII.

Filial piety.

Bolton had a disposition towards society, that did not allow him an indifference about any thing of human form with whom he could have an opportunity of intercourse. He was every one's friend in his heart, till some positive demerit rendered a person unworthy his good-will.

He had not long possessed his lodgings in town, till he cultivated an acquaintance with his landlord and landlady; the latter he found to be the representative of the family, from a power of loquacity very much superior to her husband, who seemed to be wonderfully pleased with his wife's conversation, and very happy under what might, not improperly, be termed her government.

To Mrs. Terwitt, therefore, (for that was the lady's name) did Bolton address his approaches towards an acquaintance, and from her he had the good fortune to find them meet with a favourable reception: they were so intimate the second week of his residence in the house, that she told him the best part of the transactions of her life, and consulted him upon the disposal of her eldest daughter in marriage, whom a young tradesman, she said, had been in suit of ever since the Easter-holidays preceding. "We can give her, added she, something handsome enough for a portion; and the old gentleman above stairs has promised her a present of a hundred pounds on her wedding-day, provided she marries to please him."

"The gentleman above stairs! said Bolton; how have I been so unlucky as never to have heard of him before?" "He is not at present in town," replied the landlady, "having gone about a fortnight ago to Bath, whence he is not yet returned. Indeed, I fear, his health requires some stay at that place, for he has been but poorly of late; heaven preserve his life! for he is a good friend of ours, and of many one's else who stand in need of his friendship. He has an estate, sir, of a thousand pounds a year, and money besides, as I have been told; yet he chuses to live private, as you will see; and spends, I believe, the most of his income in charitable actions."

"I did indeed, said Harry, observe a young man come to the door this morning at an early hour, and I heard him ask if the gentleman was returned; but I did not then know that he meant any person who lodged here." "Ay, sure enough he meant Mr. Rawlinson," said Mrs. Terwitt, and I wish he may not feel his absence much; for he has called here frequently of late, and, the last time, when he was told of his not being yet returned, Betty observed that the tears gushed from his eyes." "When he calls again, said Bolton, I beg that I may be informed of it."

Next morning he heard somebody knock at the door, much about the time he had seen the young man approach it the preceding day: upon going to the window, he observed the same stripling, but his dress was different; he had no coat to cover a thread-bare waistcoat, nor had he any hat. Bolton let the maid know, that he was aware of his being at the door, and resumed his own station at the window. The youth repeated his enquiries after Mr. Rawlinson, and, upon receiving the same answer, cast up to heaven a look of resignation, and retired.

Bolton slipped down stairs, and followed him; his lodgings were situated near Queen-Square: the lad took the country-road, and went on without stopping till he reached Pancras-churchyard. He stood seemingly entranced, over a new-covered grave at one end of it. Harry placed himself under cover of a tomb hard by, where he could mark him unperceived.

He held his hands clasped in one another, and the tears began to trickle down his cheeks. Bolton stole from out his hiding-place, and approached towards the spot. The poor lad began to speak, as if addressing himself to the dead beneath.

"Thou canst not feel their cruelty; nor shall the winds of winter chill thee, as they do thy wretched son! —Inhuman miscreants! but these shall cover thee." —He threw himself on the ground, and spread his arms over the grave, on which he wept.

Bolton stooped down to raise him from the earth; he turned, and gazed on him, with a look wildered and piteous, "Pardon a stranger, young man, said Bolton, who cannot but be interested in your sorrow; he is not entitled to ask its cause, yet his heart swells with the hope of removing it." —"May heaven requite you, replied the stranger, for your pity to a poor orphan! Oh! sir, I have not been used to beg, and even to receive charity is hard upon me; did I mean to move compassion, I have a story to tell. —You weep already, sir! hear me, and judge if I deserve your tears.

"Here lies my father, the only relation whom misfortune had left to own me; but heaven had sent us a friend in that best of men, Mr. Rawlinson. He came accidentally to the knowlege of our sufferings, and took on himself the charge of alleviating them, which the cruelty of our own connexions had abandoned; but alas! when, by his assistance, my father was put into a way of earning his bread, he was seized with that ilness of which he died. Some small debts, which his short time in business had not yet allowed him to discharge, were put in suit against him by his creditors. His sickness, and death, which happened a few days ago, did but hasten their proceedings; they seized, sir, the very covering of that bed on which his body was laid. Mr. Rawlinson was out of town, and I fancy he never received those letters I wrote him to Bath. I had no one from whom to expect relief; every thing but these rags on my back, I sold to bury the best of fathers; but my little all was not enough; and the man whom I employed for his funeral, took yesterday, from off these clods, the very sod which had covered him, because I had not wherewithall to pay its price." Bolton fell on his neck, and answered him with his tears.

He covered the dust of the father, and clothed the nakedness of the son; and, having placed him where it was in his power to make future enquiries after his situation, left him to bless Providence for the aid it had sent, without knowing the hand through which its bounty had flowed. That hand, indeed, the grateful youth pressed to his lips at parting, and begged earnestly to know the name of his benefactor. "I am a friend, said Bolton, of Mr. Rawlinson, and humanity."

CHAP. IX.

A very alarming accident; which proves the means of Bolton's getting acquainted with his fellow-lodger.

When Bolton returned, in the evening, from those labours of charity he had undertaken, he found that the family were abroad, supping, in a body, with the daughter's lover: the maid sat up to wait their home-coming; and Bolton, who had more liberty, but much less inclination to sleep, betook himself to meditation.

It was now near midnight, and the hum of Betty's spinning-wheel, which had frequently intermitted before, became entirely silent, when Bolton was alarmed with a very loud knocking of the watchman at the door, and presently a confused assemblage of voices crying out, Fire! Fire! echoed from one end of the street to the other. Upon opening his window, he discovered too plainly the reason of the alarm; the flames were already appearing at the windows of the ground-floor, to which they had probably been communicated by the candle, which the maid had burning by her in the kitchen below.

She had now at last awaked, and was running about before the door of the house, wringing her hands, and speaking incoherently to the few who were assembled by the outcry, without having recollection enough, to endeavour to save any thing belonging to herself or her master.

Bolton, who had more the possession of his faculties, entreating the assistance of some watchmen, whom the occasion had drawn together, made shift to convey into the street, a few things which he took to be the most valuable; desiring Betty, to be so much mistress of herself, as to keep an eye upon them for her master's benefit.

She continued, however, her broken exclamations of horror and despair, till, at last, starting as it were into the remembrance of something forgot, she cried out vehemently, "Oh! my God! where is Mr. Rawlinson?"

Bolton caught the horrid meaning of her question, and pushing through the flames, which had now taken hold of the staircase, forced his way into the bed-chamber occupied by the old gentleman, who had returned from the country that very evening, and, being fatigued with his journey, had gone to bed before his fellow-lodger's arrival at home.

He had not waked till the room under that where he lay was in a blaze, and, on attempting to rise, was stifled with the smoke that poured in at every cranny of the floor, and fell senseless at his bed-side, where Bolton found him upon entering the room.

On endeavouring to carry him down stairs, he found it had now become impracticable, several of the steps having been quite burnt away, and fallen down in flaming brands, since the moment before, when he had ascended.

He had presence of mind enough left to observe, that the back-part of the house was not so immediately affected by the flames; he carried Mr. Rawlinson therefore into a room on that side, and, having beat out the sash, admitted air enough to revive him. The latter presently recollected his situation, and asking Harry, if it was possible to get down stairs, heard him answer in the negative with remarkable composure. "As for me, said he, I shall lose but few of my days; but I fear, sir, your generous concern for a stranger, has endangered a life much more valuable than mine: let me beg of you to endeavour to save yourself, which your strength and agility may enable you to do, without regarding a poor, worn-out, old man, who would only encumber you in the attempt." Bolton, with a solemn earnestness, declared, that no consideration should tempt him to such a desertion.

He had, before this, vainly endeavoured to procure a ladder, or some other assistance, from the people below; the confusion of the scene prevented their affording it: he considered, therefore, if he could not furnish some expedient from within, and having untied the cordage of a bed, which stood in the room, he found it would make a sufficient length of rope to reach within a few feet of the ground. This he fastened round Mr. Rawlinson's waist, in such a way, that his arms should support part of the weight of his body, and sliding it over the edge of the window, so as to cause somewhat more resistance in the descent, he let him down, in that manner, till he was within reach of some assistants below, who caught him in their arms; then fastening the end of the rope round the post of the bed, he slid so far down upon it himself, that he could safely leap to the ground.

He conveyed Mr. Rawlinson to other lodgings hard by, which then happened to be vacant; and having got him accommodated with some cloaths belonging to the landlord, he returned to see what progress the fire had been making, when he found, that, happily, from a piece of waste ground's lying between the house where it broke out, and the other to the leeward, it was got so much under, as to be in no danger of spreading any farther.

Upon going back to Mr. Rawlinson, he found him sitting in the midst of the family with whom he had lodged, ministering comfort to their distresses; the unfortunate Betty, whom, as she stood self-condemned for her neglect, he considered as the greatest sufferer, he had placed next him. "You shall not, said he, addressing himself to the old folks, interrupt the happiness of my friend Nancy or her lover here, with wailing your misfortune, or chiding of Betty. I will become bound to make up all your losses, provided your good-humour is not of the number."

"But who, continued the old gentleman, shall reward Mr. Bolton for the service he has done us all?" "May heaven reward him!" cried Mrs. Terwitt, and all her audience answered, Amen! "You pray well, said Mr. Rawlinson, and your petition is heard: on him, to whom the disposition of benevolence is given, its recompence is already bestowed."

CHAP. X.

Effects of his acquaintance with Mr. Rawlinson.

Such was Bolton's introduction to Mr. Rawlinson's acquaintance; and from the circumstances of its commencement, my readers will easily believe, that neither party could be indifferent to its continuation. Rawlinson saw his own virtues warm and active in the bosom of his young friend; while Harry contemplated, with equal delight, that serenity which their recollection bestowed on the declining age of Rawlinson.

In one of his visits to the old gentleman, some time after the accident related in the foregoing chapter, he found with him that very youth, whose sorrow, over the grave of his father, he had so lately been the means of alleviating. The young man was, indeed, in the midst of their recital as Bolton entered the room, and had just mentioned, with regret, his ignorance of his benefactor, when the door opened and discovered him. Bolton could not help blushing at the discovery; the other, starting from his seat, exclaimed, "it is he, it is himself," threw himself on his knees before Harry, with tears in his eyes, and poured out some broken expressions of the warmest gratitude. "It was you then, said Mr. Rawlinson, who were the comforter of my poor boy, who covered the grave of his unfortunate father! I will not thank you, for Jack is doing it better with his tears; but I will thank heaven, that there are some such men to preserve my veneration for the species." "I trust, my dear sir, said Bolton, that there are many to whom such actions are habitual." —"You are a young man, interrupted the other, and it is fit you should believe so; I will believe so too, for I have sometimes known what it is to enjoy them. —Go, my boy, turning to the lad, and wish for the luxury of doing good; remember Mr. Bolton, and be not forgetful of providence."

"The father of that young man, said Mr. Rawlinson, when he was gone, was a school-fellow of mine here in town, and one of the worthiest creatures in the world; but from a milkiness of disposition, without the direction of prudence, or the guard of suspicion, he suffered himself to become a dupe to the artifices of some designing men; and when, some time ago, I discovered his place of abode in an obscure village in the country, I found him stripped of his patrimony, and burthened with the charge of that boy, who has just now left us, whose mother, it seems, had died when he was a child. Yet, amidst the distresses of his poverty, I found that easiness of temper, which had contributed to bring them on, had not forsaken him; he met me with a smile of satisfaction, and talked of the cruel indifference of some wealthy relations, without the emotions of anger, or the acrimony of disappointment. He seemed, indeed, to feel for his child; but comforted himself at the same time with the reflexion, that he had bred him to expect adversity with composure, and to suffer poverty with contentment. He died, poor man, when I had put him in a way of living with some comfort; nor had I even an opportunity of doing the common offices of friendship to his last moments, my health having obliged me to go down to Bath, whence I had removed to Bristol, and did not receive any accounts of his ilness till my return to London. I am in your debt, Mr. Bolton, for some supplies to his son; let me know what those were, that we may clear the account." Bolton replied, that he hoped Mr. Rawlinson could not wish to deprive him of the pleasure he felt from the reflexion of having assisted so much filial piety in distress. "It shall be in your own way, said the old gentleman; I am not such a niggard as to grudge you the opportunity; yet I cannot but regret my absence, when I should have closed the eyes of poor Jennings. He was the last of those companions of my childhood, whose history in life I had occasion to be acquainted with; the rest, Mr. Bolton, had already fallen around me, and I am now left within a little of the grave, without a friend (except one, whom accident has acquired me in you) to smooth the path that leads to it; but that is short, and therefore it matters not much. At my age, nature herself may be expected to decline; but a lingering ilness is shortening her date. I would do therefore what good I can, in the space that is left me, and look forward, if I may be allowed, to make some provision for the service of futurity. Here are two papers, sir, which, on mature deliberation, I have judged it proper to commit to your custody; that in the parchment-cover, which is not labelled, my death alone will authorize you to open; the other, marked "Trust-deed by Mr. Annesly," I can explain to you now. That man, Mr. Bolton, who is now a saint in heaven, was prepared for it by the severest calamities on earth: the guilt, and misfortunes of two darling children, cut short the remnant of a life, whose business it was to guide, and whose pleasure to behold them in the paths of virtue and of happiness. At the time of his death they were both alive; one, alas! did not long survive her father; what has become of her brother, I have never been able to learn; but this trust, put into my hands in their behalf, may still be of importance to him or his, and to you therefore I make it over for that purpose; for though, by Mr. Annesly's settlement, the subject of the trust accrues to me on the failure of his own issue, yet would I never consider it as mine, while the smallest chance remained of his son, or the descendants of his son, surviving; and even were the negative certain, I should then only look on myself as the steward of my friend, for purposes which his goodness would have dictated, and it becomes his trustee to fulfil. In such a charge I will not instruct my executor; I have been fortunate enough to find one whose heart will instruct him."

