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the world, young lady! cried I. — My wife, well as I love her, should lie in a garret, rather than put such a considerate lady as you seem to be, to the least inconvenience.

She opened not the door yet; and I said, But since you have so much goodness, madam, if I could but just look into the closet as I stand, I could tell my wife whether it is large enough to hold a cabinet she much values, and will have with her wherever she goes.

Then my charmer opened the door, and blazed upon me, as it were in a flood of light, like what one might imagine would strike a man, who, born blind, had by some propitious power been blessed with his sight, all at once, in a meridian sun.

Upon my soul, I never was so strangely affected before. I had much ado to forbear discovering myself that instant: but, hesitatingly, and in great disorder, I said, looking into the closet, and around it, 'l here is room, I see, for my wife's cabinet; and it has many jewels in it of high price; but, upon my soul [for I could not forbear swearing, like a puppy: — habit is a cursed thing, Jack —J nothing so valuable as the lady I see can be brought into it.

She started, and looked at me with terror. The truth of the compliment, as far as I know, had taken dissimulation from my accent.

I saw it was impossible to conceal myself longer from her, any

more than (from the violent impulses of my passion) to forbear manifesting myself. I unbuttoned therefore my cape, I pulled off my flapped slouched hat; I threw open my great coat, and, like the Devil ii i Milton [an odd comparison though!]

I started up in my own form divine, Touch'd by the beam of her celestial eye, More potent than Ithuriel's spear. —

Now Belford, for a similitude — now for a likeness to illustrate the susprising scene, andtheeffect it had upon my charmer, and the gentlewoman! — But nothing was like it, or equal to it. The plain fact can only describe it, and set it off— thus then take it.

She no sooner saw who it was, than she gave three violent screams; and, before I could catch her in my arms, (as I was about to do the moment I discovered myself) down she sunk at my feet, in a fit; which made me curse my indiscretion for so suddenly, and with so much emotion, revealing myself.

The gentlewoman, seeing so strange an alteration in my person, and features, and voice, and dress, cried out, Murder, help! Murder, help! by turns, for a half a dozen times running. This alarmed the house, and up ran two servant maids, and my servant after them. I cried out for water and hartshorn, and every one flew a different way, one of the maids as fast down as she came up; while the gentlewoman ran out of one room into another, and by tarns up and down the apartment we were in, without meaning or end, wringing her foolish hands, and not Knowing what she did.

Up then came running a gentleman and his sister, fetched and brought in by the maid, who had run down, and having let in a cursed crabbed old wretch, hob bling with his gout, and mumbling with his hoarse broken-toothed voice, who was metamorphosed all at once into a lively gay young fellow, with a clear accent, and all his teeth, she would have it, that I was neither more or less than the Devil, and could not keep her eye from my foot; expecting, no doubt, every minute to see it discover itself to be cloven.

For my part, I was so intent upon restoring my angel, that I regarded nobody else. And at last, she slowly recovering motion, with bitter sighs and sobs (only the whites of her eyes however appearing for some moments) I called upon her in the tenderest accent, as I kneeled by her, my arm supporting her head; My angel! my charmer! my Clarissa; look upon me, my dearest lifel I am not angry with you; I will forgive you, my best beloved! —

The gentleman and his sister knew not what to make of all this; and the less, when my fair one, recovering her sight, snatched another look at me; and then again groaned, and fainted away.

I threw up the closet-sash for air, and then left her to the care

of the young gentlewoman, the same notable Miss Rawlins whom I had heard of at the Flask; and to that of Mrfl. Moore, who by this time had recovered herself; and then retiring to one corner of the room, I made my servant pull off my gouty stockings, brush my hat, and loop it up into the usual smart cock.

I then stepped to the closet to Mr. Rawlins, whom, in the general confusion, I had not much minded before. — Sir, said I, you have an uncommon scene before you. The lady is my wife, and no gentleman's presence is necessary here but my own.

