Imágenes de páginas

cipient sallowness of complexion, he brought the full powers of a clear which she felt to be hostile to love. understanding to bear on that subject.

want a nurse : Miss Rusby foresaw siderably advanced in knowledge, and that she should soon want lovers. He had attained, the one to twelve, the proposed, and she instantly accepted. other to eleven years of age, when La

The conduct of Mr. Rusby had dy Leith in her visit to Harlton Parbeen of a different description. He sonage, proposed to relieve her brother had no sooner left college and was from all farther solicitude about the possessed of a small living purchased the welfare of his daughters, by taking for him by his father, than he followed upon herself the expense and care of the propensities of his heart, and fell their education. If Mr. Rusby had in love with a beautiful girl, whose been rich he would have refused all inwhole fortune consisted in the elegance terference on the part of Lady Leith and simplicity of her character, great in the education of his daughters, for sweetness of disposition, and a heart he thought the principles of that lady which was rich beyond estimation in might be injurious to the simplicity of every mild and affectionate feeling. character which he so much admired,

Their attachment was soon followed and which he was anxious to preserve. by marriage; and as their means He did not suppose her capable of were limited, they were constrained instilling into their minds opinions or not less by necessity than by choice, feelings which might be detrimental to to cultivate all their sweet and simple their virtue, but he feared that her pleasures in a domestic country life; instruction might inspire them with too which persons of wealth are apt to dis- exalted ideas of their own importance, regard. Content with the society of an inordinate love of wealth, and ameach other, and those recreations which bitious intentions, which through disare derived from books and rational appointment might end in misery. amusements, they lived unmindful of In a short time after the arrangethe world, its bustle and its passions. ment had been made for Monimia to Their life was love, and the history of reside with Lady Leith, they both their days a series of sweet and recip- took leave of Mr. Rusby, and returned rocal instances of a profound and un- forthwith to London. Her father felt interrupted attachment. The union severely the loss of his child. Her which made thein happy, was not per adoption by his sister appeared to him manent, for after a few years of per. little short of an entire separation. On fect felicity, Mrs. Rusby was separat. the other hand, the young girl who had ed from her husband by an untiinely never before quitted home, was pleased death, leaving him the two daughters with the prospect of the new scenes whom we have mentioned above. The she was about to see. In quitting her loss of a wife in whom all his felicity father and sister she felt a momentary was centred, annihilated for a time the anguish, which was soon dissipated by happiness and exertion of Mr. Rusby, the variety of novel objects which she and a year elapsed before he recovered beheld on their journey towards Lonthat composure of heart and peace of don. On their arrival in town, the mind which enabled him to devote his carriage proceeded immediately to Sir attention to domestic concerns, the du- James Leith's mansion in Portman ties of his profession, and the welfare of Square. Monimia accustomed from his children. In proportion as his her insancy to the humble dwelling of grief settled into a milder recollection of her father, and never having seen any his lost wife, he began to fix his mind house more splendidly furnished, nor on the characters of his children, and rooms or larger dimension than those to exert himself by administering to which she had been accustomed to see their instruction and happiness. Their at Halton Parsonage, bebeld with education became a matter to him of great astonishment the superb mansion

55 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series.

of her uncle. A feeling of contempt, prosperity, when compared to the (the first emotion of the kind which more humble circumstances of ibe had ever entered her young heart,) greater part of the parishiopers of arose from the comparison which she Halton,) became as she advanced in made between the different situations years a source of shame and repurof her poor and humble father, and the nance. She heard at the wealthy table proud and wealthy Sir James Leith. of Sir James so much in praise of the