Bolton, while he promised an execution of this trust worthy of the confidence reposed in him, could not help expressing his surprize at Mr. Rawlinson's choice of him for that purpose. "I do not wonder, replied the other, that you should think thus, for thus has custom taught us to think; I have told you how friendless and unconnected I am; but while we trace the relatives of birth and kindred, shall we allow nothing to the ties of the heart, or the sympathy of virtue?"

CHAP. XI.

A remarkable event in the history of Bolton. —His behaviour in consequence of it.

The provisions which Mr. Rawlinson had made, for an event of which he had accustomed himself to think with composure, were but too predictive of its arrival. That worthy man lived not many weeks after the conversation with Bolton, which I have just recorded.

Bolton was affected with the most lively sorrow for his death. This friendship, though but lately acquired, had something uncommonly ardent in its attachment, and liberal in its confidence. Harry, who had returned it in the most unreserved manner, felt the want both of that kindness which soothed, and that wisdom which instructed him.

Upon opening the sealed paper which had been formerly put into his hands by Mr. Rawlinson, it was found to be that gentleman's will, devising his whole estate, real and personal, to Mr. Bolton. The reason given for this, in the body of the paper itself, was expressed in the following words: "Because I know no man who has deserved more of myself; none who will deserve more of mankind, in the disposal of what I have thus bequeathed him."

Bolton was fully sensible of the force of this recommendation to the exercise of a virtue, which he had always possessed, and had only wanted power to practise. He acted as the almoner of Mr. Rawlinson, and justified his friend's method of benefaction, (for so this disposal of his affairs might be called) by joining with the inclination to do good, that choice of object and that attention to propriety, which dignifies the purpose, and doubles the use of beneficence.

Having settled accounts of this kind in town, (amongst which those of young Jennings and the Terwitt-family were not forgotten) he set out for that estate which had now devolved to him by the will of Mr. Rawlinson. With what ideas he made this visit, and in what manner he expressed them on his arrival, I shall allow his own words to describe, in the following letter to Miss Sindall.

Wilbrook.

"My Lucy will not blame me for want of attention, because she has heard of, what the world will call, my good fortune, only from the relation of others. To her I could not address those short letters of recital, which I was obliged to write to sir Thomas. She will not doubt her Henry's remembrance at all times; it is only with relation to those we love that prosperity can produce happiness, and our virtues themselves are nourished from the consciousness of some favourite suffrage. The length of this letter shall make up for a silence occasioned by various interruptions. I have had a good deal of business for the present; I have been forming some projects for the future: the idea of my Lucy was absent from neither.

"After the death of Mr. Rawlinson, the friend of mankind as well as of your Harry, there were some offices of duty which the successor of such a man was peculiarly bound to perform. Though I could discover no relation of his but one, (whose fortune, as it had formerly taught him to overlook his kinsman, stood not now in need of that kinsman's acknowlegement) yet there were numbers whom humanity had allied to him. Their claim of affinity was now upon me, and their provision a debt which I was called upon to discharge: this kept me some time in London. I have another family here, whom it was also necessary to remember; I have been among them a week, and we have not been unhappy.

"When I looked into the conveyances of this estate, I found it had been once before transferred in a manner not very common in the disposal of modern property. Its owner immediately preceding Mr. Rawlinson, was a friend and companion of his, who had gone out to India some years later than he, and, by his assistance, had been put in the way of acquiring a very large fortune. The greatest part of this he remitted to his former benefactor in England, to be laid out on some purchace near the place of his nativity, which it seems was a village but a few miles distant from Wilbrook. This estate was then in the possession of a gentleman, whose London-expences had squandered the savings of four or five generations, and, after having exhausted every other resource, he was obliged to sell this inheritance of his family. Mr. Rawlinson gave him the price he asked, and made a present of a considerable sum besides to a very deserving woman who had the misfortune to be the wife of this spendthrift. His friend ratified the bargain with thanks; but he lived not to enjoy his purchase. A fever carried him off in his passage to England, and he bequeathed his estate to him, by whose former good offices he had been enabled to acquire it.

"The new proprietor took a singular method of improving its value. He lowered the rents, which had been raised to an extravagant height, and recalled the ancient tenants of the manor, most of whom had been driven from the unfriendly soil, to make room for desperate adventurers, who undertook for rents they could never be able to pay. —To such a man was I to succeed, and I was conscious how much was required of his successor.

"The third day after my arrival, I gave a general invitation to my tenants and their families to dine with me. The hall was trimmed for their reception, and some large antique pieces of plate, with which Mr. Rawlinson had furnished his cupboard, were ranged on the large table at the end of it. Without doors stood a cask of excellent strong beer for any one of inferior quality who chose to drink of it, dispensed by an old, but jolly-looking servant, whose face was the signal of welcome.

"I received my guests as friends and acquaintance; asked the names of their children, and praised the blufness of the boys, and the beauty of the girls. I placed one of the most matronly wives in the wicker-chair at the head of the table; and, occupying the lowest place myself, stationed the rest of the company according to their age on either side.

"The dinner had all the appearance of plainness and of plenty: amongst other dishes four large pieces of roast beef were placed at uniform distances, and a plum-pudding of a very uncommon circumference was raised conspicuous in the middle. I pressed the bashful among the girls, commended the frankness of their fathers, and pledged the jolliest of the set in repeated draughts of strong-beer.

"But, though this had the desired effect with some, I could observe in the countenances of others evident marks of distrust and apprehension. The cloth therefore was no sooner removed, and the grace-cup drunk, than I rose up in my place, and addressed my guests to the following purpose:

"The satisfaction, my worthy friends, with which I now meet you, is damped by the recollection of that loss we have sustained in the death of your late excellent master. He was to me, as to you, a friend, and a father; so may heaven supply the want to me, as I will endeavour to fill his place to you. I call you to witness, that I hold his estate by no other title.

"I have given orders to my steward to renew such of your leases as are near expiring, at the rent which you have heretofore paid. If there is an article of encouragement or convenience wanting to any of you, let him apply to myself, and I will immediately enquire into it. No man is above the business of doing good.

"It is customary, I believe, on such occasions, for the tenant to pay a certain fine or premium to the landlord: I too, my friends, will expect one; you and your families shall pay it me—be industrious, be virtuous, be happy.

"An exclamation of joy and applause, which the last part of my speech had scarcely been able to stifle, now burst forth around me. I need not tell my Lucy what I felt; her heart can judge of my feelings; she will believe me when I say, that I would not have exchanged them for the revenue of a monarch.

"The rest of the day was spent in all the genuine festivity of happy spirits. I had enlarged a room adjoining to the hall, by striking down a partition at one end; and closed the entertainment with a dance, which I led up myself with the rosy-cheeked daughter of one of my principal tenants.

"This visit I have already returned to several of those honest folks. I found their little dwellings clean and comfortable, and happiness and good-humour seemed the guests of them all. I have commonly observed cleanliness and contentment to be companions amongst the lower ranks of the country-people; nor is it difficult to account for this: there is a self-satisfaction in contented minds which disposes to activity and neatness; whereas the reckless lassitude that weighs down the unhappy, seldom fails to make drunkards of the men, and slatterns of the women. I commended highly the neatness which I found in the farm-houses on my estate; and made their owners presents of various household ornaments by way of encouragement.

"I know the usual mode of improving estates; I was told by some sagacious advisers in London that mine was improvable: but I am too selfish to be contented with money; I would encrease the love of my people.

"Yesterday, and to-day, I have been employed in surveying the grounds adjoining to the house. Nature here reigns without controul; for Mr. Rawlinson did not attend very much to her improvement; and I have heard him say, that he conceived a certain esteem for an old tree, or even an old wall, that would hardly allow him to think of cutting the one, or pulling down the other. Nature, however, has been liberal of her beauties; but these beauties I view not with so partial an eye as the scenes I left at Sindall-Park. Were my Lucy here to adorn the landscape!—but the language of affection like mine is not in words. She will not need them to believe how much I am her.

"Henry Bolton."

CHAP. XII.

A change in the family of sir Thomas Sindall. —Some account of a person whom that event introduces to Miss Lucy's acquaintance.

The answer which Bolton received to the foregoing letter, contained a piece of intelligence material to the situation of Miss Sindall; it conveyed to him an account of the death of Mrs. Selwyn.

Though that lady was not possessed of many amiable or engaging qualities, yet Lucy, to whom she had always shown as much kindness as her nature allowed her to bestow on any one, felt a very lively sorrow for her death, even exclusive of the immediate consequences which herself was to expect from that event.

These indeed were apparently momentous. Mrs. Selwyn had been her guardian and protectress from her infancy; and though sir Thomas Sindall had ever behaved to her like a father, yet there was a feeling in the bosom of Lucy, that revolted against the idea of continuing in his house after his aunt's decease. By that lady's will she was entitled to a legacy of six hundred pounds; by means of this fum she had formed a scheme, which, though it would reduce her to a state very different from the ease and affluence of her former circumstances, might yet secure her from the irksomeness of dependance, or the accusation of impropriety; this was, to appropriate two thirds of the interest of her capital to the payment of an annual sum for her board with Mrs. Wistanly.

It was now that Bolton felt the advantage of independance from the hopes of being useful to Lucy; but he had her delicacy to overcome: she would not throw herself, at this moment of necessity, into the arms of a man whom fortune had now placed above her. She adhered to her first resolution.

But the kindness of sir Thomas Sindall rendered it unnecessary; for, a short time after Mrs. Selwyn's death, when Miss Sindall communicated to him her intention of leaving his house, he addressed her in the following terms: "I have always looked upon you, Miss Lucy, as a daughter, and, I hope, there has been no want of tenderness or attention on the side of my aunt or myself to have prevented your regarding us as parents. At the same time, I know the opinions of the world; mistaken and illiberal as they often are, there is a deference which we are obliged to pay them: in your sex the sense of decorum should be ever awake; even in this case, I would not attempt to plead against its voice; but I hope I have hit on a method which will perfectly reconcile propriety and convenience. There is a lady, a distant relation of our family, whom a marriage, such as the world terms imprudent, banished in early life from the notice or protection of it; but, though they could refuse their suffrage to the match, they could not controul its happiness; and, during the life of Mr. Boothby, (for that was her husband's name) she experienced all the felicity of which wedlock is susceptible. Yet on her husband's death, which happened about five years after their marriage, the state of his affairs was found to be such, that she stood but too much in need of that assistance which her relations denied her. At the time of her giving the family this offence, I was a boy; and I scarce ever heard of her name till I was apprized of her misfortunes. Whatever services I have been able to do her, I have found repaid by the sincerest gratitude, and improved to the worthiest purposes. Upon the late event of my aunt's death, I was naturally led to wish her place supplied by Mrs. Boothby; she has done me the favor to accept of my invitation, and I expect her here this evening. Of any thing like authority in this house, Miss Lucy, you shall be always independant; but I flatter myself she has qualities sufficient to merit your friendship." Lucy returned such an answer, as the kindness and delicacy of this speech deserved; and it was agreed, that, for the present, her purpose of leaving Bilswood should be laid aside.

In the evening, the expected lady arrived; she seemed to be about the age of fifty, with an impression of melancholy on her countenance, that appeared to have worn away her beauty before the usual period: some traces however still remained, and her eyes, when they met the view of the world, which was but seldom, discovered a brilliancy not extinguished by her sorrow.

Her appearance, joined to the knowlege of her story, did not fail to attract Miss Sindall's regard; she received Mrs. Boothby with an air, not of civility, but friendship; and the other showed a sense of the obligation conferred on her, by a look of that modest, tender sort, which equally acknowleges and solicits our kindness.

With misfortune a good heart easily makes an acquaintance. Miss Sindall endeavoured, by a thousand little assiduities, to show this lady the interest she took in her welfare. That reserve, which the humility of affliction, not an unsocial spirit, seemed to have taught Mrs. Boothby, wore off by degrees; their mutual esteem encreased as their characters opened to each other; and, in a short time, their confidence was unreserved, and their friendship appeared to be inviolable.

