Imágenes de páginas

his house after his aunt's decease. By that an answer as the kindness and delicacy of this lady's will, she was entitled to a legacy of six speech deserved ; and it was agreed, that, for the hundred pounds; by means of this sum she had present, her purpose of leaving Bilswood should formed a scheme, which, though it would re

be laid aside. duce her to a state very different from the ease In the evening the expected lady arrived ; she and affluence of her former circumstances, might seemed be about the age of fifty, with an imyet secure her from the irksomeness of depen- pression of melancholy on her countenance, that dence, or the accusation of impropriety : this appeared to have worn away her beauty before was, to appropriate two-thirds of the interest of the usual period : some traces, however, still reher capital to the payment of an annual sum for mained, and her eyes, when they met the view her board with Mrs Wistanly.

of the world, which was but seldom, discovered It was now that Bolton felt the advantage of a brilliancy not extinguished by her sorrow. independence, from the hopes of being useful to Her appearance, joined to the knowledge of Lucy; but he had her delicacy to overcome: her story, did not fail to attract Miss Sindall's she would not throw herself, at this moment of regard: she received Mrs Boothby with an air, necessity, into the arms of a man whom fortune not of civility, but friendship; and the other had now placed above her. She adhered to her shewed a sense of the obligation conferred on first resolution.

her, by a look of that modest, tender sort, which But the kindness of Sir Thomas Sindall ren- equally acknowledges and solicits our kindness. dered it unnecessary; for, a short time after Mrs With misfortune a good heart easily makes an Selwyn's death, when Miss Sindall communi- acquaintance. Miss Sindall endeavoured, by a cated to him her intention of leaving his house, thousand little assiduities, to shew this lady the he addressed her in the following terms: “Í interest she took in her welfare. That reserve, have always looked upon you, Miss Lucy, as a which the humility of affliction, not an unsocial daughter, and, I hope, there has been no want spirit, seemed to have taught Mrs Boothby, wore of tenderness or attention, on the side of my off by degrees; their mutual esteem increased as aunt or myself, to have prevented you regards their characters opened to each other; and, in a ing us as parents. At the same time, I know short time, their confidence was unreserved, and the opinions of the world ; mistaken and illibe- their friendship, appeared to be inviolable. ral as they often are, there is a deference which Mrs Boothby had now the satisfaction of pourwe are obliged to pay them ; in your sex the ing the tale of her distresses into the ear of symsense of decorum should be ever awake; even in pathy and friendship. Her story was melanthis case, I would not attempt to plead against choly, but not uncommon; the wreck of her husits voice; but i hope I have hit on a method band's affairs by a mind too enlarged for his forwhich will perfectly reconcile propriety and con- tune, and an indulgence of inclinations laudable venience. There is a lady, a distant relation of in their kind, but faulty in relation to the circumour family, whom a marriage, such as the world stances of their owner. terms imprudent, banished in early life from the In the history of her young friend's life, there notice or protection of it; but, though they could were but few incidents to communicate in rerefuse their suffrage to the match, they could turn. She could only say, that she remembernot controul its happiness; and, during the life ed herself, from her infancy, an orphan, under of Mr Boothby, (for that was her husband's the care of Sir Thomas Sindall and his aunt; name,) she experienced all the felicity of which that she had lived with them in a state of quiet wedlock is susceptible. Yet on her husband's and simplicity, without having seen much of death, which happened about five years after the world, or wishing to see it. She had but one their marriage, the state of his affairs was found secret to disclose in earnest of her friendship; to be such, that she stood but too much in need it faltered for some time on her lips; at last she of that assistance which hier relations denied ventured to let Mrs Boothby know it-her ather. At the time of her giving the family this tachment to Bolton. offence, I was a boy; and I scarce ever heard From this intelligence, the other was led to of her name till I was apprised of her misfor- an inquiry into the situation of that young gentunes. Whatever services I have been able to do tleman. She heard the particulars I have forher, I have found repaid by the sincerest grati- merly related, with an emotion not suited to the tude, and improved to the worthiest purposes. feelings of Miss Sindall; and the sincerity of Upon the late event of my aunt's death, I was her friendship declared the fears which her prunaturally led to wish her place supplied by Mrs dence suggested. Boothby; she has done me the favour to accept She reminded Lucy of the dangers to which of my invitation, and I expect her here this even- youth and inexperience are exposed, by the suding. Of any thing like authority in this house, den acquisition of riches; she set forth the Miss Lucy, you shall be always independent; many disadvantages of early independence; and but I flatter myself, she has qualities sufficient hinted the inconstancy of attachments, formed to merit your friendship.” Lucy returned such in the period of romantic enthusiasm, in the

