for he still insists upon satisfaction from my uncles, and this possibly (for he wants not art) as the best way to be introduced again, with some advantages, into our family. And, indeed, my aunt Hervey has put it to my mother, whether it were not best to prevail upon my brother to take a turn to his Yorkshire estate (which he was intending to do before), and to stay there till all is blown over.

But this is very far from being his intention, for he has already begun to hint again, that he shall never be easy or satisfied till I am married; and, finding neither Mr. Symmes nor Mr. Mullins will be accepted, has proposed Mr. Wyerley once more, on the score of his great passion for me. This I have again rejected; and but yesterday he mentioned one who has applied to him by letter, making high offers. This is Mr. Solmes-rich Solmes they call him. But this application has not met with the attention of one single soul.

If none of his schemes of getting me married take effect, he has thoughts, I am told, of proposing to me to go to Scotland, that, as the compliment is, I may put his house there in such order as our own is in. But this my mother intends to oppose for her own sake, because, having relieved her, as she is pleased to say, of the household cares (for which my sister, you know, has no turn), they must again devolve upon her if I go. And if she did not oppose it I should, for I have no mind to be his housekeeper; and I am sure, were I to go with him, I should be treated rather as a servant than a sister.

But I have besought my mother, who is apprehensive of Mr. Lovelace's visits, and for fear of whom my uncles never stir out without arms and armed servants (my brother also being near well enough to go abroad) to procure me permission to be your guest for a fortnight or so. Will your mother, think you, my dear, give me leave ?

I dare not ask to go to my dairy-house, as my good grandfather would call it; for I am now afraid of being thought to have a wish to enjoy that independence to which his will has entitled me.

Just now my mother has rejoiced me with the news that my requested permission is granted. Everyone thinks it best that I should go to you, except my brother. But he was told that he must not expect to rule in everything. I am to be sent for into the great parlour, where are my two uncles and my aunt Hervey, and to be acquainted with this concession in form.

Clary, said my mother, as soon as I entered the great parlour, your request to go to Miss Howe's for a few days has been taken into consideration, and granted-

Much against my liking, I assure you, said my brother, rudely interrupting her.

Son James ! said my father, and knit his brows.

He was not daunted. His arm is in a sling. He often has the mean art to look upon that, when anything is hinted that may be supposed to lead towards the least favour to or reconciliation with Mr. Lovelace.

Let the girl, then (I am often the girl with him) be prohibited seeing that vile libertine.

Nobody spoke.

Do you hear, sister Clary? taking their silence for approbation of what he had dictated; you are not to receive visits from Lord M.'s nephew.

Every one still remained silent.

Do you so understand the licence you have, miss ? interrogated he.

I would be glad, sir, said I, to understand that you are my brother; and that you would understand that you are only my brother.

O, the fond, fond heart ! with a sneer of insult, lifting up his hands.

Sir, said I to my father, to your justice I appeal.

If I have deserved reflection, let me not be spared. But if I am to be answerable for the rashness

No more !No more of either side, said my father. You are not to receive the visits of that Lovelace, though. -Nor are you, son James, to reflect upon your sister. She is a worthy child.

Sir, I have done, replied he ;—and yet I have her honour at heart, as much as the honour of the rest of the family.

And hence, sir, retorted I, your unbrotherly reflections upon me!

Well but you observe, miss, said he, that it is not I, but your father that tells you, that you are not to receive the visits of that Lovelace.

Cousin Harlowe, said my aunt Hervey, allow me to say, that my cousin Clary's prudence may be confided in.

I am convinced it may, joined my mother.

But, aunt, but, madam (put in my sister) there is no hurt, I presume, in letting my sister know the condition she goes to Miss Howe upon; since, if he gets a knack of visiting her there

You may be sure, interrupted my uncle Harlowe, he will endeavour to see her there.

So would such an impudent man here, said my uncle Antony: and 'tis better there than here.

Better nowhere, said my father.— I command you (turning to me) on pain of my displeasure, that you see him not at all.

I will not, sir, in any way of encouragement, I do assure you: nor at all, if I can properly avoid it.

You know with what indifference, said my mother, she has hitherto seen him.- .

With what appa-rent indifference, drolled my brother. Son James ! said my father, sternly.

I have done, sir, said he. But again, in a provoking. manner, he reminded me of the prohibition.

Thus ended this conference.

Will you engage, my dear, that the hated man shall not come near your house ?

As I have no reason to doubt a welcome from your good mother, I will put everything in order bere, and be · with you in two or three days.—Meantime I am, Your most affectionate and obliged,


(After her return from her.)

HARLOWE PLACE, February 20. BEG your excuse for not writing sooner. Alas, my dear, I have sad prospects before me! My

brother and sister have succeeded in all their views. They have found out another lover for me; an hideous one !—No wonder that I was ordered home so suddenly. At an hour's warning !-No other notice, you know, than what was brought with the chariot that was to carry me back. It was for fear I should have entered into any concert with Mr. Lovelace had I known their motive for commanding me home; apprehending, 'tis evident, that I should dislike the man they had to propose to me.

And well might they apprehend so :-For who do you think he is ?-No other than that Solmes !—Could you have believed it ?-And they are all determined, too; my mother with the rest !

The reception I met with at my return, so different from what I used to meet with on every little absence (and now I had been from them three weeks) convinced me that I was to suffer for the happiness I had had in your company and conversation for that most agreeable period.

My brother met me at the door, and gave me his hand when I stepped out of the chariot. He bowed very low;


Pray, miss, favour me. I thought it in good humour; but found it afterwards mock respect : and so he led me in great form, I prattling all the way, inquiring of everybody's health (although I was so soon to see them, and there was hardly time for answers) into the great parlour ; where were my father, mother, my two uncles, and sister. . I was struck all of a heap as soon as I entered, to see a solemnity which I had been so little used to on the like occasions in the countenance of every dear relation. They all kept their seats. I ran to my father, and kneeled : then to my mother : and met from both a cold salute : from my father a blessing but half pronounced : my mother indeed called me child ; but embraced me not with her usual indulgent ardour.

After I had paid my duty to my uncles, and my compliments to my sister, which she received with solemn and stiff form, I was bid to sit down. But my heart was full : and I said it became me to stand, if I could stand, upon a reception so awful and unusual. I was forced to turn my face from them, and pull out my handkerchief.

Myunbrotherly accuser hereupon stood forth, and charged me with having received no less than five or six visits at Miss Howe's from the man they had all so much reason to hate (that was the expression); notwithstanding the commands I had had to the contrary. And he bid me deny it if I could.

I had never been used, I said, to deny the truth ; nor would I now. I owned I had in the three weeks passed seen the person I presumed he meant oftener than five or six times [Pray hear me, brother, said I ; for he was going to flame out]. But he always asked for Mrs. or Miss Howe, when he came.

I proceeded, that I had reason to believe, that both Mrs. Howe and Miss, as matters stood, would much rather have excused his visits ; but they had more than once apologined, that having not the same reason my papa had to

« VorigeDoorgaan »