Mrs. Boothby had now the satisfaction of pouring the tale of her distresses into the ear of sympathy and friendship. Her story was melancholy, but not uncommon; the wreck of her husband's affairs by a mind too enlarged for his fortune, and an indulgence of inclinations laudable in their kind, but faulty in relation to the circumstances of their owner.

In the history of her young friend's life, there were but few incidents to communicate in return. She could only say, that she remembered herself, from her infancy, an orphan, under the care of sir Thomas Sindall and his aunt; that she had lived with them in a state of quiet and simplicity, without having seen much of the world, or wishing to see it. She had but one secret to disclose in earnest of her friendship; it faltered for some time on her lips; at last she ventured to let Mrs. Boothby know it—her attachment to Bolton.

From this intelligence the other was led to an enquiry into the situation of that young gentleman. She heard the particulars I have formerly related, with an emotion not suited to the feelings of Miss Sindall; and the sincerity of her friendship declared the fears which her prudence suggested.

She reminded Lucy of the dangers to which youth and inexperience are exposed, by the sudden acquisition of riches; she set forth the many disadvantages of early independance, and hinted the inconstancy of attachments, formed in the period of romantic enthusiasm, in the scenes of rural simplicity, which are afterwards to be tried by the maxims of the world, amidst the society of the gay, the thoughtless, and the dissipated. From all this followed conclusions, which it was as difficult as disagreeable for the heart of Lucy to form: it could not untwist those tender ties which linked it to Bolton; but it began to tremble for itself and him.

CHAP. XIII.

Certain opinions of Mrs. Boothby. —An attempt to account for them.

From the particulars of her own story, and of Bolton's, Mrs. Boothby drew one conclusion common to both; to wit, the goodness of sir Thomas Sindall. This indeed, a laudable gratitude had so much impressed on her mind, that the praises she frequently bestowed on him, even in his own presence, would have savored of adulation to one, who had not known the debt which this lady owed to his beneficence.

Lucy, to whom she would often repeat her eulogium of the baronet, was ready enough to own the obligations herself had received, and to join her acknowlegements to those of her friend. Yet there was a want of warmth in her panegyric, for which Mrs. Boothby would sometimes gently blame her; and one day, when they were on that subject, she remarked, with a sort of jocular air, the difference of that attachment which Miss Sindall felt, in return for so much unwearied kindness as sir Thomas had shown her, and that which a few soft glances had procured to the more fortunate Mr. Bolton.

Miss Sindall seemed to feel the observation with some degree of displeasure; and answered, blushing, that she considered sir Thomas as a parent whom she was to esteem and revere, not as one for whom she was to entertain any sentiments of a softer kind.

"But suppose, replied the other, that he should entertain sentiments of a softer kind for you." —"I cannot suppose it." —"There you are in the wrong: men of sense and knowlege of the world, like sir Thomas, are not so prodigal of unmeaning compliment as giddy young people, who mean not half of what they say; but they feel more deeply the force of our attractions, and will retain the impression so much the longer as it is grafted on maturity of judgment. I am very much mistaken, Miss Lucy, if the worthiest of men is not your lover." — "Lover! sir Thomas Sindall my lover!" "—I profess, my dear, I cannot see the reason of that passionate exclamation; nor why that man should not be entitled to love you, who has himself the best title to be beloved." —"I may reverence sir Thomas Sindall, I may admire his goodness; I will do any thing to show my gratitude to him; but to love him—good heavens!

"There is, I know, rejoined Mrs. Boothby, a certain romantic affection, which young people suppose to be the only thing that comes under that denomination. From being accustomed to admire a set of opinions, which they term sentimental, opposed to others which they look upon as vulgar and unfeeling, they form to themselves an ideal system in those matters, which, from the nature of things, must always be disappointed. You will find, Miss Sindall, when you have lived to see a little more of the world, the insufficiency of those visionary articles of happiness, that are set forth with such parade of language in novels and romances, as consisting in sympathy of soul, and the mutual attraction of hearts, destined for each other."

"You will pardon me, said Lucy, for making one observation, that you yourself are an instance against the universal truth of your argument; you married for love, Mrs. Boothby." —"I did so, interrupted she, and therefore I am the better able to imform you of the short duration of that paradise such a state is supposed to imply. We were looked upon, Miss Lucy, as patterns of conjugal felicity; but folks did little know, how soon the raptures with which we went together were changed into feelings of a much colder kind. At the same time, Mr. Boothby was a good-natured man; and, I believe, we were on a better footing than most of your couples who marry for love are at the end of a twelvemonth. I am now but too well convinced that those are the happiest matches which are founded on the soberer sentiments of gratitude and esteem."

To this concluding maxim Lucy made no reply. It was one of those which she could not easily bear to believe; it even tinctured the character of the person who made it, and she found herself not so much disposed to love Mrs. Boothby as she once had been.

For this sort of reasoning, however, that lady had reasons which it may not be improper to explain to the reader, if indeed the feeling reader has not already discovered them without the assistance of explanation.

Sir Thomas Sindall, though he was now verging towards that time of life when

"the heyday of the blood is tame,"

was still as susceptible as ever of the influence of beauty. Miss Lucy I have already mentioned as possessing an uncommon share of it; and chance had placed her so immediately under his observation and guardianship, that it was scarce possible for him not to remark, and having remarked, not to desire it. In some minds indeed there might have arisen suggestions of honor and conscience unfavorable to the use of that opportunity which fortune had put in his power; but these were restraints which sir Thomas had so frequently broken, as in a great measure to annihilate their force.

During the life of his aunt, there were other motives to restrain him; those were now removed; and being solicitous to preserve the advantage which he drew from Miss Sindall's residence in his house, he pitched on Mrs. Boothby to fill Mrs. Selwyn's place, from whom his former good offices gave him an additional title to expect assistance, by means of the influence she would naturally gain over the mind of one who was in some sort to become her ward. As I am willing at present to believe that lady's character a fair one, I shall suppose, that he concealed from her the kind of addresses with which he meant to approach her young friend. It is certain there was but one kind, which the principles of sir Thomas allowed him to make.

One obstacle however he foresaw in the attachment which he had early discovered her to have towards Bolton. This, on the most favorable supposition of the case, he might easily represent to Mrs. Boothby, equally hurtful to Lucy's interest, and destructive of his own wishes; and, if she was prevailed on to espouse his cause, it may account for those lessons of prudence which she bestowed upon Miss Sindall.

Besides this, the baronet did not scruple to use some other methods, still more dishonorable, of shaking her confidence in his cousin. He fell upon means of secretly intercepting that young gentleman's letters to Lucy; from this he drew a double advantage; both of fastening a suspicion on Harry's fidelity, and acquiring such intelligence as might point his own machinations to defeat the purposes which that correspondence contained.

CHAP. XIV.

A discovery interesting to Miss Sindall.

Under those circumstances of advantage in which sir Thomas Sindall stood, it did not seem a matter of extreme difficulty to accomplish that design which I have hinted to my readers in the preceding chapter. Let him, whose indignation is roused at the mention of it, carry his feelings abroad into life; he will find other Sindalls whom the world has not marked with its displeasure: in the simplicity of my narrative, what is there that should set up this one to his hatred or his scorn? let but the heart pronounce its judgment, and the decision will be the same.

Hitherto sir Thomas had appeared as the parent and guardian of Lucy; and though, at times, certain expressions escaped him, which the quickness of more experienced, that is, less innocent minds would have discovered to belong to another character, yet she, to whom they were addressed, had heard them without suspicion. But she was now alarmed by the suggestions of Mrs. Boothby; these suggestions it is possible the baronet himself had prompted. He knew the force of that poison which is conveyed in those indirect approaches, when a woman's vanity is set on the watch by the assistance of a third person. She who imagines she hears them with indifference, is in danger; but she who listens to them with pleasure, is undone.

With Lucy, however, they failed of that effect which the baronet's experience had promised him: she heard them with a sort of disgust at Mrs. Boothby, and something like fear of sir Thomas.

Her uneasiness encreased as his declarations began to be more pointed, though they were then only such as some women, who had meant to give them no favorable ear, might perhaps have been rather flattered than displeased with; but Miss Sindall was equally void of the art by which we disguise our own sentiments, and the pride we assume from the sentiments of others.

To her virtues sir Thomas was no stranger; they were difficulties which served but as spurs in his pursuit: that he continued it with encreasing ardor, may be gathered from two letters, which I subjoin for the information of the reader. The first is addressed

To Mrs. Wistanly.

"My dear Madam, "I fear you begin to accuse me of neglect; but there are reasons why I cannot so easily write to you as formerly. Even without this apology, you would scarce believe me capable of forgetting you, who are almost the only friend I am possessed of. Alas! I have need of a friend! pity and direct me.

"Sir Thomas Sindall—how shall I tell it?—he has ceased to be that guardian, that protector, I esteemed him; he says, he loves, he adores me;—I know not why it is, but I shudder when I hear these words from sir Thomas Sindall.

"But I have better reason for my fears; he has used such expressions of late, that, though I am not skilled enough in the language of his sex to understand their meaning fully, yet they convey too much for his honour, and for my peace.

"Nor is this all. —Last night I was sitting in the parlour with him and Mrs. Boothby, (of whom I have much to tell you) I got up, and stood in the bow-window, looking at the rays of the moon which glittered on the pond in the garden. There was something of enviable tranquillity in the scene; I sighed as I looked. — "That's a deep one," said sir Thomas, patting me on the shoulder behind; I turned round somewhat in a flurry, when I perceived that Mrs. Boothby had left the room. I made a motion towards the door; sir Thomas placed himself with his back to it. "Where is Mrs. Boothby?" said I, though I trembled so, that I could scarcely articulate the words. "What is my sweet girl frightened at? said he, here are none but love and Sindall." He fell on his knees, and repeated a great deal of jargon, (I was so confused I know not what) holding my hands, all the while, fast in his. I pulled them away at last; he rose, and clasping me round the waist, would have forced a kiss; I screamed out, and he turned from me. "What's the matter?" said Mrs. Boothby, who then entered the room; "a mouse running across the carpet, frightened Miss Lucy," answered sir Thomas; I could not speak, but I sat down on the sofa, and had almost fainted. Sir Thomas brought me some wine and water, and pressing my hand, whispered, that he hoped I would forgive an offence which was already too much punished by its effects: but he looked so, while he spoke this!

"Oh! Mrs. Wistanly, with what regret do I now recollect the days of peaceful happiness I have passed in your little dwelling, when we were at Sindall-Park. I remember I often wished, like other foolish girls, to be a woman; methinks I would now gladly return to the state of harmless infancy I then neglected to value. I am but ill made for encountering difficulty or danger; yet I fear my path is surrounded with both. Could you receive me again under your roof? there is something hallowed resides beneath it. — Yet this may not now be so convenient— I know not what to say—here I am miserable. Write to me, I entreat you, as speedily as may be. You never yet denied me your advice or assistance; and never before were they so necessary to your faithful

"L. Sindall."

To this letter Miss Sindall received no answer; in truth it never reached Mrs. Wistanly, the servant, to whom she entrusted its conveyance, having, according to instructions he had received, delivered it into the hands of his master, sir Thomas Sindall. She concluded, therefore, either that Mrs. Wistanly found herself unable to assist her in her present distress, or, what she imagined more probable, that age had now weakened her faculties so much, as to render her callous even to that feeling which should have pitied it. She next turned her thoughts upon Miss Walton, the manner of her getting acquainted with whom, I have related in the fifth chapter of this volume; but she learned, that Mr. Walton had, a few days before, set out with his daughter on a journey to the Continent, to which he had been advised by her physicians, as she had, for some time past, been threatened with symptoms of a consumptive disorder. These circumstances, and sir Thomas's farther conduct in the interval, induced her to address the following letter to Bolton, though she began to suspect, from the supposed failure of his correspondence, that the suggestions she had heard of his change of circumstances having taught him to forget her, had but too much foundation in reality.

To Henry Bolton, Esq;

"Is it true, that amidst the business, or the pleasures of his new situation, Harry Bolton has forgotten Lucy Sindall? Forlorn as I now am—but I will not complain —I would now less than ever complain to you. Yet it is not pride, it is not—I weep while I write this!

"But perhaps, though I do not hear from you, you may yet remember her, to whom you had once some foolish attachment. It is fit that you think of her no more: she was then indeed a dependant orphan, but there was a small challenge of protection from friends to whom it was imagined her infancy had been entrusted. Know, that this was a fabricated tale; she is, in truth, a wretched foundling, exposed in her infant-state, by the cruelty or necessity of her parents, to the inclemency of a winter-storm, from which miserable situation sir Thomas Sindall delivered her. This he has but a little since told me, in the most ungenerous manner, and from motives which I tremble to think on. —Inhuman that he is! Why did he save me then?

"This Mrs. Boothby too! encompassed as I was with evils, was I not wretched enough before? yet this new discovery has been able to make me more so. —My head grows dizzy when I think on it!— to be blotted out from the records of society! —What misery or what vice have my parents known! yet now to be the child of a beggar, in poverty and rags, is a situation I am forced to envy.