I beg pardon, sir; if the lady be your wife, I have no business here. Hut, sir, by her concern at seeing you —

Pray, sir, none of your ifs and buts, 1 beseech you: nor ynur concern about the lady's concern. You are a very unqualified judge in this cause; and I beg of you, sir, to oblige me with your absence. The women only are proper to be present on this occasion, added I; and I think myself obliged to them for their care and kind assistance.

'Tis well he made not another word: for 1 found my choler begin to rise. I could not bear, that the finest neck, and arms, and foot in the world, should be exposed to the eyes of any man living but mine.

I withdrew once more from the closet, finding her beginning to recover, lest the sight of me too soon, should throw her back again.

The first words she said, looking round her with great emotion, were, O hide me, hide me! is he gone! — O hide me! — is he gone!

Sir, said Miss Rawlins, coming to me with an air both peremptory and assured, this is some surprising case. The lady cannot bear the sight of you. What you have done is best known to yourself. But another such fit will probably be her last. It would be but kind therefore for you to retire.

It behoved me to have so notable a person of my party; and the rather as I had disobliged her impertinent brother.

The dear creature, said I, may well be concerned to see me. If you, madam, had a husband who loved you as 1 love her, you would not, I am confident, fly from him, and expose yourself to hazards, as she does whenever she has not all her way — and yet with a mind not capable of intentional evil — but mother-spoilt! — This is her fault, and all her fault: and the more inexcusable it is, as I am the man of her choice, and have reason to think she loves me above all the men in the world.

Here, Jack, was a story to support to the lady; face to face too*!

* And here, Belford, lest thou through inattention shouldst be surprised at my assurance, let me remind thee (and that, thus, by way of marginal observation, that I may not break in upon my narrative) , that this my intrepidity was but a consequence of the measures J had

You speak like a gentleman;

Sou look like a gentleman, said liss Rawlins — but sir, this is a strange case; the lady seems to dread the sight of you.

previously concerted (as I have from time to time acquainted thee), in apprehension of such an event as has fallen out. For had not the dear creature already passed for my wife, before no less than four worthy gentlemen of family and fortune f? and before Mrs. Sinclair, and her household, and Miss Partington? And had she not agreed to her uncle's expedient, that she should pass for such, from the time of Mr. Hickman's application to that uncle-ft; and that the worthy Capt. Tomlinson should be allowed to propagate that belief; as he had actually reported to two families {they possibly to more); purposely that it might come to the ears of James Harlowe; and serve for a foundation for uncle John to build his reconciliationscheme upon f ff? And canst thou think, that nothing was meant by all this contrivance? And that I am not still further prepared to support my story?

Indeed, I little thought, at the time that I formed these precautionary schemes, that she would ever have been able, if willing, to get out of my hands. All that I hoped I should have occasion to have recourse to them for, was only, in case I should have the courage to make the grand attempt, and should succeed in it, to bring the dear creature [and this out of tenderness to her, for what attention did I ever yet pay to the grief, the execrations , the tears of a woman, I had triumphed over ?] to bear me in her sight; to expostulate with me, to be pacified by my pleas, and by her own future hopes, founded upon the reconciliatory project, upon my reiterated vows, and upon the captain's assurances. Since in that case, to forgive me, to have gone on with me, for a week, would have been to forgive me, to have gone on with me, for ever. And then had my eligible life of honour taken place; her trials would

t See Vol. II. Letter lxii. towards the conclusion.

ft See Vol. H. Letter buciv,
ttt Ibid.

No wonder, madam; taking her a little on one side nearer to Mrs. Moore. I have three times already forgiven the dear creature — but this jealousy! — There is a spice of that in it — and of phrensy too [whispered I, that it might have the face of a secret, and of consequence the more engage their attention] — but our story is too long —

I then made a motion to go to my beloved. But they desired that I would walk into the next room: and they would endeavour to prevail upon her to lie down.