Lady Leith in a short time began riches of fortunate individuals, and so her course of experimental instruction few comments upon virtue and abilion the heart and mind of the young ties, that she gradually imbibed that Monimia. She sought out a govern- opinion so prevalent in the mercantile ess whose conduct would be a pattern world, that wealth is the criterion of from whence her niece might learn excellence. Whenever a desire to see to dress herself. After considerable his daughter called Mr. Rusby up to search, she discovered in a young London, Monimia suffered a great deal French woman those artificial man- of uneasiness and shame at the thought ners, and that happy tact of character, of being obliged to appear in public which accommodate themselves with with him : and upon one occasion ber facility to the opinions and habits of feelings were wrought up to a bigh those persons whoip it is their interest state of torture, when she was asked to serve. She had sufficient know. by an intimate friend, " who those ledge to instruct in the rudiments of queer people were, that sal in Sir languages, geography, and music, but James's box at the Opera.” She dexa perfect mistress in the art of dissimu. terously escaped the shame which this lation. She had a language, a cour question might have brought upon ber, tesy, a smile, for every distinct variety by saying that she understood they of the human species. Her distance were people of immense estates in and courtly pride towards the servants Lancashire, but who had never been were not less remarkable than her ex- in London before.” She was at one treme obsegoiousness and humble def. time exceedingly disconcerted by the erence to Lady Leith, and she gained following question from a young girl. almost immediately after her introduc- “ Pray, Miss Rusby, have you any retion into the house, the respect of the lations except Sir James and Lady prudent and circumspect Sir James, Leith, for I never hear you mention the deference and assiduous notice of them ?” This question she parried, that gentleman's nephew, the presump- by turning her head away and covertive heir of his property, and the fond ing her face with her hand, as if some attachment of Monimia.

agonizing recollections had been called Under the auspices and tuition of up, and her young friend supposing two such able performers as were Lady that she was agitated by the rememLeith and Mademoiselle Artifice, the brance of the loss of her relatives young Monimia made regular advan- dropt the subject and never again reces towards refinement. By degrees sumed it. It has generally been found they pruned away those exuberant by those who have elevated their pushoots of infantile feeling which are pils to ambitious views, that their plans thought by the cultivators of the hu.' have ran a greater risk of being ceunman mind to weaken the parent stem. teracted by the passion of love than by Step by step she was taught to speak, any other feeling, and Lady Leith, smile, walk, sit, rise, dress, eat, only conscious how difficult it is to disposwith the design of captivating atten- sess that sentiment when it has once tion by those acts, and she became gained an entrance, made it her chief mannered even to the putting on of a endeavour to guard against its apglove, or the position and arrangement proach. Her caution was so particoof her fingers. The poverty of her lar, that having once observed ber father, (which in her infancy, and niece blush when the name of a young while she lived at home, showed like man, who was very handsome but very


poor, was mentioned, she immediately young people. It would have been so jook measures to prevent him from it the manœuvring character of Lady visiting again at the house.

Leith would have allowed the natural Among the numerous suitors which thirst of young affection to imbibe a the beauty of Monimia Rusby sum- full draught of pleasure. She was, moned about her person was a young however, continually watching and man, the only heir of a wealthy stock- checking every inclination to impasjobber, whose riches were estimated atsioned love. “ Now is the time," she a million. This was the very union would say to her niece, “ to assume which Lady Leith was courting for her that empire over the mind of your inniece, and she gave every encourage- tended husband, which may render ment to his visits. Monimia had been you happy by attaining the superiority. enjoined, under pain of the endless If you once give way to you affection, displeasure of Lady Leith, never to you are lost; you become his slave, conceal from her, even for a moment, and cease to rule. We soon despise any offers she might receive, and to re- those who love us with thoughtless atfer every suitor to her. As soon, tachment. Let him suppose that you therefore, as the youth declared his love him, but never be thoroughly conpassion, she replied, with a coolness vinced of it. Be polite, various, playwhich somewhat astonished him, that ful, engaging, reluctant, but avoid that she must refer bim to Lady Leith, by unworthy stain on a woman's character, whose wishes she always regulated her a fond and doating attachment." By affections. The young man imme- such opinions and repeated enforcediately requested an audience of her ment of them, she wrought the mind of

ladyship, by whom he was received her niece to a wary and politic method ta

with great politeness, and listened to of loving. Her attachment was conwith attention. She told him she saw ditional, which like her stays she could no great objection to the match, but put on at pleasure, and tighten and matters of that nature must be cau- loosen about her heart. Every ar

tiously managed ; that young people rangement was now made for the marwie Ihre

were but bad judges of the arrange- riage, the day was fixed, the weddingments necessary to make them happy, suits and a carriage purchased, a and that every proceeding must be house furnished, when one of those un