"I had one friend from whom I looked for some assistance. Mrs. Wistanly, from infirmity, I fear, has forgotten me; I have ventured to think on you. Be but my friend, and no more; talk not of love, that you may not force me to refuse your friendship. If you are not changed indeed, you will be rewarded enough when I tell you, that, to remove me from the dangers of this dreadful place, will call forth more blessings from my heart, than any other can give, that is not wrung with anguish like that of the unfortunate

"L. Sindall."

CHAP. XV.

She receives a letter from Bolton. —A new alarm from sir Thomas Sindall.

It happened that the messenger to whom the charge of the foregoing billet was committed, was a person, not in that line of association which the baronet had drawn around her; consequently it escaped interception.

When Bolton received it, he was not only alarmed with the intelligence it contained, but his fears were doubly roused from the discovery it made to him, of his letters not being suffered to reach Miss Sindall. He dispatched his answer, therefore, by a special messenger, who was ordered to watch an opportunity of delivering it privately into the hands of the lady to whom it was addressed. This he found no easy matter to accomplish; nor would he perhaps have been able to effect it at all, but for an artifice to which he had recourse, of hiring himself on a job in sir Thomas's garden, for which his knowlege in the business happened to qualify him. He had indeed been formerly employed in that capacity at Sindall-Park, and had there been well enough known to Miss Lucy, who was herself a gardener for amusement; and, after leaving that place, having gone to the neighbourhood of London for improvement, he was met, and hired by his former acquaintance, Mr. Bolton.

The very next evening after he had got into this station, he observed Miss Sindall enter the garden alone. This was an opportunity not to be missed; on pretence, therefore, of fetching somewhat from the end of the walk she was on, he passed her, and pulled off his hat with a look significant of prior acquaintance. Lucy observed him, and, feeling a sort of momentary comfort from the recollection, began some talk with him respecting his former situation, and the changes it had undergone. She asked him many questions about their old neighbours at Sindall-Park, and particularly Mrs. Wistanly; when she was soon convinced of her misapprehension with regard to a failure of that worthy woman's intellects, Jery, (so the gardener was familiarly called) having seen her in his way to Bilswood, and heard her speak of Miss Lucy with the most tender concern. "And what was your last service, Jery?" said she—"I wrought for Mr. Bolton, Madam." —"Mr. Bolton!" —"And I received this paper from him for your Ladyship, which I was ordered to deliver into your own hands, and no other body's, an't please your ladyship." She took the letter with a trembling impatience, and whispering, that she would find an opportunity of seeing him again, hurried up into her chamber to peruse it. She found it to contain what follows:

"I have not words to tell my ever dearest Lucy, with what distracting anxiety I read the letter that is now lying before me. To give her suspicions of my faith, must have been the work of no common treachery: when she knows that I wrote to her three several times without receiving any answer, she will, at the same time, acquit me of inconstancy, and judge of my uneasiness.

"That discovery which she has lately made, is nothing to her or to me. My Lucy is the child of heaven, and her inheritance every excellence it can bestow.

"But her present situation—my God! what horrible images has my fancy drawn of it! For heaven's sake, let not even the most amiable of weaknesses prevent her escaping from it into the arms of her faithful Bolton. I dispatch a messenger with this instantly. I cannot possibly follow him myself sooner than two days hence. I will then set out for the neighbourhood of Bilswood. That house I am forbidden to enter, sir Thomas having taken occasion, from my resigning a commission which would have fixed me ingloriously in a garrison abroad, that I might be of some use to my country at home, to write me a letter in the angriest terms, renouncing me, as he terms it, for ever. I see, I see, the villany of his purpose; 'tis but a few days hence, and I will meet him in the covert of his falsehood and blast it. Let my Lucy be but just to herself and to

"Bolton."

She had scarcely read this, when Mrs. Boothby entered the room. The baronet had, for some days, quitted that plan of intimidation, which had prompted him to discover to Lucy, the circumstance of her being a wretched foundling, supported by his charity, for a behaviour more mild and insinuating; and Mrs. Boothby, who squared her conduct accordingly, had been particularly attentive and obliging. She now delivered to Miss Sindall a message from a young lady in the neighbourhood, an acquaintance of hers, begging her company, along with Mrs. Boothby's, to a party of pleasure the day after. "And really, Miss Sindall," said she, with an air of concern, "I must enforce the invitation from a regard to your health, as you seem to have been drooping for some days past." Lucy looked her full in the face, and sighed: that look she did not chuse to understand, but repeated her question as to their jaunt to-morrow. "Miss Venhurst will call at nine, and expects to find you ready to attend her." —"What you please," replied the other; "if Miss Venhurst is to be of the party, I have no objection." The consent seemed to give much satisfaction to Mrs. Boothby, who left her with a gentle tap on the back, and an unusual appearance of kindness in her aspect.

Lucy read her letter again; she had desired Bolton to think of her no more; but there is in the worthiest hearts, a little hypocrisy attending such requests: she found herself happy in the thought that he had not forgotten her.

When she opened her buroe, to deposit this fresh testimony of his attachment, she observed the corner of a piece of paper which had been thrust into a fissure occasioned by the shrinking of the wood. Her curiosity was excited by this circumstance, and unfolding the paper, she found it to contain—

To Miss Sindle.

Madm. "I writ this from a sincear regaird to yur welfer. Sir Tho. Sindle hase a helitch plott against yur vartue, and hase imployde Mrs. Buthbie, whu is a wooman of a notoreus karicter in Londun to asist him. They wil putt yu on a jant tomoro on pretens of seeing Mss Venhrst, butt it is fals: for she is nott to be thair, and they only wants to inveegl yu for a wicket purpes. therfor bi advyzd by a frinde, and du not go.

"Yur secrt welwishar, R. S."

Amazement and horror filled the mind of Lucy as she read this; but, when the first perturbation of her soul was over, she bethought herself of endeavouring to find out her friend in the author of this epistle, whose compassion seemed so much interested in her behalf. She remembered that one of the servants who was sometimes employed to ride out with her, was called Robert, which agreed with the first initial in the subscription of the note she had received. At supper, therefore, tho' she wore a look of as much indifference as possible, she marked, with a secret attention the appearance of this man's countenance. Her belief, of his being the person who had communicated this friendly intelligence, was encreased from her observation; and she determined to watch an opportunity of questioning him with regard to it.

CHAP. XVI.

Miss Sindall has an interview with Robert. —A resolution she takes in consequence of it.

After a night of wakeful anxiety, she was called in the morning by Mrs. Boothby, who told her, that breakfast waited, as it was near the hour they proposed setting out on their jaunt. "Miss Venhurst, continued she, has sent to let you know, that she is prevented from calling here as she promised, but that she will meet us on the road." —"I am sorry," answered Lucy, with a counterfeited coolness, "that I should be forced to disappoint her in my turn; but I rested so ill last night, and my head akes so violently that I cannot possibly attend her." —"Not go!" exclaimed Mrs. Boothby; "why, my dear, you will disjoint the whole party; besides, I have not time to acquaint the Venhurst-family, and it will look so odd." —"It would look odder, said Lucy, if I should go abroad when I am really so very much indisposed." "Nay, if you are really so much indisposed," answered the other, "I will send our apology, late as it is." —"But you shall not stay at home to attend me," interrupted Lucy. "Indeed but I shall," replied Mrs. Boothby; "it was on your account only that I proposed going. Keep your chamber, and I will send you up some tea immediately." —And she left the room for that purpose.

Her attention indeed was but too vigilant for the scheme which Lucy had formed of examining Robert about that note she had found in her buroe; but accident at last furnished her with the opportunity she sought. Mrs. Boothby having left her, in order to preside at dinner, sent this very servant, with a plate of something to her patient above stairs. He would have delivered it to one of the maids at the door; but Lucy, hearing his voice, desired that he might come in, on pretence of talking to him about a young horse she had employed him to ride for her, and sending the maid on some errand, put the paper into his hand, and asked him if he was the person to whom she was endebted for a piece of information so momentous. The fellow blushed, and stammered, and seemed afraid to confess his kindness. "For God's sake, said Lucy, do not trifle with my misery; there is no time to lose in evasions; what do you know of sir Thomas's designs against me?" —"Why for certain, Madam, said he, servants should not blab their master's secrets; but your ladyship is so sweet a lady, that I could not bear to see you so deceived. Sir Thomas's valet de chamb is a chum of mine, and he told me, after having made me promise to keep it a profound secret, that his master designed to entice you on a party with Mrs. Boothby; that they were to stop at a solitary farm-house of his, and there sir Thomas"—"Forbear the shocking recital," cried Lucy. "To be sure it is shocking, said Robert, and so I said to Jem, when he told me; but he answered (your ladiship will forgive me for repeating his words) that it mattered not much; for she is nothing better, said he, than a beggarly foundling, whom my master and I picked up, one stormy night, on the road, near his hunting-place there at Hazleden; and, having taken a liking to the child, he brought her home to Mrs. Selwyn, pretending, that she was the daughter of a gentleman of his own name, a friend of his who died abroad; and his aunt, believing the story, brought her up for all the world like a lady, and left her forsooth a legacy at her death; but if all were as it should be, she would be following some draggle-tailed gipsy, instead of flaunting in her fineries here." —"Would that I were begging my bread, so I were but out of this frightful house." "I wish you were," said Robert simply, "for I fear there are more plots hatching against you than you are aware of: is not Mrs. Boothby's Sukey to sleep to-night in the room with your ladyship?" —"I consented, on Mrs. Boothby's importunity, that she should." —"Why then, continued he, I saw Jem carry a cast gown of Mrs. Boothby's, she had formerly given to Sukey, but which she asked back from the girl on pretence of taking a pattern from it, into his master's dressing-room; and when I asked him what he was doing with it there, he winked thus, and said it was for somebody to maskerade in to-night." "Gracious God! cried Lucy, whither shall I turn me? —Robert, if ever thou would'st find grace with heaven, pity a wretch that knows not where to look for protection!" —She had thrown herself on her knees before him. —"What can I do for your ladyship?" said he, raising her from the ground; "take me from this dreadful place," she exclaimed, holding by the sleeve of his coat, as if she feared his leaving her. "Alas! answered Robert, I cannot take you from it." —She stood for some moments rapt in thought, the fellow looking piteously in her face. "It will do," she cried, breaking from him, and running into her dressing-closet. "Look here, Robert, look here; could I not get, from this window, on the garden-wall, and so leap down into the outer court." —"But supposing your ladyship might, what would you do then?" —"Could not you procure me a horse?" — "Stay—there is one of the chaise-horses at grass in the paddock—do you know the road to Mrs. Wistanly's?" —"Mrs. Wistanly's!" —"For heaven's sake refuse not my request! you cannot be so cruel as to refuse it." "I would do much to serve your ladyship; but if they should discover us"—Talk not of if's," my dear Robert;—"but soft—I will manage it thus—no, that can't be either—the servants are in bed by eleven." "Before it, an't please your ladyship." "If you could contrive to have that horse saddled at the gate so soon as all is quiet within, I can get out and meet you." —"I don't know what to say to it"—Somebody from below cried, Robert—Lucy was down on her knees again—"Stay, I conjure you, and answer me." —"For God's sake, rise, said he, and do not debase yourself to a poor servant, as I am." "Never will I rise, till you promise to meet me at eleven." —"I will, I will, (and the tears gushed into his eyes) whatever be the consequence." —Sukey appeared at the door, calling, Robert, again;—he ran down stairs, Lucy followed him some steps insensibly, with her hands folded together in the attitude of supplication.

In the interval between this and the time of putting her scheme in execution, she suffered all that fear and suspence could inflict. She wished to see again the intended companion of her escape; but the consciousness of her purpose stopped her tongue, when she would have uttered some pretence for talking with him. At times her resolution was staggered by the thoughts of the perils attending her flight; but her imagination presently suggested the danger of her stay, and the dread of the greater evil became a fortitude against the less.

The hour of eleven at last arrived. Mrs. Boothby, whose attendance was afterwards to be supplied by that of her maid, had just bid her good-night, on her pretending an unusual drousiness, and promised to send up Sukey in a very little after. Lucy went into her dressing-closet, and fastening the door, got up on a chair at the window, which she had taken care to leave open some time before, and stepped out on the wall of the garden, which was broad enough a-top to admit of her walking along it. When she got as far as the gate, she saw, by the light of the moon, Robert standing at the place of appointment: he caught her in his arms when she leaped down. —"Why do you tremble so?" said she, her own lips quivering as she spoke. —"Is the horse ready?" "Here," answered Robert, stammering, "but"—"Get on, said Lucy, and let us away for heaven's sake!" — He seemed scarce able to mount the horse; she sprung from the ground on the pad behind him. "Does your ladyship think," said Robert faintly, "as they left the gate, of the danger you run?" —"There is no danger but within those hated walls." —"'Twill be a dreadful night"—(for it began to rain, and the thunder rolled at a distance). "Fear not, said she, we cannot miss our way" —"But if they should overtake us"— "They shall not, they shall not overtake us"—Robert answered with a deep sigh! —But they were now at some distance from the house, and striking out of the high-way into a lane, from the end of which a short road lay over a common to the village in which Mrs. Wistanly lived, they put on a very quick pace, and in a short time Lucy imagined herself pretty safe from pursuit.