scenes of rural simplicity, which are afterwards will do any thing to shew my gratitude to him; to be tried by the maxims of the world, amidst but to love him-good heavens !" the society of the gay, the thoughtless, and the There is, I know," rejoined Mrs Boothby, dissipated. From all this followed conclusions, "a certain romantic affection, which young peowhich it was as difficult as disagreeable for the ple suppose to be the only thing that comes unheart of Lucy to form : it could not untwist der that denomination. From being accustomed those tender ties which linked it to Bolton; but to admire a set of opinions, which they term senit began to tremble for itself and him.

timental, 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 disapCHAP. XIII.

pointed. You will find, Miss Sindall, when you

have lived to see a little more of the world, the Certain opinions of Mrs Boothby.--An attempt insufficiency of those visionary articles of hapto account for them.

piness, that are set forth with such parade of

language in novels and romances, as consisting From the particulars of her own story, and of in sympathy of soul, and the mutual attraction Bolton's, Mrs Boothby drew one conclusion of hearts, destined for each other.” common to both; to wit, the goodness of Sir You will pardon me,” said Lucy, “ for Thomas Sindall. This, indeed, a laudable gra- making one observation, that you yourself are titude had so much impressed on her mind, an instance against the universal truth of your that the praises she frequently bestowed on him, argument; you married for love, Mrs Boothby." even in his own presence, would have savoured -"I did so,” interrupted she, “and therefore of adulation to one, who had not known the I am the better able to inform you of the short debt which this lady owed to his beneficence. duration of that paradise such a state is suppo

Lucy, to whom she would often repeat her sed to imply. We were looked upon, Miss Lucy, eulogium of the Baronet, was ready enough to as patterns of conjugal felicity; but folks diá own the obligations herself had received, and to little know how soon the raptures with which join her acknowledgments to those of her friend. we went together were changed into feelings of Yet there was a want of warmth in her pane- a much colder kind. At the same time, Mr gyric, for which Mrs Boothby would sometimes Boothby was a good-natured man; and, I begently blame her; and one day, when they were lieve, we were on a better footing than most of on that subject, she remarked, with a sort of your couples who marry for love are at the end jocular air, the difference of that attachment of a twelvemonth. I am now but too well conwhich Miss Sindall felt, in return for so much vinced, that those are the happiest matches unwearied kindness as Sir Thomas had shewn which are founded on the soberer sentiments of her, and that which a few soft glances had pro- gratitude and esteem.” cured to the more fortunate Mr Bolton.

To this concluding maxim Lucy made no reMiss Sindall seemed to feel the observation ply. It was one of those which she could not with some degree of displeasure ; and answered, easily bear to believe ; it even tinctured the chablushing, that she considered Sir Thomas as a racter of the person who made it, and she found parent, whom she was to esteem and revere, not herself not so much disposed to love Mrs Boothas one for whom she was to entertain any senti- by as she once had been. ments of a softer kind.

For this sort of reasoning, however, that lady “But suppose,” replied the other, “ that he had reasons which it may not be improper to should entertain sentiments of a softer kind for explain to the reader, if indeed the reader has you."-"I cannot suppose it.”—“There you are not already discovered them without the assistin the wrong; men of sense and knowledge of ance of explanation. the world, like Sir Thomas, are not so prodigal Sir Thomas Sindall, though he was now ver. of unmeaning compliment as giddy young peo- ging towards that time of life, when ple, who mean not half of what they say ; but they feel more deeply the force of our attrac

“ The heyday of the blood is tame," tions, and will retain the impression so much the longer, as it is grafted on maturity of judgment was still as susceptible as ever of the influence I am very much mistaken, Miss Lucy, if the of beauty. Miss Lucy I have already mentioned worthiest of men is not your lover.”_" Lover! as possessing an uncommon share of it; and Sir Thomas Sindall my lover!”-“I profess, my chance had placed her so immediately under his dear, I cannot see the reason of that passionate observation and guardianship, that it was scarce exclamation; nor why that man should not be possible for him not to remark, and, having reentitled to love you, who has himself the best marked, not to desire it. In some minds, indeed, title to be beloved.”—“I may reverence Sir there might have arisen suggestions of honour Thomas Sindall ; I may admire his goodness; I and conscience unfavourable to the use of that




opportunity which fortune had put in his power; long to another character; yet she, to whom but these were restraints which Sir Thomas had they were addressed, had heard them without so frequently broken, as in a great measure to suspicion. But she was now alarmed by the annihilate their force.