regulated by the discretion of his own expected events, which strike our senhis report

father and Sir James. She then ex- ses like a clap of thunder, put a sudacted a promise from him never to den stop to the business. The great mention his affection again to Mo- stock-jobber failed. Immense specunimia until he received permission lations in foreign bonds, which fell from herself to consider and address fifty per cent. in value in the course of her as his future bride. The old peo- a month, were the cause of his ruin. ple soon met, and consulted about the various were the reports upon the Exintended marriage. An union with change about the extent of his speculathe family of Sir James flattered the tions and losses; some authorities deambition of the stock -jobber, and bis clared him to be ruined entirely, while interest was not forgotten when he others made a more moderate estimate agreed to settle upon his son one hun- of his misfortunes, and supposed that dred and fifty thousand pounds. Sir something would be left after the pay. James was a potent and a popular ment of all demands. Sir James

man, whose great connexions and ex- Leith received no injury from the imate retensive commercial intercourse might failure of the great stock-jobber. He

enable him to point out some lucrative was on the eve of entering, in conjunc-
hits. Monimia was to have a portion tion with him, upon some large specu-
of ten thousand pounds, with a verbal lations in hops, which the sudden mis-
promise of the saine sum at the death fortune stopped. .
of Sir James.

As soon as Lady Leith was made One would suppose that all was joy acquainted with the failure she comand pleasure within the bosoms of the municated the circumstance to Mo

[ocr errors]

He has


File 3





nimia, with strict injunctions to with- own age, the son of a respectable gesdraw her affections. That young lady tleman, who lived in the parish of had been now so well-tutored in the Halton. This was her first love, and, art of putting off and on affection that like inost of those affections which the she soon disrobed her heart. This heart spontaneously adopts at an early was the triumph of Lady Leith's sys- age, was ardent and sincere. tem of education, and when she com- The young gentleman her suitor had municated the particulars to her bro- no fortune, and but very moderate es. ther, she commented largely on her pectations, yet Mr. Rusby did not own skill. “ You see," said she in think himself warranted in refusing his one of her letters, “that Monimia, approbation of her attachment, he only under my instruction, has captivated, stipulated with the youth that he should by her manners and good conduct, a patiently wait until the appearance of young man of great expectations, and better prospects, and not involve, by a whep those expectations failed, she has precipitate and thoughtless marriage, had the prudence to withdraw her af- his daughter in difficulty and distress. fection. Be assured that she will The presentation of an ensigncy to the never disgrace herself by marrying a lover called him to more active scenes poor man. Her ambition and pru- in the Peninsula, when he first flasbed dence are exactly what I could wish his sword at the Battle of Talavera. them to be.” Many friends and ac- In the succeeding battles he displayed quaintances of Monimia, especially resolution and ability, and attained a among the younger people, reprobat- company by his undaunted defence of ed her conduct as a disgraceful speci- a fort in one of the engagements fought men of insensibility, but she was high- in the Pyrenees. His career was howJy praised among the insensible and ever checked, and his farther advancethe aged, and recommended by them ment aậnibilated by the battle of to the young as a pattern of prudence Toulouse, where he lost a leg, and was and refinement.

dangerously wounded in the bead by While Lady Leith was elevating a musket ball, which carried away Monimia in such a manner as ensured part of his jaw, and deprived him, for her the attainment of prosperous cir- a considerable time of the poster of cumstances, Mr. Rusby was proceed- speech. This event happened about ing in the education of his daughter, the same time that the failure of the Clara, in his own simple and unosten. great stock-jobber put an end to the tatious manner. He never inculcated intended marriage between his son and ambitious designs, but, on the contra. Monimia. He recovered slowly from ry, taught her to be moderate in her his wounds, and was compelled to expectations. He was unable to give travel by slow journeys towards Engher instructions how to enter a room land, where Mr. Rusby and his daughgracefully, to captivate attention by ter were anxiously awaiting the arrival striking attitudes, to catch the adora- of the gallant soldier, to whose infirtion of numerous suitors, and hold them mities and misfortunes they were anifor a long time in her train by smiles ious to 'administer comfort. Lady and insinuations full of coquetry and Leith used all her influence with ber fallacy, but he well understood how to niece to induce her to seize the occa. improve his daughter's mind by solid sion of breaking off a match with a and useful instruction. By the time man whom she designated as a beggar she attained the age of eighteen she and a cripple. Her endeavours were was highly accomplished, and was gen- ineffectual. She could neither shake erally admired for the beauty of her the steady affection of Clara, nor the person, and the artless simplicity firm and generous principles of Mr. of ber character. Not being warp- Rusby. As soon as the young soldier ed by any artful or ambitions designs arrived in England he wrote a letter to on the part of her parent, she followed his Clara, intimating that he dreaded the natural bent of her disposition, and an interview with her. “When I left attached herself to a young man of her you," said he in his letter, “I was in