CHAP. XVII.

Bolton sets out for Bilswood. —A recital of some accidents in his journey.

As I flatter myself that my readers feel some interest in the fate of Miss Sindall, I would not leave that part of my narration which regarded her, till I had brought it to the period of her escape. Having accompanied her thus far, I return to give some account of Mr. Bolton.

According to the promise he had made to Lucy, he set out for Bilswood, two days after the date of that letter she received from him by the hands of his gardener. That faithful fellow had orders to return, after delivering it, and on procuring what intelligence he could of the family, to wait his master, at a little inn, about five miles distant from sir Thomas Sindall's. The first part of his business the reader has seen him accomplish; as to the rest, he was only able to learn something, confusedly, of the baronet's attachment to Miss Lucy. He expected to have seen that young lady again on the day following that of their first interview; but her attention had been so much occupied, by the discoveries related in the two last chapters, and contriving the means of avoiding the danger with which she was threatened, that her promise to the bearer of Mr. Bolton's letter had escaped her memory. He set out therefore for the place of appointment on the evening of that day, and reached it but a very short time before his master arrived.

Bolton, having learned what particulars Jery could inform him of, desired him to return in the morning to his work in sir Thomas's garden, and remain there till he should receive farther orders; then leaving his horses and servants for fear of discovery, he set out on foot, in the garb of a peasant, which Jery had found means to procure him.

As he had passed several years of his life at Bilswood, he trusted implicitly to his own knowlege of the way; but soon after his leaving the inn the moon was totally darkened, and it rained with such violence, accompanied with incessant peals of thunder, that, in the confusion of the scene, he missed his path, and had wandered a great way over the adjacent common before he discovered his mistake. When he endeavoured to regain the road, he found himself entangled in a very thick brake of furze, which happened to lie on that side whence he had turned; and, after several fruitless efforts to make his way through it, he was obliged to desist from the attempt, and tread back the steps he had made, till he returned to the open part of the heath. Here he stood, uncertain what course to take; when he observed at a distance the twinkling of a light, which immediately determined him. On advancing somewhat nearer, he found a little winding track that seemed to point towards the place; and after following it some time, he could discern an object which he took for the house to which it led.

The lightning, which now flashed around him, discovered on each hand the earth raised into mounds that seemed graves of the dead, and here and there a bone lay moldering on the walk he trod. A few paces farther, through a narrow gothic door, gleamed a light, which faintly illuminated a length of vault within. To this Bolton approached, not without some degree of fear; when he perceived at the farther end a person, in a military uniform, sitting by a fire he had made of some withered brush-wood piled up against the wall. As Harry approached him, the echo of the place doubled the hollow found of his feet. —"Who is there?" cried the stranger, turning at the noise, and half-unsheathing a hanger which he wore at his side. "A friend," replied Harry, bowing, "who takes the liberty of begging a feat by your fire." "Your manner, said the other, belies your garb; but whoever you are, you are welcome to what shelter this roof can afford, and what warmth my fire can give. We are, for the time, joint lords of the mansion, for my title is no other than the inclemency of the night. It is such a one as makes even this gloomy shelter enviable; and that broken piece of mattock, and this flint, are precious, because they lighted some bits of dry straw, to kindle the flame that warms us. By the moss-grown altar, and the frequent figures of the cross, I suppose these the remains of some chapel devoted to ancient veneration. Sit down on this stone, if you please, sir, and our offering shall be a thankful heart over some humble fare which my knapsac contains." As he spoke, he pulled out a loaf of coarse bread, a piece of cheese, and a bottle of ale. Bolton expressed his thanks for the invitation, and partook of the repast. "I fear, sir," said his companion, "you will be poorly supped; but I have known what it is, to want even a crust of bread. —You look at me with surprize; but, though I am poor, I am honest." "Pardon me," answered Harry, "I entertain no suspicion; there is something that speaks for you in this bosom, and answers for your worth. It may be in my power to prevent, for the future, those hardships which, I fear, you have formerly endured." —The soldier held forth the bit of bread which he was putting to his mouth—"He, to whom this fare is luxury, can scarcely be dependant; yet my gratitude to you, sir, is equally due;—if I have felt misfortune, I have deserved it." —He sighed, and Harry answered him with a sigh. —"I see a sort of question in your face, sir; and, I know not why it is, there are some faces I cannot easily resist. If my story outlasts the storm, it will take from the irksomeness of its duration."

CHAP. XVIII.

The stranger relates the history of his life.

"It is now upwards of twenty years since I left my native country. You are too young, sir, to have gained much knowlege of mankind; let me warn you, from sad experience, to beware of those passions which at your age I was unable to resist, and which, in the commerce of the world, will find abundant occasion to overcome incautious and unexperienced youth. Start not when I tell you, that you see before you one whom the laws of his country had doomed to expiate his crimes by death, though from the mercy of his prince, that judgment was mitigated into a term of transportation some time ago elapsed. This punishment I incurred from the commission of a robbery, to which some particular circumstances, joined to the poverty consequent on dissipation and extravagance, had tempted me.

The master to whom my service was adjudged in the West-Indies, happened to die soon after my arrival there. I got my freedom therefore, though it was but to change it for a service as severe as my former; I was enlisted in a regiment then stationed in the island, and being considered as a felon, unworthy of any mild treatment, was constantly exposed to every hardship which the strictest duty, or the most continual exposure to the dangers of the climate, could inflict. Had I revealed my story, and taken advantage of that distinction which my birth and education would have made between the other convicts and me, it is probable I might have prevented most of the evils both of my former and present situation; but I set out, from the first, with a fixed determination, of suffering every part of my punishment, which the law allots to the meanest and most unfriended. All the severities, therefore, which were now imposed upon me, I bore without repining; and, from an excellent natural constitution, was not only able to overcome them, but they served to render me still more patient of fatigue, and less susceptible of impression from the vicissitudes of the weather; and from a sullen disregard of life, with which the remembrance of better days inspired me, my soul became as fearless as my body robust. These qualities made me be taken notice of by some of the officers in the regiment, and afterwards, when it was ordered to America, and went on some Indian expeditions, were still more serviceable and more attractive of observation. By these means I began to obliterate the disgrace which my situation at enlisting had fixed upon me; and, if still regarded as a ruffian, I was at least acknowleged to be a useful one. Not long after, on occasion of a piece of service I performed for an officer, on an advanced guard, that was attacked by a party of hostile Indians, I was promoted to a halbard. The stigma, however, of my transportation was not yet entirely forgotten, and by some it was the better remembered because of my present advancement. One of those, with whom I had never been on good terms, was particularly offended at being commanded, as he termed it, by a jail-bird; and one day, when I was on guard, had drawn, on the back of my coat, the picture of a gallows, on which was hung a figure in caricature, with the initials of my name written over it. This was an affront too gross to be tamely put up; having sought out the man, who did not deny the charge, I challenged him to give me satisfaction by fighting me. But this, from the opinion conceived of my strength and ferocity, he did not chuse to accept; on which I gave him so severe a drubbing, that he was unable to mount guard in his turn, and the surgeon reported that his life was in danger. For this offence I was tried by a court-martial, and sentenced to receive five hundred lashes as a punishment. When their sentence was communicated to me, I petitioned that it might be changed into death; but my request was refused. That very day, therefore, I received one hundred lashes, (for the sentence was to be executed at different periods) and next morning was to suffer as many more. The remainder however I resolved, if possible, to escape by an act of suicide. This I was only prevented from putting in execution by the want of opportunity; as I had been stripped of every the smallest weapon of offence, and was bound with ropes to one of the posts of my bed. I contrived, nevertheless, about midnight, to reach the fire-place with my feet, and having drawn out thence a live ember, disposed it immediately under the most combustible part of the bed. It had very soon the effect I desired; the room was set on fire, and I regained my liberty, by the ropes, with which I was tied, being burnt. At that moment the desire of life was rekindled by the possibility of escaping: the flames bursting out fiercely at one side of the house where I lay, the attention of the soldiers whom the fire had awaked, was principally turned to that quarter, and I had an opportunity of stealing off unperceived at the opposite side. We were then in a sort of wooden huts which had been built for our accommodation on the outside of one of our frontier-forts; so that, when I had run two or three hundred yards, I found myself in the shelter of a wood, pretty secure from pursuit; but, as there it was impossible for me long to subsist, and I had no chance of escaping detection if I ventured to approach the habitations of any of my countrymen, I formed the resolution of endeavoring to join the Indians, whose scouting parties I had frequently seen at a small distance from our out posts. I held therefore in a direction which I judged the most probable for falling in with them, and a very little after day-break discovered a party, seated after the manner of their country, in a ring, with the ashes of their newly-extinguished fire in the middle. I advanced slowly to the place, which I had almost reached before I was perceived. When they discovered me, they leaped up to their feet, and seizing their arms, screamed out the war-whoop, to alarm the different small parties who had passed the night in resting places near them. One of them presenting his piece, took aim at me; but I fell on my knees, showed them my defenceless state, and held out my hands, as if imploring their mercy and protection. Upon this one of the oldest among them made a sign to the rest, and advancing towards me, asked me, in broken French, mixed with his own language, of which too I understood something, what was my intention, and whence I came? I answered as distinctly as I could to these interrogatories; and showing the sores on my back, which I gave him to understand had been inflicted at the fort, made protestations, both by imperfect language and significant gestures, of my friendship to his countrymen and hatred to my own. After holding a moment's conversation with the rest, he took my hand, and, leading me a little forward, placed me in the midst of the party. Some of them examined me attentively, and upon some farther discourse together, brought the baggage, with which two prisoners, lately made from some adverse tribe, had been loaded, and laid it upon me. This burden, which to any man would have been oppressively heavy, you may believe, was much more intolerable to me, whose flesh was yet raw from the lashes I had received; but as I knew that fortitude was an indispensable virtue with the Indians, I bore it without wincing, and we proceeded on the rout which the party I had joined were destined to pursue. During the course of our first day's march, they often looked stedfastly in my face, to discover if I showed any signs of uneasiness. When they saw that I did not, they lightened my load by degrees, and at last, the senior chief, who had first taken notice of me, freed me from it altogether, and, at the same time, chewing some herbs he found in the wood, applied them to my sores, which in a few days were almost entirely healed. I was then entrusted with a tomahawk, and shortly after with a gun, to the dexterous use of both which weapons I was frequently exercised by the young men of our party, during the remainder of our expedition. It lasted some months, in which time I had also become tolerably acquainted with their language. At the end of this excursion, in which they warred on some other Indian nations, they returned to their own country, and were received with all the barbarous demonstrations of joy peculiar to that people. In a day or two after their arrival, their prisoners were brought forth into a large plain, where the kindred of those who had been slain by the nations to which the captives belonged, assembled to see them. Each singled out his expiatory prisoner, and having taken him home to his hut, such as chose that kind of satisfaction, adopted them in place of the relations they had lost; with the rest they returned to their former place of meeting, and began to celebrate the festival of their revenge. You can hardly conceive a species of inventive cruelty, which they did not inflict on the wretches whom fortune had thus put into their power; during the course of which, not a groan escaped from the sufferers; but while the use of their voices remained, they sung, in their rude, yet forcible manner, the glory of their former victories, and the pleasure they had received from the death of their foes; concluding always with the hopes of revenge from the surviving warriors of their nation. Nor was it only for the pleasure of the reflexion that they caroled thus the triumphs of the past; for I could observe, that, when at any time the rage of their tormentors seemed to subside, they poured forth those boastful strains in order to rekindle their fury, that intenseness of pain might not be wanting in the trial of their fortitude. I perceived the old man whom I have before mentioned, keep his eye fixed upon me during this inhuman solemnity; and frequently, when an extreme degree of torture was born with that calmness which I have described, he would point, with an expressive look, to him on whom it was inflicted, as if he had desired me to take particular notice of his resolution. I did not then fully comprehend the meaning of this; but I afterwards understood it to have been a preparatory hint of what I myself was to endure; for the next morning, after the last surviving prisoner had expired, I was seized by three or four Indians, who stripped me of what little cloaths I had then left, tied me in a horizontal posture between the branches of two large trees they had fixed in the ground, and, after the whole tribe had danced round me to the music of a barbarous howl, they began to react upon me, nearly the same scene they had been engaged in the day before. After each of a certain select number had stuck his knife into my body, though they carefully avoided any mortal wound, they rubbed it over, bleeding as it was, with gun-powder, the falts of which gave me the most exquisite pain. Nor did the ingenuity of these practised tormentors stop here; they afterwards laid quantities of dry gun-powder on different parts of my body, and set fire to them, by which I was burnt in some places to the bone. — But I see you shudder at the horrid recital; suffice it then to say, that these, and some other such experiments of wanton cruelty, I bore with that patience with which nothing but a life of hardship, and a certain obduracy of spirit, proceeding from a contempt of existence, could have endowed me.