suggestions of Mrs Boothby; these suggestions During the life of his aunt, there were other it is possible the Baronet himself had prompted. motives to restrain him; those were now remo« He knew the force of that poison which is conved; and being solicitous to preserve the advan- veyed in those indirect approaches, when a wotage which he drew from Miss Sindall's resie man's vanity is set on the watch by the assistdence in his house, he pitched on Mrs Boothby ance of a third person. She who imagines she to fill Mrs Selwyn's place, from whom his fora hears them with indifference, is in danger; but mer good offices gave him an additional title to she who listens to them with pleasure, is undone. expect assistance, by means of the influence she With Lucy, however, they failed of that efwould naturally gain over the mind of one who fect which the Baronet's experience had prowas in some sort to become her ward. As I am mised him; she heard them with a sort of diswilling at present to believe that lady's charac- gust at Mrs Boothby, and something like fear of ter a fair one, I shall suppose that he concealed Sir Thomas. from her the kind of addresses with which he Her uneasiness increased as his declarations meant to approach her young friend. It is cer- began to be more pointed ; though they were tain, there was but one kind which the princi- then only such as some women, who had meant ples of Sir Thomas allowed him to make. to give them no favourable ear, might perhaps

One obstacle, however, he foresaw in the ato have been rather flattered than displeased with; tachment which he had early discovered her to but Miss Sindall was equally void of the art by have towards Bolton. This, on the most favour- which we disguise our own sentiments, and the able supposition of the case, he might easily re- pride we assume from the sentiments of others. present to Mrs Boothby, equally hurtful to To her virtues Sir Thomas was no stranger; Lucy's interest, and destructive of his own wish- they were difficulties which served but as spurs es ; and if she was prevailed on to espouse his in his pursuit: That he continued it with incause, it may account for those lessons of pru- creasing ardour, may be gathered from two letdence which she bestowed upon Miss Sindall. ters, which I subjoin for the information of the

Besides this, the Baronet did not scruple to reader. The first is addressed, use some other methods, still more dishonourable, of shaking her confidence in his cousin. He fell upon means of secretly intercepting that young gentleman's letters to Lucy. From this

« MY DEAR MADAM, he drew a double advantage ; both of fastening I fear you begin to accuse me of neglect; a suspicion on Harry's fidelity, and acquiring but there are reasons why I cannot so easily such intelligence as might point his own machi- write to you as formerly. Even without this nations to defeat the purposes which that cor- apology, you would scarce believe me capable of respondence contained.

forgetting you, who are almost the only friend I am possessed of. Alas! I have need of a friend ! pity and direct me.

is Sir Thomas Sindall-how shall I tell it! CHAP. XIV.

he has ceased to be that guardian, that protect

or, I esteemed him ; he says he loves, he adores A Discovery interesting to Miss Sindall. me; -I know not why it is, but I shudder

when I hear these words from Sir Thomas SinUnder those circumstances of advantage in dall. which Sir Thomas Sindall stood, it did not seem “But I have better reason for my fears ; be a matter of extreme difficulty to accomplish that has used such expressions of late, that, though design which I have hinted to my readers in the I am not skilled enough in the language of his preceding chapter. Let him, whose indignation sex to understand their meaning fully, yet they is roused at the mention of it, carry his feelings convey too much for his honour and for my abroad into life; he will find other Sindalls, peace. whom the world has not marked with its displea- “Nor is this all.—Last night I was sitting sure; in the simplicity of my narrative, what is in the parlour with him and Mrs Boothby, (of there that should set up this one to his hatred or whom I have much to tell you ;) I got up, and his scorn? Let but the heart pronounce its judg- stood up in the bow-window, looking at the ment, and the decision will be the same. rays of the moon, which glittered on the pond

Hitherto Sir Thomas had appeared as the in the garden. There was something of enviparent and guardian of Lucy; and though at able tranquillity in the scene; I sighed as I times certain expressions escaped him, which looked.-" That's a deep one,' said Sir Thomas, the quickness of more experienced, that is, less patting me on the shoulder behind: I turned innocent, minds would have discovered to be- round somewhat in a flurry, when I perceived


that Mrs Boothby had left the room. I made duced her to address the following letter to Bola motion towards the door ; Sir Thomas placed ton; though she began to suspect, from the suphimself with his back to it. • Where is Mrs posed failure of his correspondence, that the sugBoothby ?' said I, though I trembled so, that I gestions she had heard of his change of circumcould scarcely articulate the words. What is stances having taught him to forget her, had but my sweet girl frightened at ?' said he ;' here too much foundation in reality. are none but love and Sindall.' He fell on his knees, and repeated a great deal of jargon, (I