I begged that they would not suffer her to talk; for that she was accustomed to fits, and when in this way, would talk of any thing that came uppermost; and the more she was suffered to run on, the worse she was; and if not kept quiet, would fall into ravings; which might possibly hold her a week.

They promised to keep her quiet; and I withdrew into the next room, ordering every one down but Mrs. Moore and Miss Rawlins.

She was full of exclamations. Unhappy creature! miserable! ruined! and undone! she called herself; wrung her hands, and begged they would assist her to escape from the terrible evils she

All have been then over; and she would have known nothing but gratitude, love, and joy, to the end of one of our lives: for never would I, never could I, have abandoned such an admirable creature as this. Thou knowest, 1 never was a sordid villain to any of her inferior—her inferiors, I may say — for who is net her inferior?

should otherwise be made to suffer.

They preached patience and quietness to her; and would have had her to lie down: but she refused; sinking, however, into an easy chair; for she trembled so, she could not stand.

By this time, I hoped, that she was enough recovered to bear a presence that it behoved me to make her bear; and fearing she would throw out something in her exclamations, that would still more disconcert me, I went into the room again.

O there he is! said she, and threw her apron over her face — I cannot see him! — I cannot look upon him! — Begone, begone! touch me not! —

For I took her struggling hand, beseeching her to be pacified; and assuring her, that I would make all up with her upon her own terms and wishes.

Base man! said the violent lady, I have no wishes, but never to behold you more! Why must I be thus pursued and haunted? Have you not made me miserable enough already? — Despoiled of all succour and help, and of every friend, I am contented to be poor, low, and miserable, so I may be free from your persecutions.

Miss Rawlins stared at me [a confident slut this Miss Rawlins, thought I]: so did Mrs. Moore. I told you Bo! whispering, said I, turning to the women; shaking my head with a face of great concern and pity; and then to my charmer. My dear creature, how you rave! You will not easily recover from the effects of this violence. Have patience, my love. Be pacified; and we will coolly talk this matter over: for you expose yourself, as well as me: these ladies will certainly think you have fallen among robbers, and that I am the chief of them.

So you are! so you are! stamping, her face still covered [she thought of Wednesday night, no doubt]; and sighing as if her heart were breaking, she put her hand to her forehead — I shall be quite distracted!

I will not, my dearest love, uncover your face. You shall not look upon me, since I am so odious to you. But this is a violence I never thought you capable of.

And I would have pressed her hand as I held it, with my lips; but she drew it from me with indignation.

Unhand me, sir, said she. I will not be touched by you. Leave me to my fate. What right, what title, have you to persecute me thus?

What right, what title, my dear!

— But this is not a time — I have a letter from Captain Tomlinson

— here it is — offering it to her — I will receive nothing from your

hands — tell me not of Captain Tomlinson — tell me not of any body — you have no right to invade me thus — Once more leave me to my fate — have you not made me miserable enough? I touched a delicate string, on

purpose to set her in such a passion before the women, as might confirm the intimation I had given of a phrensical disorder.

What a turn is here! — Lately so happy — nothing wanting but a reconciliation between you and your friends! — That reconciliation in such a happy train — shall so slight, so accidental an occasion be suffered to overturn all our happiness.

She started up with a trembling impatience, her apron falling from her indignant face — Now, said she, that thou darest to call the occasion slight and accidental, and that I am happily out of thy vile hands, and out of an house I have reason to believe as vile, traitor and wretch that thou art, I will venture to cast an eye upon thee — and O that it were in my power, in mercy to my sex, to look thee first into shame and remorse, and then into death!

This violent tragedy-speech, and the high manner in which she uttered it, had its desired effect. I looked upon the women, and upon her in turns, with a pitying eye; and they shook their wise heads, and besought me to retire, and her to lie down to compose herself.

This hurricane, like other hurricanes , was presently allayed by a shower. She threw herself once more into her armed chair, and begged pardon of the women for her passionate excess; but not of me: yet I was in hopes, that when compliments were stirring I should have come in for a share.

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