"After this trial was over, I was loosed from my bonds, and set in the midst of a circle, who shouted the cry of victory, and my aged friend brought me a bowl of water, mixed with some spirits, to drink. He took me then home to his hut, and laid applications of different simples to my mangled body. When I was so well recovered as to be able to walk abroad, he called together certain elders of his tribe, and acknowleging me for his son, gave me a name, and fastened round my neck a belt of wampum. "It is thus, said he, that the valiant are tried, and thus are they rewarded; for how should'st thou be as one of us, if thy soul were as the soul of little men; he only is worthy to lift the hatchet with the Cherokees, to whom shame is more intolerable than the stab of the knife, or the burning of the fire."

CHAP. XIX.

A continuation of the stranger's story.

"In this society I lived till about a year and a half ago; and it may seem extraordinary to declare, yet it is certainly true, that during the life of the old man who had adopted me, even had there been no legal restraint on my return to my native country, scarce any inducement could have tempted me to leave the nation to which he belonged, except perhaps the desire of revisiting a parent, and a sister, whom I had left in England sunk beneath that ignominy, which the son and the brother had drawn on his guiltless connexions. When we consider the perfect freedom subsisting in this rude and simple state of society, where rule is only acknowleged for the purpose of immediate utility to those who obey, and ceases whenever that purpose of subordination is accomplished; where greatness cannot use oppression, nor wealth excite envy; where the desires are native to the heart, and the languor of satiety is unknown; where, if there is no refined sensation of delight, there is also no ideal source of calamity; we shall the less wonder at the inhabitants feeling no regret, for the want of those delicate pleasures which a more polished people are possessed of. Certain it is, that I am far from being a single instance, of one who had even attained maturity in Europe, and yet found his mind so accommodated, by the habit of a few years, to Indian manners, as to leave that country with regret. The death of my parent by adoption loosened, indeed, my attachment to it; that event happened a short time before my departure from America.

"The composure with which the old man met his dissolution, would have done honour to the firmest philosopher of antiquity. When he found himself near his end, he called me to him, to deliver some final instructions respecting my carriage to his countrymen; he observed, at the close of his discourse, that I retained so much of the European as to shed some tears, while he delivered it. "In those tears, said he, there is no wisdom, for there is no use; I have heard that, in your country, men prepare for death, by thinking on it while they live; this also is folly, because it loses the good, by anticipating the evil: we do otherwise, my son, as our fathers have better instructed us, and take from the evil by reflecting on the good. I have lived a thousand moons, without captivity, and without disgrace; in my youth I did not fly in battle, and in age, the tribes listened while I spake. If I live in another land after death, I shall remember these things with pleasure; if the present is our only life, to have done thus is to have used it well. You have sometimes told me of your countrymen's account of a land of souls; but you were a young man when you came among us, and the cunning among them may have deceived you; for the children of the French king call themselves after the same God that the English do; yet their discourses concerning him cannot be true, because they are opposite one to another. Each says, that God shall burn the others with fire; which could not happen if both were his children. Besides, neither of them act as the sons of Truth, but as the sons of deceit; they say their God heareth all things, yet do they break the promises which they have called upon him to hear; but we know that the spirit within us listeneth, and what we have said in its hearing, that we do. If in another country the soul liveth, this witness shall live with it; whom it hath here reproached, it shall there disquiet; whom it hath here honoured, it shall there reward. Live, therefore, my son, as your father hath lived; and die, as he dieth, fearless of death."

"With such sentiments the old man resigned his breath, and I blushed for the life of Christians, while I heard them.

"I was now become an independant member of the community; and my behaviour had been such, that I succeeded to the condition of my father, with the respect of a people, amongst whom honour is attainable only by merit. But his death had dissolved that tie which gratitude, and indeed affection for the old man, had on my heart; and the scene of his death naturally awakened in me the remembrance of a father in England, whose age might now be helpless, and call for the aid of a long-lost son to solace and support it. This idea, once roused, became every day more powerful, and at last I resolved to communicate it to the tribe, and tell them my purpose of returning home.

"They heard me without surprize or emotion; as indeed it is their great characteristic not to be easily awakened to either. "You return, said one of the elders, to a people, who sell affection to their brethren for money; take therefore with you some of the commodities which their traders value. Strength, agility, and fortitude, are sufficient to us; but with them they are of little use; and he who possesses wealth, having no need of virtue, among the wealthy it will not be found. The last your father taught you, and amongst us you have practised; the first he had not to leave, nor have we to bestow; but take as many beaver-skins as you can carry on your journey, that they may reach that parent whom, you tell us, you go to cherish."

"I returned thanks to the old man for his counsel, and to the whole tribe for their kindness; and having, according to his advice, taken a few of the furs they offered me, I resumed the tattered remains of the European dress which I had on when I escaped from the fort, and took the nearest road to one of our back-settlements, which I reached, without any accident, by the assistance of an Indian who had long shown a particular attachment to me, and who now attended me on my way. "Yonder smoke," said my conductor, "rises from the dwellings of your countrymen. You now return to a world which I have heard you describe as full of calamity; but the soul you possess is the soul of a man; remember that to fortitude there is no sting in adversity, and in death no evil to the valiant."

"When he left me, I stood for some minutes, looking back, on one hand, to the wilds I had passed, and on the other, to the scenes of cultivation which European industry had formed; and it may surprize you to hear, that, though there wanted not some rekindling attachment to a people amongst whom my first breath had been drawn, and my youth spent, yet my imagination drew, on this side, fraud, hypocrisy, and sordid baseness; while on that seemed to preside honesty, truth, and savage nobleness of soul.

"When I appeared at the door of one of the houses in the settlement that was nearest me, I was immediately accosted by its master, who, judging from the bundle of furs which I carried, that I had been trading among the Indians, asked me, with much kindness, to take up my lodging with him. Of this offer I was very glad to accept, though I found a scarcity of words to thank my countryman for his favour; as, from want of use, my remembrance of the English language had been so much effaced, as not only to repress fluency, but even to prevent an ordinary command of expression; and I was more especially at a loss for ceremonious phraseology, that department of language being unknown in the country whence I was just returned. My landlord was not a little astonished, when I could at last make shift to inform him of my having passed so many years among the Indians. He asked a thousand questions about customs which never existed, and told me of a multitude of things, of which all the time I had lived in that country, I had never dreamed the possibility. Indeed, from the superiority of his expression, joined to that fund of supposed knowlege which it served to communicate, a by-stander would have been led to imagine, that he was describing, to some ignorant guest, a country with whose manners he had been long conversant, and among whose inhabitants he had passed the greatest part of his life. At length, however, his discourse centered upon the fur-trade, and naturally glided from that to an offer of purchasing my beaver-skins. These things, I was informed by my courteous entertainer, had fallen so much in their price of late, that the traders could hardly defray their journey in procuring them; that himself had lost by some late bargains in that way; but that, to oblige a stranger, the singularity of whose adventures had interested him in his behalf, he would give me the highest price at which he had heard of their being sold for a long time past. This I accepted without hesitation, as I had neither language nor inclination for haggling, and having procured as much money by the bargain as, I imagined, would more than carry me to a sea-port, I proceeded on my journey, accompanied by an inhabitant of Williamsburg, who was returning from an annual visit, to a settlement on the back-frontiers, which he had purchased in partnership with another, who constantly resided upon it. He seemed to be naturally of an inquisitive disposition; and having learned from my former landlord, that I had lived several years with the Indians, tormented me, all the while our journey lasted, with interrogatories concerning their country and manners. But, as he was less opinionative of his own knowlege in the matter than my last English acquaintance, I was the more easily prevailed on to satisfy his curiosity, though at the expence of a greater number of words than I could conveniently spare; and, at last, he made himself entirely master of my story, from the time of my leaving the regiment in which I had served, down to the day on which I delivered my recital. When I mentioned my having sold my beaver-skins for a certain sum, he started aside, and then lifting up his eyes in an ejaculatory manner, expressed his astonishment how a Christian could be guilty of such monstrous dishonesty, which, he said, was no better than one would have expected in a Savage; for that my skins were worth at least three times the money. I smiled at his notions of comparative morality, and bore the intelligence with a calmness, that seemed to move his admiration. He thanked God that all were not so ready to take advantage of ignorance or misfortune, and cordially grasping my hand, begged me to make his house at Williamsburg my own, till such time as I could procure my passage to England."

CHAP. XX.

Conclusion of the Stranger's story.

"Pursuant to this friendly invitation, I accompanied him to his house on our arrival in that place. For some days my landlord behaved to me in the most friendly manner, and furnished me, of his own accord, with linen and wearing apparel; several articles of which, though necessaries in the polished society of those amongst whom I now resided, my ideas of Indian simplicity made me consider superfluous.

"During this time I frequently attended him at his store, while he was receiving consignments of goods, and assisted him and his servants in the disposal and assortment of them. At first he received this assistance as a favor; but I could observe that he soon began to look upon it as a matter of right, and called me to bear a hand, as he termed it, in a manner rather too peremptory for my pride to submit to. At last, when he ventured to tax me with some office of menial servility, I told him, I did not consider myself his dependant any farther than gratitude for his favors demanded, and refused to perform it. Upon which he let me know, that he looked upon me as his servant, and that, if I did not immediately obey his command, he would find a way to be revenged of me. This declaration heightened my resentment, and confirmed my refusal. I desired him to give me an account of what money he had expended, in those articles with which he had supplied me, that I might pay him out of the small sum I had in my possession, and, if that was not sufficient, I would rather sell my new habiliments, and return to my rags, than be endebted for a farthing to his generosity. He answered, that he would clear accounts with me by and by. He did so, by making oath before a magistrate, that I was a deserter from his majesty's service, and, according to my own confession, had associated with the savages, enemies of the province. As I could deny neither of those charges, I was thrown into prison, where I should have been in danger of starving, had not the curiosity of some of the townsfolks induced them to visit me, when they commonly contributed some trifle towards my support; till at length, partly, I suppose, from the abatement of my accuser's anger, and partly from the flagrancy of detaining me in prison without any provision for my maintenance, I was suffered to be enlarged; and a vessel being then ready to sail for England, several of whose hands had deserted her, the master agreed to take me on board for the consideration of my working the voyage. For this indeed I was not in the least qualified as to skill; but my strength and perseverance made up, in some operations, for the want of it.