the possession of perfect health, full of keep me a carriage.” “Depend upon alacrity, ambitious in my designs, it, my dear," said a third person, handsome in my person, if I may be- “ you'll be miserable with him." lieve the opinions of others, and a “ There can be no misery,” she anmatch, a suitable match, except in for- swered, “ where there is immense tune, to yourself; I now return a bat. wealth.” In this manner she exmplitered and worn out soldier, disfigured, fied the great pains which Lady Leith maimed, and, like a young tree struck had taken in her education, and her by lightning, blasted in the early put- preceptress was not a little flattered ting forth of my expectations. It were when she contrasted the consummate better that I should never see you prudence and discretion shown by her again, my Clara, than see you to lose, own pupil, with what she termed, the through my want of personal advanta- childish romance of her niece Clara. ges, that affection which I had once A few months brought the marriage of the happiness to inspire." As soon as Monimia to a conclusion. Sir Croston Clara received this letter she set out Fullpurse vainly supposed that the with her father to meet her lover. preserence which had been shown to Their meeting was like the junction of him over the younger suitors of his two streams that unite for ever. A bride, was to be attributed to his manshort but violeut agitation of contend- ners and character, and not to the ing passions was followed by compo- temptation of his wealth. So little sure and happiness. About three are ihose, who estimate money above months after their return to Halton the all things, inclined to admit, that the young soldier was united to Clara. In wealth they possess is the only thing addition to his half-pay he received a which can recommend them to others. pension of two hundred a year, as a While affairs were proceeding thus remuneration for his wounds and ser- prosperously, in the Leith family, the vices. This, together with a small al- failure of the great stock jobber was lowance from his father, and a resi- silently working out the ruin of some dence in the parsonage, enabled them of the first houses in the City. These to enjoy that which no wealth can sudden explosions of great commercial purchase-contented affection.

houses may be assimilated to the reIt was not long before the charms verberations of an echo in a mountainand manners of Monimia Rusby gain- ous country. A cannon is fired off, ed another suitor. This second ad. and close to your side the shock is inmirer was even richer than the first : stantly repeated. It then ceases and he was a gentleman of extensive busi- you suppose that you will hear no ness, one of the representatives of the more of it, when you perceive an obCity of London, and a baronet. He scure and feeble repetition, at an imwas past the meridian of his days, a mense distance; “ It is dying away, widower with two children, and not you observe," and then again it thunaltogether a husband of such temper ders in your ears, apparently more and manners as would have pleased a loud than at first. After repeated young woman whose mind had been shocks, which often come from quarinclined to refinement and romance. ters where you least expect them, the She had, however, by this time so explosion dies away and the matter is completely imbibed the principles of forgotten. The failure of the stock her aunt, and become so nice a calcu. jobber was of this nature. The Leith lator, that she knew what sum of mo- family appeared to stand secure, and ney was a set-off against a defect. were talking, and wondering at the Being told that her intended husband numerous failures, obscure and imporwas a person of a bad temper, she re- tant, which it had created, when sudplied, “ True, but he settles upon me denly they were alarmed by the extwenty thousand pounds.” “ He is plosion of a house, with which Sir too old,” said a friend, “to marry a James had immense transactions, and woman of your youth and beauty." this was instantly followed by the 66 Not at all," was her reply, “ for he'll failure of his own banker. After the

« AnteriorContinuar »