TO HENRY BOLTON, ESQ. was so confused I know not what,) holding my hands all the while fast in his. I pulled them Is it true, that, amidst the business or the away at last; he rose, and clasping me round pleasures of his new situation, Harry Bolton has the waist, would have forced a kiss; I scream- forgotten Lucy Sindall? Forlorn as I now amed out, and he turned from me. • What's the but I will not complain—I would now less than matter ?' said Mrs Boothby, who then entered ever complain to you.—Yet it is not pride, it is the room. “A mouse running across the carpet not-I weep while I write this! frightened Miss Lucy,' answered Sir Thomas. “ But, perhaps, though I do not hear from I could not speak, but I sat down on the sofa, you, you may yet remember her, to whom you and had almost fainted. Sir Thomas brought had once some foolish attachment. It is fit that me some wine and water, and, pressing my hand, you think of her no more; she was then indeed whispered, that he hoped I would forgive an of- a dependent orphan, but there was a small chalfence wbich was already too much punished by its lenge of protection from friends, to whom it was effects; but he looked so, while he spoke this! imagined her infancy had been intrusted. Know,

“Oh! Mrs Wistanly, with what regret do I that this was a fabricated tale; she is, in truth, now recollect the days of peaceful happiness I a wretched foundling, exposed in her infanthave passed in your little dwelling, when we state by the cruelty or necessity of her parents, were at Sindall-park. I remember I often wish- to the inclemency of a winter-storm, from which ed, like other foolish girls, to be a woman; me- miserable situation Sir Thomas Sindall deliverthinks I would now gladly return to the state of ed her. This he has but a little since told me, harmless infancy I then neglected to value. I in the most ungenerous manner, and from moam but ill made for encountering difficulty or tives which I tremble to think on.-Inhuman dạnger; yet I fear my path is surrounded with that he is! Why did he save me then ? both. Could you receive me again under your “This Mrs Boothby too! Encompassed as I was roof? there is something hallowed resides be- with evils, was I not wretched enough before ? neath it.—Yet this may not now be so conveni- yet this new discovery has been able to make me ent-I know not what to say here I am iniser- more so. My head grows dizzy when I think able. Write to me, I entreat you, as speedily on it!-to be blotted out from the records of soas may be. You never yet denied me your ad- ciety !-What misery or what vice have my pavice or assistance; and never before were they so rents known! yet now to be the child of a beggar, necessary to your faithful

in poverty and rags, is a situation I am forced L. SINDALL."

“ I had one friend from whom I looked for To this letter Miss Sindall received no an- some assistance. Mrs Wistanly, from infirmiswer; in truth, it never reached Mrs Wistanly; ty, I fear, has forgotten me; I have ventured the servant to whom she intrusted its convey- to think on you. Be but my friend, and no ance having, according to instructions he had more; talk not of love, that you may not force received, delivered it into the hands of his mas- me to refuse your friendship. If you are not ter, Sir Thomas Sindall. She concluded, there- changed indeed, you will be rewarded enough fore, either that Mrs Wistanly found herself when I tell you, that, to remove me from the unable to assist her in her present distress, or, dangers of this dreadful place, will call forth what she imagined more probable, that age had more blessings from my heart, than any other now weakened her faculties so much, as to ren- can give, that is not wrung with anguish like der her callous even to that feeling which should that of the unfortunate have pitied it. She next turned her thoughts

L. SINDALL." upon Miss Walton; the manner of her getting acquainted with whom I have related in the fifth chapter ; but she learned that Mr Walton had,

CHAP. XXV. a few days before, set out with his daughter on a journey to the continent, to which he had been She receives a letter from Bolton.--A new alarm advised by her physicians, as she had, for some

from Sir Thomas Sindall. time past, been threatened with symptoms of a consumptive disorder. These circumstances, and It happened that the messenger to whom the Sir Thomas's farther conduct in the interval, in- charge of the foregoing billet was committed, was

to envy:

[ocr errors]

a person, not in that line of association which acquit me of inconstancy, and judge of my un-
the Baronet had drawn around her; consequent- easiness.
ly it escaped interception.