"As this was before the end of the war, the ship in which I sailed happened to be taken by a French privateer, who carried her into Brest. This, to me, who had already anticipated my arrival at home, to comfort the declining age of a parent, was the most mortifying accident of any I had hitherto met with; but the captain and some passengers who were aboard of us, seemed to make light of their misfortune. The ship was ensured, so that in property the owners could suffer little; as for ourselves, said they, the French are the politest enemies in the world, and, till we are exchanged, will treat us with that civil demeanor, so peculiar to their nation. We are not (addressing themselves to me) among savages, as you were. —How it fared with them, I know not; I and other inferior members of the crew, were thrust into a dungeon, dark, damp, and loathsome; where, from the number confined in it, and the want of proper circulation, the air became putrid to the most horrible degree; and the allowance for our provision was not equal to two-pence a day. To hard living I could well enough submit, who had been frequently accustomed, among the Cherokees, to subsist three or four days on a stalk of Indian corn moistened in the first brook I lighted on; but the want of air and exercise I could not so easily endure. I lost the use of my limbs, and lay motionless on my back, in a corner of the hole we were confined in, covered with vermin, and supported, in that wretched state, only by the infrequent humanity of some sailor, who crammed my mouth with a bit of his brown bread, softened in stinking water. The natural vigor of my constitution, however, bore up against this complicated misery, till, upon the conclusion of the peace, we regained our freedom. But when I was set at liberty, I had not strength to enjoy it; and after my companions were gone, was obliged to crawl several weeks about the streets of Brest, where the charity of some well-disposed Frenchmen bestowed now and then a trifle upon the pauvre sauvage, as I was called, till I recovered the exercise of my limbs, and was able to work my passage in a Dutch merchant-ship bound for England. The mate of this vessel happened to be a Scotchman, who, hearing me speak the language of Britain, and having enquired into the particulars of my story, humanely attached himself to my service, and made my situation much more comfortable than any I had for some time experienced. We sailed from Brest with a fair wind, but had not been long at sea till it shifted, and blew pretty fresh at East, so that we were kept for several days beating up the Channel; at the end of which it encreased to so violent a degree, that it was impossible for us to hold a course, and the ship was suffered to scud before the storm. At the close of the second day, the wind suddenly chopp'd about into a westerly point, though without any abatement of its violence; and very soon after day-break of the third, we were driving on the southwest coast of England, right to the leeward. The consternation of the crew became now so great, that if any expedient had remained to save us, it would have scarce allowed them to put it in practice. The mate, who seemed to be the ablest sailor on board, exhorted them at least to endeavor running the ship into a bay, which opened a little on our starboard-quarter, where the shore was flat and sandy; comforting them with the reflexion, that they should be cast on friendly ground, and not among savages. His advice and encouragement had the desired effect; and notwithstanding the perils with which I saw myself surrounded, I looked with a gleam of satisfaction on the coast of my native land, which for so many years I had not seen. Unfortunately a ridge of rocks ran almost across the bason into which, with infinite labor, we were directing our course; and the ship struck upon them, about the distance of half a league from the shore. All was now uproar and confusion. The long-boat was lanched by some of the crew, who, with the captain, got immediately into her, and brandishing their long knives, threatened with instant death any who should attempt to follow them, as she was already loaded beyond her burden. Indeed there remained at this time in the ship only two sailors, the mate, and myself; the first were washed overboard while they hung on the ship's side attempting to leap into the boat, and we saw them no more; nor had their hard-hearted companions a better fate; they had scarcely rowed a cable's length from the ship, when the boat overset, and every one on board her perished. There now remained only my friend the mate, and I, who, consulting a moment together, agreed to keep by the ship till she should split, and endeavour to save ourselves on some broken plank which the storm might drive on shore. We had just time to come to this resolution, when, by the violence of a wave that broke over the ship, her main-mast went by the board, and we were swept off the deck at the same instant. My companion could not swim; but I had been taught that art by my Indian friends to the greatest degree of expertness. I was therefore more uneasy about the honest Scotchman's fate than my own, and quitting the mast, of which I had caught hold on its fall, swam to the place where he first rose to the surface, and catching him by the hair, held his head tolerably above water, till he was able so far to recollect himself, as to cling by a part of the shrouds of our floating main-mast, to which I bore him. In our passage to the shore on this slender float, he was several times obliged to quit his hold, from his strength's being exhausted; but I was always so fortunate as to be able to replace him in his former situation, till, at last, we were thrown upon the beach, near to the bottom of that bay at the mouth of which our ship had struck. I was not so much spent by my fatigue, but that I was able to draw the mate safe out of the water, and advancing to a croud of people whom I saw assembled near us, began to entreat their assistance for him in very pathetic terms; when, to my utter astonishment, one of them struck at me with a bludgeon, while another making up to my fellow-sufferer, would have beat out his brains with a stone, if I had not run up nimbly behind him, and dash'd it from his uplifted hand. This man happened to be armed with a hanger, which he instantly drew, and made a furious stroke at my head. I parried his blow with my arm, and, at the same time, seizing his wrist, gave it so sudden a wrench, that the weapon dropped to the ground. I instantly possessed myself of it, and stood astride my companion with the aspect of an angry lioness guarding her young from the hunter. The appearance of strength and fierceness which my figure exhibited, kept my enemies a little at bay, when fortunately we saw advancing a body of soldiers, headed by an officer, whom a gentleman of humanity in the neighbourhood had prevailed on to march to the place for the preservation of any of the crew whom the storm might spare, or any part of the cargo that might chance to be thrown ashore. At sight of this detachment the croud dispersed, and left me master of the field. The officer very humanely took charge of my companion and me, brought us to his quarters in the neighbourhood, and accommodated me with these very cloaths which I now have on. From him I learned, that those Englishmen, who (as our mate by way of comfort observed) were not savages, had the idea transmitted them from their fathers, that all wrecks became their property by the immediate hand of God; and, as in their apprehension, that denomination belonged only to ships from which there landed no living thing, their hostile endeavors against the Scotchman's life and mine, proceeded from a desire of bringing our vessel into that supposed condition.

"After having weathered so many successive disasters, I am at last arrived near the place of my nativity; fain would I hope, that a parent and a sister, whose tender remembrance, mingled with that of happier days, now rushes on my soul, are yet alive to pardon the wanderings of my youth, and receive me after those hardships to which its ungoverned passions have subjected me. Like the prodigal son, I bring no worldly wealth along with me; but I return with a mind conscious of its former errors, and seeking that peace which they destroyed. To have used prosperity well, is the first favored lot of heaven; the next is his, whom adversity has not smitten in vain."

CHAP. XXI.

Bolton and his companion meet with an uncommon adventure.

When the stranger had finished his narration, Bolton expressed, in very strong terms, his compassion for the hardships he had suffered. "I do not wish, said he, to be the prophet of evil; but if it should happen, that your expectations of the comfort your native country is to afford you be disappointed, it will give me the truest pleasure to shelter a head on which so many vicissitudes have beat, under that roof of which Providence has made me master." —He was interrupted by the trampling of horses at a distance; his fears, wakeful at this time, were immediately roused; the stranger observed his confusion. "You seem uneasy, sir, said he; but they are not the retreats of houseless poverty like this, that violence and rapine are wont to attack." —"You mistake," (answered Harry, who was now standing at the door of the chapel,) "the ground of my alarm; at present I have a particular reason for my fears, which is nearer to me than my own personal safety." He listened;—the noise grew fainter; but he marked by the light of the moon, which now shone out again, the direction whence it seemed to proceed, which was over an open part of the common. "They are gone this way," he cried, with an eagerness of look, grasping one of the knotty branches which the soldier's fire had spared. "If there is danger in your way," said his companion, "you shall not meet it alone." They sallied forth together.

They had not proceeded above a quarter of a mile, when they perceived, at a distance, the twinkling of lights in motion: their pace was quickened at the sight; but in a few minutes those were extinguished, the moon was darkened by another cloud, and the wind began to howl again. They advanced however on the line in which they imagined the lights to have appeared, when, in one of the pauses of the storm, they heard shrieks, in a female voice, that seemed to proceed from some place but a little way off. They rushed forward in the direction of the sound, till they were stopped by a pretty high wall. Having made shift to scramble over this, they found themselves in the garden belonging to a low-built house, from one of the windows of which, they saw the glimmer of a candle through the openings of the shutters; but the voice had ceased, and all was silent within. Bolton knocked at the door, but received no answer; when suddenly, the screaming was repeated with more violence than before. He and his companion now threw themselves with so much force against the door, as to burst it open. They rushed into the room whence the noise proceeded; when the first object that presented itself to Bolton was Miss Sindall on her knees, her cloaths torn, and her hair dishevelled, with two servants holding her arms, imploring mercy of sir Thomas, who was calling out in a furious tone, "Damn your pity, rascals, carry her to bed by force." —"Turn, villain, cried Harry, turn, and defend yourself." Sindall started at the well-known voice, and pulling out a pistol, fired it within a few feet of the other's face; he missed, and Bolton pushed forward to close with him; when one of the servants, quitting Miss Sindall, threw himself between him and his master, and made a blow at his head with the but end of a hunting-whip; this Harry catched on his stick, and in the return, levelled the fellow with the ground. His master now fired another pistol, which would have probably taken more effect than the former, had not Bolton's new acquaintance struck up the muzzle just as it went off, the ball going through a window at Harry's back. The baronet had his sword now drawn in the other hand, and, changing the object of his attack, he made a furious pass at the soldier, who parried it with his hanger. At the second lounge, sir Thomas's violence threw him on the point of his adversary's weapon, which entered his body a little below the breast. He staggered a few paces backwards, and clapping one hand on the place, leaned with the other on a table that stood behind him, and cried out, that he was a dead man. "My God! exclaimed the stranger, are not you sir Thomas Sindall?" —"Sir Thomas Sindall!" cried a woman, who now entered, half-dressed, with the mistress of the house, "It is, it is sir Thomas Sindall," said the landlady, "for God's sake do his honour no hurt." "I hope," continued the other, with a look of earnest wildness, "you have not been a-bed with that young lady?" —She waited not a reply —"for, as sure as there is a God in heaven, she is your own daughter." —Her hearers stood aghast as she spoke! —Sindall stared wildly for a moment, then, giving a deep groan, fell senseless at the feet of the soldier, who had sprung forward to support him. What assistance the amazement of those about him could allow, he received; and, in a short time, began to recover; but as he revived, his wound bled with more violence than before. A servant was instantly dispatched for a surgeon; in the mean time the soldier procured some lint, and gave it a temporary dressing. He was now raised from the ground, and supported in an elbow chair; he bent his eyes fixedly on the woman: "Speak, said he, while I have life to hear thee." On the faces of her audience sat astonishment, suspence, and expectation; and a chilly silence prevailed, while she delivered the following recital.

CHAP. XXII.

A prosecution of the discovery mentioned in the last chapter.

"I have been a wicked woman; may God and this lady forgive me! but heaven is my witness, that I was thus far on my way to confess all to your honour, (turning to sir Thomas Sindall) that I might have peace in my mind before I died.

"You will remember, sir, that this young lady's mother was delivered of her at the house of one of your tenants, where Mr. Camplin (I think that was his name,) brought her for that purpose. I was entrusted with the charge of her as her nurse, along with some trinkets, such as young children are in use to have, and a considerable sum of money, to provide any other necessaries she should want. At that very time I had been drawn in to associate with a gang of pilfering vagrants, whose stolen goods I had often received into my house, and helped to dispose of. Fearing, therefore, that I might one day be brought to an account for my past offences, if I remained where I was, and having at the same time the temptation of such a booty before me, I formed a scheme for making off with the money and trinkets I had got from Mr. Camplin: it was, to make things appear as if my charge and I had been lost in crossing the river, which then happened to be in stood. For this purpose, I daubed my own cloak, and the infant's wrapper, with mud and sleech, and left them close to the overflow of the stream, a little below the common ford. With shame I confess it, as I have often since thought on it with horror, I was more than once tempted to drown the child, that she might not be a burden to me in my flight; but she looked so innocent and sweet, while she clasped my fingers in her little hand, that I had not the heart to execute my purpose.

"Having endeavoured in this manner to account for my disappearing, so as to prevent all farther enquiry, I joined a party of those wretches, whose associate I had some time been, and left that part of the country altogether. By their assistance too, I was put on a method of disguising my face so much, that had any of my acquaintance met me, of which there was very little chance, it would have been scarce possible for them to recollect it. My booty was put into the common stock, and the child was found useful to raise compassion when we went a-begging, which was one part of the occupation we followed.

"After I had continued in this society the best part of a year, during which time we met with various turns of fortune, a scheme was formed by the remaining part of us (for several of my companions had been banished, or confined to hard labour in the interval) to break into the house of a wealthy farmer, who, we understood, had a few days before received a large sum of money on a bargain for the lease of an estate, which the proprietor had redeemed. Our project was executed with success; but a quarrel arising about the distribution of the spoil, one of the gang deserted, and informed a neighbouring justice of the whole transaction, and the places of our retreat. I happened to be a-fortunetelling in this gentleman's house, when his informer came to make the discovery; and, being closetted with one of the maid-servants, overheard him enquiring for the justice, and desiring to have some conversation with him in private. I immediately suspected his design, and having got out of the house, eluded pursuit by my knowlege in the by-paths and private roads of the country. It immediately occurred to me to disburden myself of the child, as she not only retarded my flight, but was a mark by which I might be discovered: but, abandoned as I had then become, I found myself attached to her by that sort of affection which women conceive for the infants they suckle. I would not, therefore, expose her in any of those unfrequented places through which I passed in my flight, where her death must have been the certain consequence; and, two or three times, when I would have dropped her at some farmer's door, I was prevented by the fear of discovery. At last I happened to meet with your honour. You may recollect, sir, that the same night on which this lady, then an infant, was found, a beggar asked alms of you at a farrier's door, where you stopped to have one of your horses' shoes fastened. I was that beggar, and hearing from a boy who held your horse, that your name was sir Thomas Sindall, and that you were returning to a hunting-seat you had in the neighbourhood, I left the infant on a narrow part of the road a little way before you, where it was impossible you should miss of finding her, and stood at the back of a hedge to observe your behaviour when you came up. I saw you make your servant pick up the child, and place her on the saddle before him. Then, having, as I thought, sufficiently provided for her, by thus throwing her under the protection of her father, I made off as fast as I could, and continued my flight, till I imagined I was out of the reach of detection. But, being some time after apprehended on suspicion, and not able to give a good account of myself, I was advertised in the papers, and discovered to have been an accomplice in committing that robbery I mentioned, for which some of the gang had been already condemned and executed. I was tried for the crime, and was cast for transportation. Before I was put on board the ship that was to carry me and several others abroad, I wrote a few lines to your honour, acquainting you with the circumstances of my behaviour towards your daughter; but this, I suppose, as it was entrusted to a boy who used to go on errands for the prisoners, has never come to your hands. Not long ago I returned from transportation, and betook myself to my old course of life again. But I happened to be seized with the small-pox, that raged in a village I passed through; and, partly from the violence of the distemper, partly from the want of proper care in the first stages of it, was brought so low, that a physician, whose humanity induced him to visit me, gave me over for lost. I found that the terrors of death on a sick-bed had more effect on my conscience than all the hardships I had formerly undergone, and I began to look back with the keenest remorse on a life so spent as mine had been. It pleased God, however, that I should recover, and I have since endeavoured to make some reparation for my past offences by my penitence.

