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“May be so, and may be not; I do now, at

any rate.”

“There was nothing, I hear, dishonorable in his failure: I was attached to him before his misfortune; why should I not be now?

“I tell you this is all romance. You have been so educated that you cannot be happy without those luxuries which money alone can procure.

You will understand what nonsense there is in the saying, Ils s'aiment comme les pauvres.”

“I have always thought, father, that this saying 'granted to the poor what was worth more than all riches."

After a long silence, Mr. Weston stopped short, rather abruptly, directly before Amy. “One thing," he said, “I shall insist upon, Amy, if I do consent to this engagement; and that is, that it shall be kept a profound secret, till Mr. Selmar has so far succeeded in business that he may appear a suitable match for my daughter.”

I am sorry, my dear father, that I cannot please you even in this.”

“And why not, Miss ?”

“Because I should be a deceiver, and lead people to suppose that my hand and heart are disengaged when they are not."

66 And

“ And of what consequence is it whether the world knows, or not, that you are engaged? It is not very modest in you to suppose this affair is of so much importance to others. I should think a lady of truly refined feelings would prefer it should be kept secret."

“It is natural, father, that it should seem so to you ; but I have reasons for wishing otherwise, which I would rather not give to any one; but you have a right to know the whole. It is better that I should seem faulty to you, than actually do wrong." pray what

may
these

very cogent reasons be?”

"I may, and I think it very probable I shall, have proposals of marriage from others, if it is supposed I am disengaged."

· It is very presuming in you to take this for granted; but suppose you should, you are not bound to accept them.”

Why should I give unnecessary pain? I am your only child, and you are rich, and there are a number of young men very attentive to me, and one who, I fear, loves me. He is the son of your friend, Mr. Raymond.”

“ The very thing I most desired in this world,” interrupted her father; "a suitable match in every respect; his father is one of our first men. O, Amy, you might make me so happy! Why cannot you give up that foolish fancy of yours, and marry him ?” Mr. Weston stood looking in Amy's face, as if life and death hung upon her

answer.

to your father?”

Simply, father, because I do not love him, and I do love Mr. Selmar."

“ Love Mr. Selmar! how can you utter such a thing to me

“ Because you are my father, I ought to conceal nothing from you. Would it not be wrong not to save young Raymond the pain and mortification of a refusal ?”

“ Has he ever spoken to you on this sub

ject ?"

No; but I am almost certain that he will."

Well, when he does so, it will be time enough to tell him of this unlucky entanglement.”

“ Would that be honorable ? would it be generous ? would it be even modest ? Surely, father, you cannot thus advise your daughter. It could be only painful to me to receive a declaration of love from one whose love I do not return. It is only simple justice to prevent it, and the easiest way to do this is to let it be known that

my

hand and heart are pledged to another.”

“ This is very sentimental, to be sure; but how do you know that your feelings will not change? or that Mr. Selmar's may not? It may be many years before

you can be married.” “I must,” replied Amy, "act according to my present convictions; and I am as certain of my own feelings and determinations as of my existence.”

Mr. Weston saw that it was in vain to attempt to influence his daughter upon a subject involving what she considered a moral principle. He tried to persuade himself that she was wrong; still he could not help respecting her. His daughter did, in fact, possess an influence over him that might seem strange to those who have never estimated the power felt, even when not understood, which a high, uncompromising allegiance to principle exercises over those who acknowledge no higher standard than the opinion of the world.

Amy had succeeded in her purpose of saving Edward from many painful remarks from her father. In his interview with him in the evening, Mr. Weston told him, very coldly, that his daughter had explained to him their relation to each other; that as he had not been consulted by either of them, there was nothing left for him to say; that whatever sentimentalists might think, or poets sing about love in a cottage, people nowa-days had the sense to know that such notions were absurd. Such nonsense might sound well

28

SKETCHES OF MARRIED LIFE.

in novels, but all the respectable part of the community would vindicate him in his determination, that his daughter should not marry a man who could not support her in the way in which she had been accustomed to live. “I therefore trust to you, sir, as a man of honor, that you will not speak to my daughter of marriage till that is the case.”

This Edward assured him was his purpose; but, though he expected nothing better, he felt galled and fretted when he actually experienced how much his importance was diminished by the loss of his property. Mr. Weston's whole manner was changed towards him; it was distant, and supercilious, and entirely unlike what it had been before his failure. He was now a poor

man.

“No matter," said he to himself, as he left Mr. Weston's apartment.

66 These lessons to my self-love are very wholesome. Poverty is a good touchstone; how much more suffering than all I have endured from her worldly-minded father, would not one smile from Amy chase

away!”

In her society we will therefore leave him, to recover his composure.

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