“ That discovery which she has lately made,
When Bolton received it, he was not only is nothing to her or to me. My Lucy is the
alarmed with the intelligence it contained, but child of heaven, and her inheritance every ex-
his fears were doubly roused from the discovery cellence it can bestow.
it made to him, of his letters not being suffered “ But her present situation-my God! what
to reach Miss Sindall. He dispatched his an- horrible images has my fancy drawn of it! For
swer, therefore, by a special messenger, who heaven's sake, let not even the most amiable of
was ordered to watch an opportunity of deliver- weaknesses prevent her escaping from it into
ing it privately into the hands of the lady to the arms of her faithful Bolton. I dispatch a
whom it was addressed. This he found no messenger with this instantly. I shall follow
easy matter to accomplish ; nor would he per-, him myself, the moment I have made some ar-
haps have been able to effect it at all, but for rangements, necessary for your present safety
an artifice to which he had recourse, of hiring and future comfort. I shall be in the neighbour-
himself on a job in Sir Thomas's garden, for hood of Bilswood, for I am forbidden to enter
which his knowledge in the business happen- the house, Sir Thomas having taken occasion,
ed to qualify him. He had indeed heen for- from my resigning a commission which would
merly employed in that capacity at Sindall- have fixed me ingloriously in a garrison abroad,
park, and had there been well enough known that I might be of some use to my country at
to Miss Lucy, who was herself a gardener for home, to write me a letter in the angriest terms,
amusement; and, after leaving that place, ha- renouncing me, as he expresses it, for ever. I
ving gone to the neighbourhood of London for see, I see the villainy of his purpose ; 'tis but
improvement, he was met and hired by his for- a few days hence, and I will meet him in the
mer acquaintance, Mr Bolton.

covert of his falsehood, and blast it. Let my The very next evening after he had got into Lucy be but just to herself and to this station, he observed Miss Sindall enter the

Bolton." garden alone. This was an opportunity not to be missed ; on pretence, therefore, of fetching She had scarcely read this, when Mrs Boothsomewhat from the end of the walk she was by entered the room. The Baronet had, for on, he passed her, and pulled off his hat with some days, quitted that plan of intimidation, a look significant of prior acquaintance. Lucy which had prompted him to discover to Lucy observed him, and, feeling a sort of momentary the circumstance of her being a wretched foundcomfort from the recollection, began some talk ling, supported by his charity, for a behaviour with him respecting his former situation, and more mild and insinuating; and Mrs Boothby, the changes it had undergone. She asked him who squared her conduct accordingly, had been many questions about their old neighbours at particularly attentive and obliging. She now Sindall-park, and particularly Mrs Wistanly; delivered to Miss Sindall a message from a when she was soon convinced of her misappre- young lady in the neighbourhood, an acquainthension with regard to a failure of that worthy ance of hers, begging her company, along with woman's intellects; Jerry (so the gardener was Mrs Boothby's, to a party of pleasure the day familiarly called) having seen her in his way to after. “And really, Miss Sindall,” said she, with Bilswood, and heard her speak of Miss Lucy with an air of concern, “I must enforce the invi. the most tender concern. And what was your tation from a regard to your health, as you last service, Jerry ?” said she.-“I wrought for seem to have been drooping for some days past.” Mr Bolton, madam.”—“Mr Bolton !"-" And Lucy looked her full in the face, and sighed: I received this paper from him for your lady- that look she did not choose to understand, but ship, which I was ordered to deliver into your repeated her question as to their jaunt to-morown hands, and no other body's, an't please your row. « Miss Venhurst will call at nine, and ladyship.” She took the letter with a trembling expects to find you ready to attend her."impatience, and, whispering that she would find “What you please,” replied the other; " if an opportunity of seeing him again, hurried up Miss Venhurst is to be of the party, I have no into her chamber to peruse it. She found it to objection.” The consent seemed to give much contain what follows:

satisfaction to Mrs Boothby, who left her with

a gentle tap on the back, and an unusual ap“ I have not words to tell my ever dearest pearance of kindness in her aspect. Lucy, with what distracting anxiety I read the Lucy read her letter again; she had desired letter that is now lying before me. To give Bolton to think of her no more; but there is her suspicions of my faith, must have been the in the worthiest hearts a little hypocrisy atwork of no common treachery: when she knows tending such requests: she found herself happy that I wrote to her three several times without in the thought that he had not forgotten her. receiving any answer, she will, at the same time, When she opened her bureau, to deposit this

« AnteriorContinuar »