"Amongst other things, I often reflected on what I had done with regard to your child; and being some days ago accidentally near Sindall-Park, I went thither, and tried to learn something of what had befallen her. I understood, from some of the neighbours, that a young lady had been brought up from her infancy with your aunt, and was said to be the daughter of a friend of yours, who had committed her to your care at his death. But, upon enquiring into the time of her being brought to your house, I was persuaded that she must be the same I had conjectured, imputing the story of her being another's, to your desire of concealing that she was yours, which I imagined you had learned from the letter I wrote before my transportation; till, meeting, at a house of entertainment, with a servant of your honour's, he informed me, in the course of our conversation, that it was reported you were going to be married to the young lady who had lived so long in your family. On hearing this I was confounded, and did not know what to think; but, when I began to fear that my letter had never reached you, I trembled at the thought of what my wickedness might occasion, and could have no ease in my mind, till I should set out for Bilswood to confess the whole affair to your honour. I was to-night overtaken by the storm near to this house, and prevailed on the landlady, though it seemed much against her inclination, to permit me to take up my quarters here. About half an hour ago I was waked with the shrieks of some person in distress, and upon asking the landlady, who lay in the same room with me, what was the matter, she bid me be quiet and say nothing; for it was only a worthy gentleman of her acquaintance, who had overtaken a young girl, a foundling he had bred up, that had stolen a sum of money from his house, and run away with one of his footmen. At the word foundling, I felt a kind of something I cannot describe, and I was terrified when I overheard some part of your discourse, and guessed what your intentions were; I rose, therefore, in spite of the landlady, and had got thus far dressed, when we heard the door burst open, and presently a noise of fighting above stairs. Upon this we ran up together, and to what has happened since, this company has been witness."

CHAP. XXIII.

Miss Sindall discovers another relation.

It is not easy to describe the sensations of Sindall or Lucy, when the secret of her birth was unfolded. In the countenance of the last were mingled the indications of fear and pity, joy and wonder; while her father, turned upon her an eye of tenderness chastened with shame. "Oh! thou injured innocence! said he, for I know not how to call thee child, canst thou forgive those—Good God! Bolton, from what hast thou saved me!" Lucy was now kneeling at his feet. —"Talk not, sir, said she, of the errors of the past; methinks I look on it as some horrid dream, which it dizzies my head to recollect. My father! —Gracious God! have I a father! —I cannot speak; but there are a thousand things that beat here!—is there another parent to whom I should also kneel?" Sir Thomas cast up a look to heaven, and his groans stopped, for a while, his utterance. —"Oh! Harriet! if thou art now an angel of Mercy, look down and forgive the wretch that murdered thee!" —"Harriet!" exclaimed the soldier, starting at the sound, "what Harriet? what Harriet?" Sindall looked earnestly in his face—"Oh! heavens! he cried, art thou?—sure thou art! — Annesly!—look not, look not on me— thy sister—but I shall not live for thy upbraidings—thy sister was the mother of my child! —Thy father—to what does this moment of reflexion reduce me!— thy father fell with his daughter, the victims of that villany which overcame her innocence!" Annesly looked sternly upon him, and anger for a moment enflamed his cheeks; but it gave way to softer feelings—"What, both! both!"—and he burst into tears.

Bolton now stepped up to this new-acquired friend. "I am, said he, comparatively, but a spectator of this fateful scene; let me endeavour to comfort the distress of the innocent, and alleviate the pangs of the guilty. In sir Thomas Sindall's present condition, resentment would be injustice. See here, my friend, (pointing to Lucy) a mediatrix, who forgets the man in the father." Annesly gazed upon her. "She is, she is, he cried, the daughter of my Harriet;—that eye, that lip, that look of sorrow!" He flung himself on her neck; Bolton look'd on them enraptur'd; and even the languor of Sindall's face, was cross'd with a gleam of momentary pleasure!

Sir Thomas's servant now arrived accompanied by a surgeon, who upon examining and dressing his wound, was of opinion, that in itself it had not the appearance of imminent danger, but that from the state of his pulse he was apprehensive of a supervening fever. He ordered him to be put to bed, and his room to be kept as quiet as possible. As this gentleman was an acquaintance of Bolton's, the latter informed him of the state in which sir Thomas's mind must be from the discoveries that the preceding hour had made to him. Upon which the surgeon begged that he might, for the present, avoid seeing Miss Sindall or Mr. Annesly, or talking with any one on the subject of those discoveries; but he could not prevent the intrusion of thought; and not many hours after, his patient fell into a roving sort of slumber, in which he would often start, and mutter the words Harriet, Lucy, Murder, and Incest.

Bolton and Lucy now enjoyed one of those luxurious interviews, which absence, and hardships during that absence, procure to souls formed for each other. She related to him all her past distresses, of which my readers have been already informed, and added the account of that night's event, part of which only they have heard. Herself indeed was not then mistress of it all; the story at large was this:

The servant, whose attachment to her I have formerly mentioned, had been discovered, in that conference which produced her resolution of leaving Bilswood, by Mrs. Boothby's maid, who immediately communicated to her mistress her suspicions of the plot going forward between Miss Sindall and Robert. Upon this the latter was severely interrogated by his master, and being confronted with Sukey, who repeated the words she had overheard of the young lady and him, he confessed her intention of escaping by his assistance. Sir Thomas, drawing his sword, threatened to put him instantly to death, if he did not expiate his treachery by obeying implicitly the instructions he should then receive; these were, to have the horse saddled at the hour agreed on, and to proceed, without revealing to Miss Sindall the confession he had made, on the road which sir Thomas now marked out for him. With this, after the most horrid denunciations of vengeance in case of a refusal, the poor fellow was fain to comply; and hence his terror, when they were leaving the house. They had proceeded but just so far on their way, as sir Thomas thought proper for the accomplishment of his design, when he, with his valet de chambre, and another servant, who were confidants of their master's pleasures, made up to them, and after pretending to upbraid Lucy for the imprudence and treachery of her flight, he carried her to this house of one of those profligate dependants, whom his vices had made necessary on his estate.

When she came to the close of this recital, the idea of that relation in which she stood to him from whom these outrages were suffered, stopped her tongue; she blushed and faltered. "This story, said she, I will now forget for ever—except to remember that gratitude which I owe to you." During the vicissitudes of her narration, he had clasped her hand with a fearful earnestness, as if he had shared the dangers she related; he pressed it to his lips. —"Amidst my Lucy's present momentous concerns, I would not intrude my own; but I am selfish in the little services she acknowleges; I look for a return." —She blushed again—"I have but little art, said she, and cannot disguise my sentiments; my Henry will trust them on a subject, which at present I know his delicacy will forbear."

Annesly now entered the room, and Bolton communicated the trust he was possessed of in his behalf, offering to put him in immediate possession of the sum which Mr. Rawlinson had bequeathed to his management, and which that gentleman had more than doubled since the time it had been left by Annesly's unfortunate father. "I know not, said Annesly, how to talk of those matters, unacquainted as I have been, with the manners of polished and commercial nations. When I have any particular purpose to apply money to, I will demand your assistance; in the mean time, consider me as a minor, and use the trust already reposed in you, for my advantage, and the advantage of those whom misfortune has allied to me."

CHAP. XXIV.

Sir Thomas's situation. —The expression of his penitence.

Next morning, Sindall, by the advice of his surgeon, was removed in a litter to his own house, where he was soon after attended by an eminent physician in aid of that gentleman's abilities. Pursuant to his earnest entreaties, he was accompanied thither by Annesly and Bolton. Lucy, having obtained leave of his medical attendants, watched her father in the character of his nurse.

They found on their arrival that Mrs. Boothby, having learned the revolutions of the preceding night, had left the place, and taken the road towards London. "I think not of her, said sir Thomas; but there is another person, whom my former conduct banished from my house, whom I now wish to see in this assemblage of her friends, the worthy Mrs. Wistanly." Lucy undertook to write her an account of her situation, and to sollicit her compliance with the request of her father. The old lady, who had still strength and activity enough left for doing good, accepted the invitation; and the day following she was with them at Bilswood.

Sir Thomas seemed to feel a sort of melancholy satisfaction in having this company of those he had injured assembled under his roof. When he was told of Mrs. Wistanly's arrival, he desired to see her, and taking her hand, "I have sent for you, madam, said he, that you may help me to unload my soul of the remembrance of the past." He then confessed to her that plan of seduction by which he had overcome the virtue of Annesly, and the honor of his sister. "You were a witness, he concluded; of the fall of that worth and innocence which it was in the power of my former crimes to destroy; you are now come to behold the retribution of heaven on the guilty. By that hand, whom it commissioned to avenge a parent and a sister, I am cut off in the midst of my days." "I hope not, sir, answered she; your life, I trust, will make a better expiation. In the punishments of the divinity there is no idea of vengeance; and the infliction of what we term evil, serves equally the purpose of universal benignity, with the dispensation of good." "I feel, replied sir Thomas, the force of that observation: the pain of this wound; the presentiment of death which it instils; the horror with which the recollection of my incestuous passion strikes me; all these are in the catalogue of my blessings. They indeed take from me the world; but they give me myself."

A visit from his physician interrupted their discourse; that gentleman did not prognosticate so fatally for his patient; he found the frequency of his pulse considerably abated, and expressed his hopes, that the succeeding night, his rest would be better than it had been. In this he was not mistaken; and next morning the doctor continued to think sir Thomas mending; but himself persisted in the belief that he should not recover.

For several days, however, he appeared rather to gain ground than to lose it; but afterwards he was seized with hectic fits at stated intervals, and when they left him, he complained of a universal weakness and depression. During all this time Lucy was seldom away from his bed-side: from her presence he derived peculiar pleasure; and sometimes when he was so low as to be scarce able to speak, would mutter out blessings on her head, calling her his saint, his guardian-angel!

After he had exhausted all the powers of medicine, under the direction of some of the ablest of the faculty, they acknowleged all farther assistance to be vain, and one of them warned him, in a friendly manner, of his approaching end. He received this intelligence with the utmost composure, as an event which he had expected from the beginning, thanked the physician for his candor, and desired that his friends might be summoned around him, while he had yet strength enough left to bid them adieu.

When he saw them assembled, he delivered into Bolton's hands a paper, which he told him was his will. "To this, said he, I would not have any of those privy, who are interested in its bequests; and therefore I had it executed at the beginning of my illness, without their participation. You will find yourself, my dear Harry, master of my fortune, under a condition, which, I believe, you will not esteem a hardship. Give me your hand; let me join it to my Lucy's;—there!— if heaven receives the prayer of a penitent, it will pour its richest blessings upon you.

"There are a few provisions in that paper, which Mr. Bolton, I know, will find a pleasure in fulfilling. Of what I have bequeathed to you, Mrs. Wistanly, the contentment you enjoy in your present situation makes you independant; but I intend it as an evidence of my consciousness of your deserving. —My much injured friend, for he was once my friend, (addressing himself to Annesly) will accept of the memorial I have left him. —Give me your hand, sir; I receive my forgiveness from that wound which the arm of providence made me provoke from yours; and when you look on a parent's and a sister's tomb, spare the memory of him whose death shall then have expiated the wrongs he did you!" —Tears were the only answer he received. —He paused a moment; then looking round with something in his eye more elevated and solemn, "I have now, said he, discharged the world; mine has been called a life of pleasure; had I breath, I could tell you how false the title is; alas! I knew not how to live. —Merciful God! I thank thee—thou hast taught me how to die!"

At the close of this discourse, his strength, which he had exerted to the utmost, seemed altogether spent; and he sunk down in the bed, in a state so like death, that for some time his attendants imagined him to have actually expired. When he did revive, his speech appeared to be lost; he could just make a feeble sign for a cordial that stood on the table near his bed: he put it to his lips, then laid his head on the pillow, as if resigning himself to his fate.

Lucy was too tender to bear the scene; her friend, Mrs. Wistanly, led her, almost fainting, out of the room; "That grief, my dear Miss Sindall, said she, is too amiable to be blamed; but your father suggested a consolation which your piety will allow: of those who have led his life, how few have closed it like him!"

The CONCLUSION.

Early next morning sir Thomas Sindall expired. The commendable zeal of the coroner prompted him to hold an inquest on his body; the jury brought in their verdict Self-defence. But there was a judge in the bosom of Annesly, whom it was more difficult to satisfy; nor could he for a long time be brought to pardon himself that blow, for which the justice of his country had acquitted him.

After paying their last duty to sir Thomas's remains, the family removed to Sindall-Park. Mrs. Wistanly was prevailed on to leave her own house for a while, and preside in that of which Bolton was now master. His delicacy needed not the ceremonial of fashion to restrain him from pressing Miss Sindall's consent to their marriage, till a decent time had been yielded to the memory of her father. When that was elapsed, he received from her uncle that hand, which sir Thomas had bequeathed him, and which mutual attachment entitled him to receive.

Their happiness is equal to their merit: I am often a witness of it; for they honor me with a friendship which I know not how I have deserved, unless by having few other friends. Mrs. Wistanly and I are considered as members of the family.

But their benevolence is universal; the country smiles around them with the effects of their goodness. This is indeed the only real superiority which wealth has to bestow; I never envied riches so much, as since I have known Mr. Bolton.

I have lived too long to be caught with the pomp of declamation, or the glare of an apophthegm; but I sincerely believe, that you could not take from them a virtue without depriving them of a pleasure .

THE END.

 
 
 

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